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Marcel's Quantum Kitchen Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is a transcript of an interview with Chef Marcel Vigneron on March 14, 2011 about the show Marcel's Quantum Kitchen.

Marcel Vigneron

Question:
How did the show originally come about?

Marcel Vigneron:
This show has actually been maybe like three years in the making. And when I was living in Las Vegas I was approached by two different producers to start working on my own show, wrote up a couple of treatments and found a production company to help us create it. And then I took a meeting with Syfy, who seemed very intrigued and decided to undergo the pilot making process, which we did. We re-cut the pilot a couple different times and shot some new footage. They decided it was a show that they wanted to see made. And then the rest is history. We took the bull by the horns and made it actually.

Question:
Syfy is not exactly known for cooking shows, so I'm wondering how you even approached them for this show and how this show ended up on this channel?

Marcel Vigneron:
Well I know it seems kind of like an abstract fit. But once you actually see the show I feel like it's totally going to make sense. And one of the ways we bridge that gap between Syfy and doing a cooking show and me being on it is the fact that, you know we focus in on a lot of the same things; Syfy is all about imagining greater, which is essentially what me and my culinary team is all about.

So we have the same basic philosophy. And we focus in on a lot of the scientific aspect of cooking as well. So you've got a lot of like science, and it's kind educational. But at the same time it's all about creativity and teamwork. So that's kind of how we incorporate both roads together, so to speak.

Question:
The first couple of clients, with your new catering business; how did you find those?

Marcel Vigneron:
Typically what happens is the clients just contact me. So for the first two episodes, the Wildlife Waystation had contacted me. In other events, actually the client will contact a party planner and the party planner will actually contact me. So in the case of the second episode, with the engagement party, I was actually contacted by a party planner. So usually it's one or the other; it'll either be the party planner or the client will contact me directly depending on the event.

Question:
What you're doing is relatively new. Do a lot of people know about you and what you're doing?

Marcel Vigneron:
Yes I think people know about me and what I've been doing. I'm pretty sure. I guess I have a reputation or a popularity. And it's not like when people ask me to cater a party they're not that they're undertaking a risk or something like that. I'm actually pretty decent at what I do. And I make sure that I deliver an amazing experience to my guests.

It's not like somebody was going to ruin our party by not have anything to eat because I utilized new cooking techniques. But I totally know what I'm doing and make sure that I deliver a great experience to my guests. And yes, I utilize new cooking techniques and different ingredients and new pieces and new types of equipment. I'm developing my own, like plates. So a lot of the stuff that we're doing is new and creative, but that's just because we think outside of the box. But I make sure at the end of the day that we definitely have a deliverable experience and delicious food for our guests.

Question:
I've noticed liquid nitrogen was one of the things that you seem to use a lot. With that or any of the other techniques, have there ever been accidents? Is this ever dangerous for you or is it pretty safe?

Marcel Vigneron:
I've never had any accidents working with liquid nitrogen. It is extremely cold. And whenever you're dealing with extremely cold or extremely hot elements, there's a level of danger involved. But I feel like cooking in and of itself is, you know a kitchen is a very dangerous place to begin with. I mean think about it, you're constantly wielding knives which are extremely sharp. The floors can be slippery, you're doing with hot oil, that's at 450 degrees sometimes. You've got ovens that are at 500 or 600 degrees. You have fire all around the place, which can instantly burn you.

And then, yes one of the ingredients that I utilize quite a bit inside of the kitchen is liquid nitrogen. And it's basically just like the same thing. Any time you're cooking you have to make sure that you're taking great care and paying attention to what you're doing. And it's the same with liquid nitrogen. But I've never had any accidents with it. And that's just because we - safety first. But it's basically just like any other piece of equipment inside the kitchen. Needs to be inspected and, you know handled with care.

Question:
In a few of the clips you mentioned, "Size does matter," and "Food Porn." Can you please explain what you were referring to by that?

Marcel Vigneron:
Well I think in the Size Does Matter clip I believe we were referring to the size of our tarot chip surf boards and if they were too big or too small. And then Food Porn is a term that's kind of been adopted when we're referring to what's "beauty shots." And Food Porn is just another term for describing these beauty shots.

