Thursday, August 05, 2010, 8/05/2010 09:54:00 AM

Trade Secrets of Making a Killer Black Bean Dip?!? Dallas Trade Secrets Case Pits One Restaurant Against Another

By Todd

The Dallas Morning News is running an interesting piece today on a trade secret battle that's brewing in a Dallas courtroom. A former Gloria's manager named Mario Alfaro apparently opened a competitive restaurant and, according to Gloria Rubio's legal papers, has a plan to steal her recipes, employees and customers. And she's not standing for it. Here are some interesting snippits from this report:


"Though he did not cook for Gloria's or was taught Gloria's recipes, Mario Alfaro knew the process, the ingredients, the preparation, and execution of Gloria's dishes," Rubio said in court documents.


Rubio said in her affidavit that the meals found at Gloria's came from a mix of family recipes, in trips throughout Latin America or through old-fashioned trial and error.

"The recipes of these dishes came from El Salvador, from my mother and grandmother, and from extensive travel and research," she said.


The recipes are written down and stored in a secret place, Rubio said. Not even the cooks get to see them on paper. She trains the chefs herself from her memory of the recipes. The training process takes three months.

"Jose Fuentes and I have told all Gloria's cooks that all my recipes are a secret and cannot be used out of Gloria's," Rubio said.


Two other cooks who went to work for Alfaro said in affidavits that they quit after a few days because they had been ordered to "make everything according to Gloria's recipes."

"I was shocked to see Mario Alfaro using the same herb butter in his restaurant ... because I knew it was Gloria's secret recipe," said one of the cooks.

If the two menus look similar, Alfaro said, it's because the bare ingredients for the same dish wouldn't change.

"Of course, some ingredients are the same," Alfaro said in his affidavit. "All chicken dishes contain chicken, for example."

In court documents, Rubio describes the process Gloria's cooks use to make ceviche, claiming that their use of orange roughy instead of catfish is unique and that the idea was stolen by Alfaro.


Mario Alfaro's attorney disagreed: "Have you Googled orange roughy and ceviche?" the attorney said. "There's thousands of recipes that use orange roughy in ceviche. ... We're not talking rocket science here. We're talking Mexican food recipes."


WELL - WE LOVE MEXICAN FOOD AND WE'LL KEEP A HUNGRY EYE TRAINED ON THIS ONE. AND YES - THOSE ARE CARROTS WITH OUR BEAN DIP UP THERE. BUT FEEL FREE TO TRY THAT - IT WASN'T OUR IDEA.

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