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getting restaurant recipes? [Moved from General Topics]

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how in the world can i get restaurants to share their recipes? i have been searching online and disecting this bolognese suace from la scala in los angeles and can't seem to match it with all the helpful chowhound recipes i have recieved. what do i need to do?

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  1. Have you gone to the restaurant and asked for the recipe? Some restaurants gladly share recipes for the home cook. Other restaurants keep their recipes a closely guarded secret. I say, go to the source. If they aren't willing to share, then you are back to the drawing board.

    1. Well, the chowhounders and other sources are, sooner or later, going to come up with a real Bolognese sauce. If this place is doing something different with their sauce, then that's what you want to know. Find that out. It may be something really off the wall like a tinch of truffle oil or the ground up blossoms from a weed that only grows at the side of the road between Como and Bellagio. Whatever. If they can't or won't take the time to give you a recipe, you still might get the little extra that they do from them. It may just be a technique. Good luck.

      This is in addition to the previous answer by NC.

      1. i have been successful in two paths in getting recipes.

        First, is through extreme compliments to the chef on site (if possible) and off-hours. More than a 75% success rate. Even received one doing this via e-mail.

        Second path (told to me years ago by a chef when i was looking for the recipe for a flourless chocolate tarte in Cape Cod) was the chef asking me to send a letter to Gourmet magazine and copying her. Got the recipe in the mail a couple of weeks later, well worth it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jfood

          This latter method has worked for me as well, although I didn't copy the restaurant, that's a good variation on the theme. In my case I think it helped that they featured the restaurant in an earlier issue. I tried this for a restaurant in St. Martin however and got absolutely no reply. Perhaps it was the location and communication difficulties.

        2. Try writing Bon Appetit magazine as well. They have a column dedicated to obtaining recipes from restaurants.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rednails

            I've done that and it works on occasion. Sometimes however, the chef/restaurant just isn't willing to share the recipe.

            1. re: rednails

              Gourmet magazine used to do this.

            2. I've had success just by sending a letter to the restaurant and telling them how much I enjoyed the meal and asking for a particular recipe. It's not uncommon to receive a hand written reply from the chef with the recipe and additional notes.

              1. For awhile, the Boston Globe was taking requests for restaurant recipes from readers, obtaining the recipes and then publishing them occsionally. My experience was that these recipes never were anything like what you got in the restaurant=I assume either the restaurant didn;t really want to give out the recipe and changed it or that the recipes do not translate well. They discontinued this feature- not sure why, maybe readers complained or they couldn't get the restaurants to cooperate.

                1. I agree with some of the things already posted. Some restaurants/ chefs will be happy to give you a recipe. Other places will have "famous" recipes available to take away. Yet others will have websites (or online newsletters) where recipes will be listed. Failing that, there are sites like

                  http://www.copykat.com/ which might be able to help you.