selling recipes for publication as a culinary professional

Joined Apr 7, 2010
i cook for seminars and retreats booked at an intentional self-sustained community based out of an old plantation in west virginia. i also do farm labor and sell goat cheese at market for a goat farm in maryland.

i wrote a few recipes for my boss at the goat farm recipes using different cheeses that we make, and she wants to publish them to hand out at the markets and submit them to a "buy local challenge" cook-off. she wants to know how i expect to be compensated, and i can't find any guidelines to follow in regard to how i should be paid?

i've been cooking professionally for over six years now and have been approached only recently about purchasing recipes. as an art student we were taught to plug our figures into certain formulas in order to price artwork, and i was thinking maybe there might be something similar for culinary creations?

thanks in advance to anyone who has advice in this area...
Joined Apr 3, 2010
I would assume you have not copyrighted any of these. She really is being nice asking you this because she can just use them. Since she has offered give her a price. There are food writers on this sight that can give you an idea, maybe after reading your post they will .
Joined Feb 1, 2007
I agree, Ed, that Alisha's boss is being incredibly supportive.

A couple of things, though. Recipes, per se, cannot be copyrighted. They are considered to be lists, under the law.

Second, being as they were developed for the farm, they more than likely belong to the farm. It would fall under the work for hire principle.

Alisha: Given the uses you detailed, and the fact your boss is being gracious, I would think of a moderate fee; maybe something like five bucks per; or a flat rate for the lot of them. I would insist on them being credited to you, however. And that she understands you are retaining the right to use the recipes for other purposes.

My question is about the challenge. What happens to the winners? Is there a cash or other valuable prize? If so, I would suggest that, if your recipes win, that you get the prize. The farm is in it for publicity, after all, and they'll get that regardless.
Joined Apr 7, 2010
thanks for the responses. in the end i decided to donate the recipes in exchange for my boss plugging my catering blog on the recipes pages and within our goat cheese events as soon as my business licensing is in order. i just wasn't sure how to ask to be compensated for the recipes monetarily as i'm not a salaried employee, and it was an extra favor i did outside of my hours of work.  thanks again for your two cents, guys.
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