The question of who owns a dish has become increasingly complicated in today’s hyperconnected food world, particularly at high-end restaurants that cater to what Eddie Huang dubs the “international class.” As with all things creative in the 21st century, it’s rare to see a truly original dish—and what we perceive as originality might actually be ripped-off from another chef. Today’s big-name chefs hone their skills under the tutelage of other big-name chefs, so it’s difficult to pinpoint what is inspiration and what is imitation. While some chefs are quick to open lawsuits and claim that another has “stolen” a dish that they created, others are more inclined to support the climate of sharing and building upon the ideas of their peers.
New West Village hot spot The Marrow is the most recent restaurant to be called out for copying—via Twitter, naturally—in relation to a dish of uni and bone marrow, which some say clearly references a similar Eric Ripert dish at Le Bernardin. Ripert responded to the claims with professionalism, noting that imitation is a “compliment” and the “highest form of flattery.” He also confessed to playing the copycat game as well: his marrow dish was inspired by one created by Ferran Adrià.
Read about other cases of so-called culinary plagiarism, and what chefs think about them, in this NY Post piece.