A Blackmailer of a Chef Was Taught a Lesson

Real Estate Agent with Bill Cherry, Realtor 0124242

The Lesson Learned by the Chef about His Secret Recipes.

By Bill Cherry

The latest issue of Texas Highways talks about a small town café that has a tartar sauce that’s so good, everyone wants to know the secret recipe.  The café owner won’t tell.  Some connoisseurs seem certain it has anchovy paste in it along with both mayonnaise and Miracle Whip, the article says.

Meanwhile, I’m here to tell you that there has never, ever been written a piece about a barbeque joint that, when asked, says it just uses Cattleman’s Barbeque Sauce it buys from Krogers. 

Instead, they say that the sauce they use is so secret that it takes the combined effort of four of the family members to make it.  Each of them only knows a forth of the ingredients that go in it.  As for me, I have bad news for them.  I hate most of their secret sauces anyway.

This started me thinking about Bernard Demoratsky.  He and his wife, Tillie, used to live in Cedar Lawn, an upscale neighborhood in Galveston.  Mr. Bernie was a professional food chemist.  He spent his time figuring out recipes.  Miss Tillie was often busy at my office talking me into donating to the latest Hadassah cause.

She and I had a standing joke.  I’d let her ask for the donation and then I’d say, “But Miss Tillie, I’m not Jewish.”  And she’d say, “Doesn’t matter, you look Jewish to me.” I’d write a check.

The funny thing was that unbeknownst to Miss Tillie, Sister Mary Elizabeth Webster often followed behind her wanting to sell me raffle tickets.  And I’d say, “Sister Elizabeth, I’m not Catholic.”  And she’d say, “But you ought to be.  Buying these raffle tickets will help you to see your need for conversion.”  I’d write the check.

One time a friend of mine, along with some business partners, heard that a famous Houston Italian restaurant was for sale.  They wanted to buy it. 

One of the things that they discovered when they were doing their due diligence was that no one knew the restaurant’s recipes except the chef.  The owner didn’t know them, and they weren’t written down anywhere other than in the chef’s mind.

As they came within inches of the closing of the purchase, the chef announced that if they didn’t double his salary to $150,000 a year, he was leaving and taking his mental recipe filing cabinet with him.

My friend called, exasperated.  He knew they couldn’t buy the restaurant without the recipes coming with it. 

I said, “I think I may have the answer.  My friend, Mr. Bernie, is a food chemist.  What if he can secretly get actual portions of everything on the menu, and test to see how they are made, then give you the recipes?”

My friend couldn’t wait to talk with and retain Mr. Bernie.

Well, you know the outcome.  Mr. Bernie delivered the recipes, the sale took place, they threw the chef out on his ear, and the famous restaurant continued to pack them in without so much as a glitch.

So I’ve got news for the place with the secret tartar sauce, the zillions of barbecue joints with their secret sauce, even Coca Cola for that matter.  Your recipes are only a secret because Mr. Bernie never tested them.

Be on the lookout.  Even though Mr. Bernie is now in heaven, there are other food chemists taking up the slack, like my friend, David Groll, for an example.

Copyright 2013 – William S. Cherry

 William S. Cherry and No Company
America's Financial Coach

972 677-7028


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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hello Billy Cherry!  Very intriguing story. I didn't realize that a food chemist would be able to determine all of the ingredients present in a sauce....certainly food for thought.


Oct 21, 2013 09:48 AM #1
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Bill - loved your story. To tell you the truth, I don't think you can do it. You can say that certain things are in the food, yes. Like you, probably can catch vinegar, oil, but it is very unlikely that you can say with confidence that it was Mayonnaise, and even if you do, there is very little chance you can say what kind, which would be paramount for the source or other food.

But it is a great story, thank you...

Dec 06, 2013 12:47 PM #2
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

Probably doesn't matter.  If the food chemist can replicate the taste of the secreet recipe, even if he uses catsup rather than, say, chile sauce, and the consumer thinks it tastes like the original....mission accomplished.

David Groll. who is actually is a famous food chemist and chef, and who I mentioned in the last sentence of my piece, told me that even if you know everything that's in a recipe, you have to know the actual scale weight of each of those ingredients, rather than how many cups and teaspoons, etc., or the accuracy of the final product will be flawed to the taste.

Dec 07, 2013 12:36 AM #3
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