This past weekend I was in Washington DC for a conference. A friend and I went to dinner at this great Greek, Turkish Tapas place where we ate, and ate and ate some more. We also had some wine.

The food was amazing.

The chef was a recent contestant on the Food Network’s Top Chef. I know this because I am a Food TV junkie and when I saw him in the kitchen, I dorked out and pointed as if it was Mike Tyson carving the lamb.

Anyway, it occurred to me, that Chef’s have non-compete agreements just like doctors and engineers do.
If an engineer signs an agreement about patents and formulas, Chefs sign them about recipes and more creative intellectual property.

So, who owns the recipes when a Chef leaves? A great discussion of this can be found on a blog I came across today – Now the blog is written from the restaurant point of view and while 99.9% of the time we represent employees who are leaving (ie, the Chefs), it is important for those in the Virginia restaurant industry, to know your legal options and rights.

Can you leave? If so, how and when? Do you keep your recipes? Can you work at more than 1 restaurant at the same time? Can you plan your own restaurant and ask patrons to support you?

These are complicated issues legally, and deserving of advice.

So, for any Chefs in Virginia wanting to know their options, give me a call. Most of the time we request pre-payment of fees but for a few tasty dishes, I might be willing to trade advice for snacks

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at