And often times when we're doing a party, whether we're doing Marcel's Quantum Kitchen or Top Chef or any sort of cooking show, often times you'll plate up one extra dish of whatever it is that you're making so that way you can get like a nice, tight, like close up shot of the dish for the viewers at home.

Question:
What was the most extraordinary client request you've had and was it executed exactly as intended?

Marcel Vigneron:
Well I think that I don't actually get that many strange requests on the show because of the mere fact that a lot of my clients are hiring me specifically because they want me to deliver an experience. And more often than not, they kind of give me free reign for the menu because they want me to go ahead and create these elaborate dishes. And so often times I don't really get a lot of restriction, it's usually more so like, "The sky's the limit," like "Marcel, here's our story, go ahead and create." So I don't really get a lot of really crazy requests. Usually they kind of leave it up to me to go ahead and it's usually just some sort of like normal dietary restriction or something and then I just base the menu off of that.

Question:
What you're doing,fusing food with science, is the future of food?

Marcel Vigneron:
I think that food will constantly be evolving so you can't ever really put a tag on, like what the actual future of food is, because I don't think anybody really knows. But at the same time we do utilize a lot of cutting-edge cooking techniques and equipment to create these dishes. So it is very avant-garde in nature. But you know, can you say, "It is actually, you know, the future of food?" I mean, that's kind of a bold statement.

Question:
How did you get interested in cooking and at what point molecular gastronomy became your passion?

Marcel Vigneron:
I got interested in cooking at a early on at a very young age, and that was partially because my mom was cooking when I was growing up. And she would take me into the kitchen with her. So I was kind of familiar with that whole environment. And then as I was growing up and I entered high school, it was time for me to get a job so it was a normal progression for me to start cooking. And so I started cooking in high school. And then it wasn't until I went to Europe and did a lot of soul searching after I graduated high school, that I decided I wanted to pursue, like becoming a chef as a career. And then I went to the Culinary Institute of America and got my Associate's and Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.

I've just been cooking ever since. And I originally got interested in modern gastronomy when I was at culinary school and started researching elBulli, and you know, a couple other chefs from around the world that were really just pushing the envelope and developing new techniques and creating food that was unlike anything else anybody was doing around the world. And it was just really inspirational for me. And so I started to do research and development on my own and just really kind of like, you know tried to use cooking as a creative outlet and trying to use science as like a foundation for understanding the phenomenon that is cooking. p>Question:
On Top Chef we saw you butt heads with a lot of people. You often said that you were surprised by that; that you always get along with people. So are we going to see a different side of you on this new show?

Marcel Vigneron:
I hope so. Top Chef is a competition based show that tends to focus in on the most polarizing moments. And I think one of the cool things about Marcel's Quantum Kitchen is it's a show unlike any other TV show on or it's unlike any other show on television right now. And I think that you will get the opportunity to see a different side of me. In albeit, a little bit more well rounded, I must say.

Question:
Can you talk about the challenge of overcoming the human element in what you do in order to make the science possible?

Marcel Vigneron:
The thing about it is when we're working with a lot of these new cooking techniques, it's a matter of trial and error often times. Because a lot of the things that we're trying to execute, a lot of these techniques, I've never even actually done before. So sometimes the science does come into play where we actually really need to figure something out and why something isn't working the way that we had planned and what the effects are scientifically.

But then also the shoo-in, challenge I guess, or whatever you refer to it as, which is kind of like limitations physically sometimes. It can also be the limitations of our environment where we're catering a party and we don't have the necessary equipment or there isn't a kitchen or whatever the case may be. So we're constantly having to overcome all these different challenges, whether it's the science of food, or whether it's personality based, or whether it's our environmental limitations. So I feel like we have to overcome a combination of all three, like for every single party that we cater.

Question:
In the series you said that you can't rush creativity. How does the science give you more options to get there quicker?

