Publisher Really Burns Chefs' Cookies
NEWARK (CN) - Two "world renowned master pastry chefs" say a publisher put their names on a cookbook after they refused its request to write it. Florian Bellanger and Ludovic Augendre say Ulysses Press had no right to put their names on "Macarons: Authentic French Cookie Recipes from the Macaron Café."
In their federal complaint, the chefs say that Bookpack Inc. dba Ulysses Press began promoting and advertising the books to retailers just one week after they refused to do the project.
Bellanger says that Bookpack., which Publisher's Weekly called on of the "ten fastest-growing small publishers," contacted him in June 2009 to ask if he would "author and collaborate in a cookbook, which would feature recipes and methods for the preparation of macarons, a form of French pastry."
After 10 months of "brief and informal exchange" by email, both chefs "declined the offer by email dated April 4, 2010, and advised that they would not participate in the project," according to the complaint.
But - sacre bleu! - on April 11, 2010, the chefs say they "discovered that the defendant, without any agreement, contract or legal authority whatsoever, had already placed advertisements and/or listings for pre-order sale, copies of a book entitled, 'Macarons: Authentic French Cookie Recipes from the Macaron Café' on various websites, listing the plaintiffs as authors."
Bellanger says he "immediately contacted the defendant, outraged, and demanded that they immediately remove the references, information, listings and links from the internet, and confronted the defendant on its illegal use of the plaintiffs' names without any approval or authorization to do so."
He says the publisher played dumb, and admitted in an April 19, 2010 email "that they had caused the information and listings to be placed on the Internet, under the disingenuous and false allegation they believe they had an agreement in place with the plaintiffs". He says the publisher promised to remove the chefs' names from the book and its Internet ads, but it has not done so, and that the false marketing and images "have not been removed from the Internet, and in fact are rampant and prevalent throughout the Internet."
The chefs claim that in Internet searches for their names, "websites containing the defendant's work often appear first, before legitimate websites using the plaintiffs' names with authorization, and the plaintiffs' own website."
The chefs say the publisher damaged their reputations "in a willful, wanton and intentional manner to boost its own sales and profits based upon use of the plaintiffs'' names."
They seek an injunction and treble damages for deceptive trade, invasion of privacy, unjust enrichment, and violation of the Lanham Act.
They also seek declaratory judgment stating that they are not the authors or collaborators of the cookbook and do not endorse it.
The chefs are represented by Kristin Hitsous with Rosabianca & Associates of New York City.
Florian Bellanger was executive pastry chef at Fauchon restaurant and worked at "famed restaurant" Le Bernardin. A multiple James Beard Award nominee, he is a permanent judge on the Food Network's series "Cupcake Wars." He has been a guest chef at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, is jury president of the U.S. Pastry Competition.
Ludovic Augendre studied at Ferrandi, a French culinary school, and worked as executive assistant pastry chef at Fauchon. He says he has been "acclaimed 'a leader of the new generation of pastry chefs,'" and placed third in the 2004 U.S. Pastry Chef Competition, "with his masterpiece 'Birth of Pinocchio.'"