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'Top Chef All Stars' Eliminated Chef: 'I Get Portrayed in a Certain Way'

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 21st 2011 2:30PM
top_chef_all_stars_logo_bravoThe war raged last night on 'Top Chef All Stars' as the chefs picked up their knives and went into restaurant wars mode. It was a fierce battle, but not so much between the two teams. It turned out that the Etch team - that was the name of their pop-up restaurant - had more turmoil and tension among themselves than they did with their competition, team Bodega.

The cause of all the Sturm und Drang was leadership and it wasn't a shocked when the chef in charge of Etch was given the heave-ho.

marcel_vigneron_top_chef_all_stars_bravoMarcel Vigneron, master of herb foams and dabbler in molecular gastronomy, rankled his fellow chefs and was perceived as the weakest link on his team. Being sent packing wasn't the worst thing for Marcel, however. He has a new television show, 'Marcel's Quantum Kitchen' on Syfy coming up soon where he won't be competing with any other chefs. It'll be all about the food and Marcel.

We caught up with Marcel to talk about his exit last night and how he feels about moving on from 'Top Chef.'

What went wrong with your team in restaurant wars?

I watched the episode last night and it was difficult to watch. I was named team captain as opposed to appointing myself team captain. It was a little bit of a difficult position to be in. Some of the team members I chose, for example Mike Isabella, should not have been chosen because after the fact I found out he didn't want to work with me at all.

So I think that right off the bat, I was at a disadvantage and kind of an easy target to bring down. It was hard trying to get a group of people to work with you when they don't really want to work with you. Actually, if you're the captain of the ship and the ship goes down, obviously I would get sent home. I think some of my team members knew that and played into that. It's kind of unfortunate that that was the case.

How did this 'Top Chef All Star' experience compare to your Season Two experience?

This time around was a completely different experience. This time around it was a lot more fun. I was working with much more talented chefs. The contestants in 'All Stars' are all at the top of their game, and believe it or not, we had a lot of fun making the show. There was quite a bit of camaraderie and I made quite a few friends on the show, some of whom I stay in touch with.

The challenges in general were so much fun and they were really amazing. They kind of broke the mold for 'All Stars.' Getting the opportunity to cook in Le Bernandin was amazing, fishing for striped bass in Montauk Point was a blast, getting to cook in wd-50 was an honor. Working with a lot of the other talented chef-contestants was a pleasure in and of itself.

In last week's exit interview, both Tiffani and Jamie said that you were really a nice guy even though the camera didn't always show that ...

That makes me feel really good. I didn't know that they actually said that about me. It's very nice and sweet of them to do so. You're going to find other contestants will tell you about the real me, hopefully, because I'm an extremely considerate person and I'm actually a really nice guy. It's a shame that I get portrayed in a certain way, but somebody has to be that character. I'm apparently that guy.

Have you been edited to look bad?

I can't really comment on that. In the case of the 'Dim Sum' episode, I got mad because Dale was basically bragging about only making eight portions for the judges that were good. He only made 40 other portions when we were supposed to make 180, and he was bragging about it.

I cooked my heart out. I made over 200 dishes and I followed all the challenge rules and I made the same food for the judges as the guests because that was what the challenge was. Was I upset to hear Dale brag about winning? Yes. It was upsetting.

top_chef_all_stars_bravo_2011Do you think the camera captures you at your worst?

I'm a passionate person. I wear my heart on my sleeve and if I'm feeling a certain way, you're going to know it. I think that's a good quality to have, whereas a lot of the other chefs do a lot of trash talking.

Dale and Isabella, they actually just trash talk in interviews. They say mean things about me in interviews, but never once do they say it to my face. It's kind of a challenge. I wish people were better than that.

Has you enthusiasm for foams subsided?

Yes, totally. I only did it twice this season out of 16 dishes I made. Other people did foams, too. Angelo did like three of them and Blais did some, too.

What was your fondest memory of the competition?

There were a lot of them, but my favorite was fishing in Montauk, even though we ended up in the bottom on that challenge. To get out there and fishing, I caught three 30 lbs. striped bass that day. Then going to the fresh market.

And I really enjoyed cooking with Fabio and Richard, despite was Richard said on camera in interviews. Whenever you catch your own fish or procure your own produce or even pick them out of the ground yourself, as a chef I get a really emotional connection to my food. It was a very fulfilling experience as a chef.

Tell usw about you new show, 'Marcel's Quantum Kitchen' ...

Thanks for asking. It's on the Syfy channel and it premieres March 7, and the show is all about teamwork, creativity and imagination. My friends and I set up our own catering company, and we cater very specific parties for some high profile clients. it's all about catering to your guests and clients, for every particular party we spend a lot of time with the client so that when we brainstorm the menu, you see it in the food. We're all about creating this amazing food experience.

You'll see it in the food, you'll see it in the venue, you'll even see it in the plates and centerpieces. We're going to do a lot thing people have never seen before. We also explain a lot of molecular gastronomy, these new techniques, chemicals and what not. It's a pretty fun show and there's nothing like it on TV right now. People are going to be seeing a whole different side of me, one you never really saw on 'Top Chef.'

Watch 'Top Chef All Stars' on Wednesday nights at 10 PM on Bravo.

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Fabio Viviani

Marcel is a nice person, hes talented and i had fun working with him, off course we are chef and there always will be a little smack talk, but i really like marcel, he has a big mouth and a big heart, i will stand for him at any time, can he use some more people skill classes ?? Sure, but at the end who doesnt !??

Fabio Viviani, Top Chef Season 8. http://fabioviviani.com

February 02 2011 at 4:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Foodie Gossip

Marcel does get a bad rap, but I remember Mike Isabella speaking well of him at the end of this week's episode: http://foodiegossip.blogspot.com/2011/01/top-chef-all-stars-dale-vs-marcel.html

January 21 2011 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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