Marcel Vigneron:
Good question. So I think that, one I think that creativity obviously can't be rushed. But at the same time you usually have a deadline for these sorts of things. And I think in that particular instance I was plating up a dish for the first time that I had had all of these components in front of me and it was a dish that I frequently do, I'll conceive these dishes in my head, like ahead of time because a lot of the dishes we're actually creating for the first time specifically for a guest.

A lot of the dishes that we make on the show are specifically inspired by that particular client or you know, for that particular theme for that particular party. And when that happens, when you're doing these things for the first time, it's kind of challenging because like, I don't really know which component is going to go where or whatever the case may be. And it's kind of like having to do a painting for the first time for a guest who's already bought the painting, like right in front of them as there's like a ticking clock. So it's kind of challenging.

And I try to utilize science and a lot of these avant-garde techniques to keep me grounded and to, and to also help me out with this. You have on one side you have like this creative, this whole like creative thing going on and then the science is actually concrete, you know? So it provides like stability to the whole situation, if that makes any sense.

Question:
So expanding a little bit on one of the previous question, will we be seeing more about the man behind the food? Do you expose any parts of your personal life or will we see you outside of the job?

Marcel Vigneron:
Yes totally, you will indeed. For every episode, for every event that we cater, I typically like to get together with my clients and spend a couple days with them doing whatever it is that they do. So that way I can kind of get inside their head and find out what they're all about. So that way when I go back and develop the menu and go through this brainstorming session with my team, we can actually create these dishes that are specifically designed for our client or specifically designed for this particular event.

And so often times we'll be going out and for example, we cater a party for Steve Walden, this legendary surfboard shaper and so I go out, surfing with him to really develop inspiration for this party. And then for each episode every time that we meet with our clients, there will be these inspirational sessions where we go out into the world and we're doing whatever it is that our clients do. And so we step outside of the kitchen a bit and you will get the opportunity to see tha personal life or what we do outside of the kitchen. So, yes.

Question:
Tell me about putting olive oil in your hair. Is that something we should all be doing?

Marcel Vigneron:
I'm constantly traveling so I'm going back and forth either between New York and LA. And I feel like often times we have these like drastic temperature changes, my scalp gets kind of dry. And occasionally a little drop of olive oil totally does wonders. And apparently rosemary is supposed to be really good too I guess. But yes, I mean try it out, see if it works for you.

Question:
With the explosion of food television and food television programming, is it enough nowadays to just be a really good chef or do you have to go on television? Do you have to do something else to get to the level where you're at now?

Marcel Vigneron:
That's definitely enough, for sure. I think that 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.

Question:
Take someone like Bobby Flay for example; obviously he's got a lot of successful restaurants. But I'm wondering is he Bobby Flay without being on television? Or even with your show do you get some of these opportunities just by being a great chef? Or does it help that people know you from Top Chef?

Marcel Vigneron:
Well I think that it definitely helps, so to speak. And I think 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 have worked for Joe Roberson, I worked for Michael Mina in 2000, opening up The Bazarr by Jose Andres and working for all these amazing chefs, and for having cooked for over 10 years. The hospitality industry; it's not easy. You definitely have to pay your dues. And I've been fortunate enough to have these opportunities. I wouldn't necessarily say it's a necessity.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 kind of like, fortunately propelled the industry and had the opportunity to not only educate the public but also kind of like 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.

But I also don't feel that I wouldn't go so far as to say that, "You have to do that to be a successful chef nowadays." I mean 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. I feel like, yes it's a totally different animal.

Question:
What can you tell us about your team, Devon and Jarrid and Robyn?

Marcel Vigneron:
I have an amazing team. And they all have unique talents. I've known Devon for quite some time. We actually went to culinary school together way back in the day. Devon is an amazing mixologist. And we actually way back. I've known him since I was in culinary school. And so he actually has quite a - he has some chops inside the kitchen as well. So a really great member to have on my team because of that dichotomy.

And then also Jarrid is, you know, Jarrid's a jackunintelligible of all trades. I utilize Jarrid for several different things. And he's a pretty integral part of our team. And it's a funny story of how I actually met Jarrid. I met him outside of the kitchen, when he was performing at the Viper Room actually, with his band. And three days later, I just noticed he showed up to work and he was one of my food runners at the restaurant. And then about a week later he came up to me and he was like, "Marcel, I don't want to eat food, I want to be cooking food."

And so that's something that resonated really like close to me because I originally started off as a bus boy. And I was a dishwasher and then I was a busboy. But more importantly, I had told my chef at the time the exact same thing. I said, "Hey, like I'd rather be back there cooking food then out here running food." And so when Jarrid said that to me it just - it resonated really, really deeply. And I was more than happy to take him under my wing as almost like somewhat of a protege, and kind of like my own little like, personal project.

So I've been cooking with him ever since and helping him develop his technique. And just a great guy to have around because, not only does he cook but he has all these other outlets that are pretty amazing and that I try to utilize. Whether we're building edible centerpieces for the table or breathing fire, or whatever the case may be, he's just a great guy to have and a great member of the team.

And then lastly we have Robyn, who probably has the least amount of experience cooking, but nevertheless is a very important part of the team and really contributes a lot. She has more experience dealing with the front of the house and with like big business aspect of catering, which is something that I definitely wanted to have on my team considering the fact that it's a relatively new company and I needed somebody with experience in that whole aspect, considering I mainly focus in on the cooking.

But so yes, it's a really great group of people. And we have an interesting thing going. And it, just because of the fact that I know a lot of these people, and the members of my team I've known for quite some time. And they're all actually kind of close friends of mine. And it puts me in a precarious situation because it's difficult to be friends with somebody and then also be their boss because nobody really wants to be told what to do by their friend. So it kind of puts me in a little bit of a sticky situation sometimes. But at the same time, because of the fact that we are friends, we're really able to kind like of overcome any sort of trials and tribulations that we face along the way when we're catering these parties.

Question:
A little bit earlier you commented on the amount of time that you spend with clients to get to know them and become inspired; a chef typically doesn't really spend as much time with the diners. I'm wondering how you're finding that part of the business and how you enjoy it?

Marcel Vigneron:
I really enjoy it actually. I enjoy it quite a bit. And I think it makes such a huge difference in the resulting party. And what we do with the catering company is totally different than a restaurant experience. Because if you think about it when you go out to dine at a restaurant, you pick up the menu, and you basically order from what's available. And with the catering company and with the unique experiences that we deliver, it's a little bit different.

It would be like going into a restaurant and having the chef come out to your table, do a little like interview process, and then you don't even have to make any decisions. Like, their chef would go back in the kitchen, create the dishes, and then you would have a unique dining experience that was specifically catered around your likes, your dislikes, any sort of information that came up during the process. So I think that it's totally different from a regular restaurant dining experience. And that's kind of one of the cool things about what we do with the parties.

Question:
You mentioned also that your main focus is in the kitchen but I know that you do get involved in kind of the decor, and you've mentioned center pieces, and there seems to be maybe you're creeping a little bit towards becoming an event producer. How do you like that aspect of it? Would you rather just be in the kitchen?

Marcel Vigneron:
It's something that I really like and I enjoy quite a bit. Obviously as a chef my main focus is the food and making sure that everything tastes delicious, is cooked appropriately, looks amazing, and focusing in on that whole facet of the gem is my primary focus. But yes, I have began 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.

And that having been said, I've started to kind of like take on a little bit more as a chef and started really working with these event planners to kind of make sure that we're on the same page. And the front of the House and the back of the House are kind of like coming together to create one sort of harmonious experience. And so that way, we're all on the same page. And if my party planner or my event coordinator comes up with some amazing idea, I'm there to listen to it and be like, "Wow, you know what, that's brilliant. I never thought of that. That's a great idea for one of those dishes, like I'm going to do that." Or for example the other way, if I'm actually going through the dining room or the House or wherever the particular is taking place and I'm like, "Hey, what if we put this over there?" "Or what if we really kind of like focus in on evoking sort of a theme, and working with the edible centerpieces and the plates," and all that sort of thing is it's become really fulfilling for me.

