could your gazpacho be a pot of gold?

...it could, if a group of angry chefs get their way. By Oliver Swanton

Next time you try your hand at recreating that dish you once ate in that fancy restaurant - something like pommes frites avec chocolat chaud et rosmarin la Nantaise - think again. One, it'll probably be a disaster. Two, you may be breaking the law.

After cyberspace, the new frontier of copyright legislation could be the kitchen - if the Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi has his way. Yesterday, in the gambling resort of Campione d'Italia (an enclave of Italian territory at the Swiss end of Lake Como), Marchesi launched his revolutionary proposal, in a conference entitled "The cook's signature: copyright in the kitchen". For Marchesi, this is a grudge match. "One of my most famous creations is the raviolo aperto [open raviolo]. A few years back I had a young chef who worked with me for a while. Then he went off to work for another great chef. And what do I find when I open that chef's latest book? A recipe for raviolo aperto! I'm not saying that I should be paid royalties every time the raviolo aperto recipe is used - just that I should be credited as its creator."

Like any self-respecting Italian chef, Marchesi is quick to drag Michelangelo in: "A cook is an artisan, but so were the great artists ... like Michelangelo."

But master chef Nico Ladenis is quick to pour cold water on such pretensions: "One man's open raviolo is another man's skewed lasagne," he sniffs. Nico presides over Chez Nico in Park Lane, and belongs, like Marchesi, to the exclusive circle of Michelin three-star chefs. "Applying copyright law to recipes is the most preposterous suggestion I've ever heard," he begins. "Cooking has always been about imitation. The most a great chef can hope for is to have created one original dish in his life."

The idea that the world of haute cuisine will soon be alive with the sound of litigation might be expected to warm the cockles of any lawyer's heart. But Kevin Garnet QC, one of Britain's leading copyright lawyers, is sceptical. "Under existing British law, in order for copyright to apply, you have to be able to slot your creation into an existing category - it must be an original literary, artistic or dramatic work. A book of recipes would qualify, therefore, but not a dish created by a chef in a restaurant." Garnet suggests the idea is as doomed as a recent attempt to copyright sporting manoeuvres such as the Fosbury Flop.

But there are those who think Marchesi is on to something. Robin Weir, co-author of Ices: the Definitive Guide, would welcome a code of practice in which recipes are at the very least credited to their original creators. He advises those who believe that they have stumbled on the recipe of a lifetime to write it down and post it to themselves by recorded delivery.

It has to be worth the price of a stamp. Just think of what you would stand to gain if Steven Spielberg ever bought the film rights to your "Smoked John Dory on a Bed of Coriander, Lightly Dusted with Powdered Myrtle Root and served with a Calvados Sauce".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing