Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ten Thoughts from Chef Marcel Vigneron

Photo by Isabella Vosmikova/Syfy 

Top Chef fans know him as the bad boy of the kitchen — often outspoken and difficult to get along with. But Marcel Vigneron has his own show now on the Syfy channel and in a recent conference call interview he said viewers will see a different side of his personality. On Marcel's Quantum Kitchen the chef opens the doors to his catering company as he prepares unique dining experiences using the unusual cooking techniques he has become known for. Here's ten things he had to say about the show, Top Chef and the popularity of food in general.

1. On Seeing the True Marcel
"Top Chef is a competition based show that tends to focus in on the most polarizing moments. One of the cool things about Marcel's Quantum Kitchen is, it's a show unlike any other TV show on television right now. You will get the opportunity to see a different side of me… A little bit more well rounded, I must say."

2. On Developing the Show
"The development of the show was actually pretty challenging because I've never made my own food show before. The production company that I'm working with, Mission Control, had never done a food show before. And Syfy had never done a food show before. So all three of us were doing this for the first time together. And I think that's why we ended up creating this show that's unlike anything else on TV right now, because of the fact that none of us had done it before. And when combined together, we all had these crazy ideas of what the show was going to be, what it could be and how we could actually make it. And so I really enjoy dealing with the production aspect of the show. And it's been a long crazy road and I've actually learned a lot from it… And I'm quite thankful that I get to see this aspect of TV production and cooking shows."

3. On Marcel's Quantum Kitchen Introducing Cooking Techniques
"The show definitely has an opportunity to showcase to the public a style of cooking that is somewhat unknown. A lot of people aren't really aware of this particular style of cooking, or utilizing a lot of these new techniques. And I'm hoping that the show has the opportunity to expose people who aren't aware this style cooking… It's opened up people's minds to a lot of these new techniques and I don't know, creativity and all that good stuff."

4. On Quantum Kitchen vs. Top Chef
"One of the different things about Marcel's Quantum Kitchen versus Top Chef is Top Chef we have all these quick fire challenges. And they're exactly that. They're challenges that have a lot of restraint. And with Marcel's Quantum Kitchen the sky's the limit… I'm not given six minutes with one hand tied behind my back. And I'm actually allowed the time and the resources that I need to actually come up with some delicious dishes. So the food that you see me create on Marcel's Quantum Kitchen is completely different than the food that I create on Top Chef just because I don't have the same sort of limitations or restrictions that I had on Top Chef. And I'm also in a better space. I'm really inspired by the clients that I'm cooking for, and I have this amazing team. So yes, the food is completely different.

5. On Chefs Doing TV Shows
"There are several chefs out there right now that have just proven themselves inside of the kitchen and are just amazing chefs. I don't think that it's a necessity to go on television to be a successful chef… Going on Top Chef provided a great platform for me and led me to doing my own TV show, Marcel's Quantum Kitchen. But at the same time, I've also been cooking for over a decade… I feel like that in and of itself, the hospitality industry, it's not easy. You definitely have to pay your dues. And I've been fortunate enough to have these opportunities. But I wouldn't… go so far as to say that you have to do that to be a successful chef nowadays. There's several chefs out there that are exactly that, that just continue to cook and have amazing restaurants and don't do television. I don't think it's a necessity, I think that it may help. But it's a completely different animal."

6. The Effect of TV Chefs
"I think that food is hotter now than it's ever been. And I feel like people like Julia Child and celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay have really propelled the industry and had the opportunity to not only educate the public but also spark this curiosity with the public about cooking and about food. And it makes people want to understand food a little bit more and where their food is coming from and who's making their food."

7. On the Popularity of Cooking Shows
"Food is something that resonates with everybody so intimately, because we all have our own preconceived notions and we've all grown up with food. And everybody eats all the time, everywhere. And it's something that everybody can relate to. And so when you have something that… everybody can relate to it, I think it only makes sense that [it grows] in popularity… Also it's fascinating. Food is so fascinating… Cooking is really one of the only occupations that requires you to utilize every single one of your senses. You have to use your sense of smell, taste, sight -- everything. I mean cooking in and of itself is an amazing thing. And I think that that's why it's becoming so popular… Not to mention the fact that you get to eat it afterwards. It's delicious."

8. On How He's Grown as a Chef
"Since I've been on Top Chef, I've had several pretty amazing cooking experiences. And I've grown as a chef and as a person in a couple different ways. My actual style of cooking has been a little bit refined. I feel like as a chef I've gone through phase where in the beginning I was curious about all these new cooking techniques. And in the beginning I might have been just been utilizing them to utilize them, and just because I could or just because it was new. And now as a chef, I show restraint and I don't just utilize a technique just to do it. Everything has to make sense and it has to taste delicious. And I feel like nowadays I'll only use certain techniques where they're appropriate. Because if it doesn't make sense, then what's the point? And so I feel like as a chef, I'm a little bit wiser when it comes to actually composing dishes, so to speak."

9. On the Book He's Planning to Write
"It's actually for home cooks. And it's demystifying a lot of these avant-garde techniques. And showing cooks at home how to use science. And how a little bit of education, a little bit of know-how and a little bit of science and some creativity can really help the home cook create awesome delicious dishes."

10. On Expanding Beyond Cooking
"Obviously as a chef my main focus is the food and making sure that everything tastes delicious, is cooked appropriately, looks amazing. Focusing in on that whole facet of the gem is my primary focus. But yes, I have begun to dabble in some of these other areas and I really enjoy it. And I think that it's important. When you look at a dining experience as a whole, it's not just about the food, it's about the service, it's about the ambiance, it's about the food, it's about the setting. So there's all these other impacting factors. And I just want to make sure that we deliver the most amazing experience for our guests… When you have this harmonious relationship between the chef and the party planner or the front and the back of the house, you have this synergistic effect that takes place where the sum of the parts is more than the whole. And when you're bouncing these ideas off of each other, you can end up in a different place then, say if you were just trying to do it all yourself. So yes, I really enjoy working with these party planners and offering up some ideas to deliver a more unique, well rounded experience."

Watch Marcel's Quantum Kitchen on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. Central on Syfy.

For related stories check out:
Open Casting for Top Chef: Just Desserts
Danielle Keene Serves up Bittersweet Treats on Top Chef

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

No comments:

Post a Comment