PDX Women Chefs & Restaurateurs

The 10th Annual Farmer-Chef Connection
February 23, 2010, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Events, Professional Development | Tags: , ,

This year is the 10th annual Farmer-Chef Connection for the Portland area, hosted by the Portland Chefs Collaborative, a group of sustainability-minded Portland chefs. This also marks the 2nd year for Friends of Family Farmers to be a sponsor, and now a co-host.

The design for this day is to get area farmers, ranchers, processors, chefs, food buyers, students, and local food system activists together in the same room to build relationships, and to provide workshops to share tools to make these business relationships easier and more beneficial for everyone involved. Please spread the word to anyone that you think can benefit from this event.

One of the highlights of each FCC is the amazing lunch made up of donated product from local farms and ranchers, and cooked by some of the best chefs in the area! A real bargain for the $20 event registration fee. Please indicate on the registration form if you would like to help cook, donate food, or donate a raffle prize.

When: Monday, March 8th, 8am-3:15pm
Where: Clackamas Community College in Oregon City

Details and directions are on the PCC website at portlandcc.org.

Additional sponsors include: New Seasons, FoodHub, CCC Horticulture Department, Cascade Pacific, and the many volunteers and attendees who donate product and time to make this a wonderful day.

Keynote Speaker: Nicholette Hahn-Niman, author of Righteous Porkchop
Author Nicolette Hahn Niman is an author, attorney, livestock rancher, and until recently, sat on the Board of Overseers for the National Chefs Collaborative. Her book, Righteous Porkchop, details her experiences working first with Bobby Kennedy and the Waterkeepers Alliance investigating industrialized hog farms in North Carolina. More information about the author and the book can be found on her web page at www.righteousporkchop.com.

There will be some amazing raffle prizes from local food vendors – check out the list of prizes so far.

Event workshops:

  • Farmer-Chef Connections 101
  • Farmer-Chef Connections 401 (Advanced)
  • Licensing Your Food Product in Oregon
  • Getting Products to Market/Farmers Market Intro
  • Small Scale Livestock – Buying Local and Pasture Raised
  • Introduction to Food Hub
  • The Grains and Beans Project

Sign up now to save your place: CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Hope to see you there!


Protecting Your Intellectual Property Rights
February 6, 2010, 12:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Notes from Our January Meeting

Fourteen local food professionals attended our latest meeting on Sunday, January 24. The meeting was hosted by Catherine Schon of Sassafras Catering in SE Portland. Everyone brought a dish to share at the potluck before the meeting (yum!) and each contributor to the potluck used their talents, skills, knowledge, and experience to create their individual dishes.

Protecting these unique talents, skills, knowledge, and experience from being copied or stolen by others was the topic of the evening’s discussion. This month’s guest speakers were Ann W. Glazer, a partner with the Stoel Rives law firm in downtown Portland who specializes in intellectual-property rights, and Tony Kullen, an independent attorney who provides legal and business-advisory services to start-ups and small businesses.

Recipes are a difficult thing to copyright because so many chefs at different restaurants cook similar dishes, using similar ingredients, said Glazer. Nevertheless, she pointed out several steps entrepreneurs can take to protect their unique creations:

Domain names: Register the domain name for your restaurant or business.

Patents: Patents are expensive and somewhat difficult to get. You can’t patent ideas. For example, you couldn’t obtain a patent on Chicken Pot Pie, since it’s already been done before, and making this recipe is not a unique process. Nevertheless, you could patent a new cooking utensil that you have invented, or a new way of doing something that is unique. For example, Glaser pointed out that George Foreman [probably] owns the patent on his “George Foreman Grill.”

Copyrights: Even though you can’t copyright a recipe (which is basically just a list of ingredient and a set of instructions on how to prepare them) you can a story or narrative that includes the recipe. For example, if you published a recipe that included a story of where the recipe came from and/or a personal anecdote about how you learned to cook that way, and who taught you, etc., you could copyright the entire story. You can also copyright a collection of recipes, if you publish online or in the form of a cookbook. To copyright something, simply put the copyright symbol (the letter C inside of a circle), the year, and your name or name of your business (example: © 2010 Acme Restaurant). Please note that this won’t prevent someone else from copying your recipe and serving it in their restaurant; however, it would signal to them that they shouldn’t copy your story and publish it as their own creation, or copy your collection of recipes and publish it as their own.

Trademarks: If you develop a unique product or brand name, you can register it at a trademark (denoted by the symbol TM) with the U.S. Trademark Office. Although not as expensive as getting a patent, getting a trademark does cost money.

Trade secrets: The most famous example of a trade secret is the recipe for Coca-Cola. As a restaurateur, you could (if you wish) protect your recipes and cooking methods as trade secrets–if you can prove you made a reasonable effort to keep them secret, says Kullen. For example:

  • Don’t share your recipes with anyone.
  • Make it a written policy to keep visitors out of your kitchen.
  • Keep your recipe book under lock and key at all times when not in use.
  • Write “Trade Secret: Do Not Copy” on the cover of your recipe book and at the top of every recipe.
  • Require all of your employees sign detailed Non-disclosure Agreements before they start working for you.

One the other hand, some food professionals don’t bother trying to keep anything secret. They find they gain more exposure and free publicity by sharing their recipes freely, online, in print, or even by making individual recipe cards available at farmer’s markets and other retail outlets.

Non-disclosure agreements: A non-disclosure agreement is a written agreement between your and your employee, stating that if (when) they leave your employ, they agree to not take any recipes or cooking methods with them that they learn while working for you. You don’t want your former employees taking all your best recipes and cooking methods with them when they leave and using them in another restaurant, or using them to start their own restaurant that will compete directly with yours.

Of course, enforcing all of these provisions is easier said than done. “Lawsuits are costly and uncertain,” Glazer says. “It’s much easier to shame someone else into not stealing your recipes and using them as your own than is to sue them and win. A lot of this boils down to ethics. When you’re copying or borrowing someone else’s recipe for your own use, think of how you would want to be treated. You’d probably want some credit for it.”

“The best defense of your restaurant’s name and reputation is your own skills, experience, and the care you take in preparing and serving your food,” she adds.

In other words, if you prepare and serve your food with love and care and build a unique and favorable reputation for yourself and your business, someone else may be able to copy your recipes, but they won’t be able to compete with you!


Sample Non-Disclosure Agreement: http://www.nolo.com/products/noncompete-agreement-PR112.html

U.S. Copyright Office website: A wealth of information, forms, and instructions for copyright registration: http://www.copyright.gov/

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website: http://www.uspto.gov/

January Workshop: Intellectual Property in the Food Industry
January 19, 2010, 7:09 pm
Filed under: Events | Tags:

Have you ever wondered if you borrowed or reprinted a recipe that you would be stealing? Do you publish recipes on a blog or give them to friends? Have you found a menu item at another restaurant or posted online that looked like an original you created?

The upcoming meeting this Sunday is a workshop focused on intellectual property in the food industry. We’ll learn about the basics, when to use non-compete agreements, the pros and cons of giving away your intellectual property and how to go about effectively publishing recipes in print or on the web.

Many of you emailed to say that you are excited about this topic, and it’s shaping up to be a lively discussion!

Not sure you need the workshop?

If you know all there is to know about intellectual property and how it relates to the food world, then come for the networking. The meetings are a great place to meet others interested in food – we’ve had attendees in the past who are writers, PR consultants, architects, and photographers.

It’s a potluck

The format will be a potluck – we’ll eat at the beginning while networking and then listen to a few speakers with a discussion at the end. Please bring a dish for about 6-8 people.

Details and RSVP

  • Date: Sunday, January 24th
  • Time: 5-7PM
  • Location: 2746 SE 37th Avenue (Clinton neighborhood)
  • RSVP by commenting on this post below.

Hope to see you all there!