Recently I was travelling on a plane back to Mallorca from Moscow, just flicking through a Russian Magazine when I came across a recipe of one of my signature dishes. The Sea Bass with anchovy, parsley & liquorice was printed exactly as I had written it some four years ago, embarrassingly still with the same grammatical errors, for a website called Global chefs. The only difference was the picture of the smiley chef next to the recipe was not of me, but a French Chef from a famous Moscow hotel claiming the dish to be his own. I found it mildly amusing at first, but slowly it niggled at me and bothered me enough to email the chef to ask if there had been some sort of mistake. He denied using my recipe at first, until I pointed out the very same grammatical mistakes and the identical content on global chefs. He then confessed and stated that he is a big admirer and I should be proud of the fact that he liked the recipe so much in a, copying is the best form of flattery, kind of way.
I was confronted with another case of culinary plagiarism again this week when two journalists were dining in Simply Fosh. They had eaten recently in a restaurant on the Island where I had worked until about six months ago and, were served and enjoyed two classic dishes of mine that I also have on the menu at Simply Fosh. This started a small debate about when culinary influence and inspiration become imitation and the intellectual property of chefs. You see, for me there is a deep thought process that one goes through when you are trying to create a new dish. Sometimes, things fall into place very quickly, but occasionally it’s a long, laborious task of mixing flavours & ingredients until you find the right blend and inspiration strikes you.

So should chefs have the right to copy and pass off another chef’s dishes as their own?
It’s a difficult question. I know that all chefs are magpies and take ideas and inspiration from one other, particularly their mentors. I also realise that it is impossible to reinvent the wheel and be totally unique. That said, I do think it’s a little sad when some choose to copy rather than create their own individual styles.
Brillat-Savarin, one of the world's first true gastronomes said, "The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star " and to that end, I believe we chefs all have a duty to at least try.