In court papers, Fraiche owner Susan Davis Friedman alleged that the chef, who was not named, quit the restaurant, then returned a few days later and took a pair of ringed binders that contained a series of recipes.
They included the cinnamon bomb, a donut like muffin that ranked as No. 87 on Time Out Chicago’s List of the top 100 things its reporters ate in 2011.
The lawsuit alleges that the chef, Maryann Huppert, who helped develop the recipes with the restaurant, told a manager that Friedman would have to sue to get the recipes back. “If she wanted the recipes, why didn’t she make copies?” The lawsuit claims the chef told the manager.
According to the Tribune, “The lawsuit states the recipes “were developed, assembled tested and honed over the course of 3 ½ years. That work cannot be readily reproduced. The damage to Fraiche’s goodwill from the inability to offer these items would be irreparable because it cannot be measured in money damages.”
Huppert, speaking separately with the Tribune’s Evanston edition, contends she brought the recipes from home. They were all taken from cookbooks and websites, she claims, and could easily be executed by any competent pastry chef.
“The whole thing is just ridiculous,” Huppert said in an interview with the paper, adding that she plans to turn over the recipes. “They told me to come get my stuff, and then they sued me to get it back.”
I interviewed Friedman a few years ago, for my New York Times story on Whoopie Pies. If the cinnamon bomb is anything like Fraiche’s whoopies, it’s easy to understand why there’s such a culinary fuss.