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Jan 29, 2008 02:42 PM

Much luck asking for a chef's recipe?

I just e-mailed a favorite, but distant restaurant asking if the chef could be persuaded to share the recipe for a favorite soup, that i've had no success in duplicating. I do hope this was appropriate, it is a restaurant that i visit when i can , but it's in another province!! I made sure to give large dollops of praise in the mix !!

Do people have much luck with this?

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  1. I've never asked for the actual recipe, although I have talked to chefs (at restaurants where I am a very regular customer) about the method they employed when making a dish. They have been very generous about sharing general information. At 2 different restaurants (once a long time ago and the other time this past fall), I was offered the recipe of a dish I ordered frequently. And I have made each of these recipes at home. The first recipe probably 20 times and the second twice. Amazingly with the same results! Woo hoo!

    1 Reply
    1. re: msv

      Hi MSV, mind sharing those recipe? :o)

    2. Some times I've had good luck, other times no. But with the "no" restaurants I have had success using a newspaper column which asks the restaurant, gives a write-up & prints the recipe as the intermediary. I guess they feel the free press makes it worth while.

      1. I've been fortunate enough to have received recipes every time I've asked. All of them hand-written, delivered by the lovely chefs. Humorously enough, a few also came with:

        "I've been doing this for so long I can't give you a recipe for anything less than 500 servings."

        1. I've had pretty good luck asking for recies, but I've always asked the chef face to face. If you don't get a response, I'm not sure they still do it, but Gourmet magazine used to have a feature where they would get recipes for people who couldn't get them otherwise. Hope you get your recipe by return email!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caroline1

            There used to be a fantastic Italian in Berlin (well, it still exists but switched either owners or chefs... sigh) that prepared the most delicious caponata. While I found a great recipe online, it's still not even near what I ate there. And when I asked, they just smiled and said it's secret.... I've actually thought of writing Gourmet magazine just to get that particular recipe ---

          2. Framed, on my kitchen wall, is a recipe for Butter Bread from the executive chef at the Amari Watergate Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. This was a sweet, soft, buttery roll that was on the breakfast buffet table every morning, and you had to get there early to get any. People were grabbing them by the handfuls and must, I assumed, have been stashing them away for lunch. My friend dared me to ask for the recipe, and so I did at the front desk. The next morning, slipped beneath my door, was the hand-typed recipe along with a business card and a handwritten note, in English, that reads: “Enjoy and have fun. Culinary greetings” and is signed by the chef. It never hurts to ask.

            8 Replies
            1. re: JoanN


              It kinda reminds me of the time I asked for the recipe for the dinner rolls at Buntyn Cafe in Memphis and was given and emphatic, "No"

              Buntyn is no longer around so I hear. It does lend credence to the belief I have that the better the restaurant, the more likely you are to get the recipe. It's like the smaller/mom and pop type places are more insecure about losing the business.


              1. re: JoanN


                Would you consider posting the Butter Bread recipe in the Home Cooking board?

                1. re: content

                  I'd be happy to. But all measurements are in grams. Is that okay?

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Joan, I'm not the one who requested the recipe but I'd say yes, of course it's okay if the recipe is in grams. I have a program (Worldmate) on my PDA that converts weights and volumes. If you post, I'll follow with the conversions for anyone who is interested.

                    1. re: Deenso

                      Thanks, Deenso. I just posted it on the Home Cooking board.

                2. re: JoanN

                  I'm sorry to bother you, but your description of these rolls has captured my attention and I can't find the recipe on the Home Cooking Board. If you have the time would you please send me the link?