The Dominique Ansel Bakery team issued an open letter yesterday defending chef Dominique Ansel against the barrage of misinformation that's been circulating about the Cronut craze. Back in May, with Cronut Mania building by the minute, the Cronut King and company made a decision to trademark the name of their croissant-doughnut hybrid. Ever since, Ansel has been the victim of bullying and various attack campaigns, but the bakery is hoping to set the record straight with this statement:
Dominique Ansel Bakery (as a business) trademarked the term Cronut™ in May of this year as a protective measure against the type of bullying that is taking place now. It is important to note that Chef Dominique Ansel himself does not actively manage the protection of this trademark, and spends the majority of his time in the kitchen or personally serving guests. On top of that, Chef has never claimed he invented all fried-laminated dough recipes nor stated he was the first to ever fry laminated dough.Read the full letter below:
Our friends, supporters, and colleagues:
It has sadly come to our attention today that there is a barrage misinformation being wrongfully spread about the nature of our Cronut™ trademark along with malicious attacks against our Chef. We felt it was important to take this time to clarify important information up front to you.
Dominique Ansel Bakery (as a business) trademarked the term Cronut™ in May of this year as a protective measure against the type of bullying that is taking place now. It is important to note that Chef Dominique Ansel himself does not actively manage the protection of this trademark, and spends the majority of his time in the kitchen or personally serving guests. On top of that, Chef has never claimed he invented all fried-laminated dough recipes nor stated he was the first to ever fry laminated dough.
The term Cronut™ is a name associated with a specific product offered at the bakery and undeniably linked to the Chef's reputation as well as the bakery's name. Our desire to protect the name is not an attempt to claim or take credit for all cooking methods associated with the recipe or all croissant and doughnut products in general. Instead, it offers the bakery and Chef protection against un-granted affiliations with the bakery or confusion from customers.
This is not a new phenomenon within the food industry. As an example, McDonald's has a burger named the Big Mac and Burger King offers one known as the Whopper. Neither prevent the other from serving up a hamburger. Similarly, Cronut™ is not just a general term for croissant-doughnut hybrids, but a dessert uniquely associated with Dominique Ansel Bakery, and one that the Chef has worked hard to create. It is sad that when our small bakery seeks to utilize the intellectual property rights the law has given to protect us and are met with such vicious, false, and hateful reactions.
The decision to protect Dominique Ansel Bakery's reputation and business was done out of responsibility. Insinuating that this somehow hinders culinary creativity in the world is preposterous. And it is strange and troublesome that those chefs/owners who feel enraged by our decision to protect our name hold themselves as innovators in the industry and yet are upset because they are being asked cordially not to copy (a trademarked name).
Throughout this entire process, Chef Ansel has frequently mention he was flattered with any inspiration he could give to fellow peers in the industry in terms of new techniques, and has remained humbled and appreciative of the select few whom have offered him acknowledgement. Direct attacks against the chef are misdirected, cruel, and unfair, and slander and defame a professional who has focused on his customers and his art, and frequently shares his knowledge with students and cooks in the industry.
We are disappointed and deeply sadden by the attacks against Chef Dominique Ansel and our right to fairly and cordially run a small business. Protecting one's intellectual property and working towards the growth and continued innovation in the culinary arts are not positions that are diametrically opposed.
We feel it's the responsibility of other industry professionals to make sure that they are well-informed and understand the situation before launching vehement "attack campaigns" against the bakery and even worse, personal defamation of character regarding our Chef, of whom we respect and care for.
We're disappointed to see other small bakery owners who claim to be aware of the difficulties of starting a business try to actively recruit support in damaging the business of our own little bakery. Civil laws in New York protect businesses from these types of threats and we will protect ourselves from this onslaught of untruths and interference with our business. And we hope in doing so to also protect peers and colleagues in the industry from ever experiencing the same level of bully and sabotage we are facing today.
On behalf of all of us, we thank you for your continued support. And though Chef Dominique (who has done nothing but create a well-loved item in an attempt to please customers through pastry) is personally hurt by this, remains resolute that he will continue to create and innovate for us all.
- The Dominique Ansel Bakery Team