And I think that 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.

Question:
Back in January you had talked about maybe doing a book and starting a restaurant. Is there anything new on either of those projects?

Marcel Vigneron:
I'm actually still working on both the cook book and the restaurants. They're kind of hold because the project of the catering company was something that I recently took on and was my primary focus. And now that I have the catering company sort of like up and going, I'm continuing to work on the book and the restaurant as well. I have two different ideas that I'm kind of like trying to write up right now and trying to get the format for. One of which is a cook book. And it's actually for home cooks.

And it's kind of like demystifying a lot of these avant-garde techniques. And just showing cooks at home how to use science. And how a little bit of education and a little bit of science and some creativity can really help the home cook create like awesome delicious dishes. And so that's kind of where the cook book is focusing. And then there's also another one that I'm working on which is more so like memoirs and just crazy stories of my life in the hospitality industry. But I think the cook book is the one that's going to come out first.

And then as far as restaurants go, I'm still working on locations and concepts because the catering company has been quite the undertaking here in Los Angeles. So it's on hold but still in the works. It's on the backburner, so to speak.

Question:
Gotcha. And then in that first episode, you inflated the mozzarella to make the egg for the wildlife sanctuary episode. What did you use to inflate that mozzarella?

Marcel Vigneron:
We actually did it a couple different ways. And I've since actually figured out how to make that. Which is often times, with a lot of these parties, we're working on these new techniques we've never tried before. And so some of them work and some of them don't. And often times, you know, you have like such a limited window because we're actually catering these parties. And there's a serious timeframe that we have to follow. And if something doesn't work out, I'll usually go back and try to re-work it and figure out where the mistake lied, or how I can actually fix something. So that way if I want to utilize that technique again in the future, and just for my own personal know-how.

I'll just go from the beginning and just basically explain the technique. So I took fresh, like cow's milk curds, and actually made my own mozzarella. And then from that mozzarella, we injected it with a tomato water sort of foam, if you will. And what actually propelled the mozzarella to blow up like a balloon was the compressed gas that was inside of the siphon that we used to make the foam, essentially. So it was the nitrous oxide. So the gas is what propels the mozzarella to expand in a balloon. And then simultaneously, you're also injecting the espuma inside of it. So it's killing two birds with one stone; on one hand you have the gas that's not only aerating the tomato water and giving it like this really nice sort of like fluffy light consistency; but it's also propelling the curds or the mozzarella to expand like a balloon.

Question:
If someone is coming to your show completely unaware of molecular gastronomy, what is the most basic description you can give for it?

Marcel Vigneron:
Molecular gastronomy is a term that's often utilized when referring to chefs collaborating with scientists or chefs that are utilizing science to develop new techniques. And so basically, cutting-edge cooking in a nutshell.

Question:
You spoke a lot about inspiration and meeting with the various party planners and everything, to come up with ideas. Is there anything that you would like to attempt, food-wise, that you haven't yet?

Marcel Vigneron:
Oh, yes. Madrid Fusion is a pretty large gastronomic conference that takes place every year in Spain with a lot of the leading chefs from around the world, and I've never been. I think that'd be a really fun conference to attend.

Question:
What do you feel it is about the show, Quantum Kitchen that will attract viewers and keep them tuning in?

Marcel Vigneron:
Well I think one of the interesting things about Marcel's Quantum Kitchen is the fact that it's a show unlike anything else on television right now. It's not a competition show and it's not a demo-style show; it's more so, just about showcasing to the public a new style of cooking and basically what happens when you combine a little bit of science, some creativity and a little know-how. And I think that the show has the opportunity to kind of open up people's minds and kind of change their paradigms to what food can actually be when combined with those ingredients.

Question:
Early on, did you ever expect that you would have your own show?

Marcel Vigneron:
No. I mean if you would have told me like five years ago that I, "was going to be on two seasons of the hottest cooking show, so I was going to be on Top Chef and then I was going to have my own show on the Syfy Network," I would have told you, "you were crazy." I would have been like, "No way." So no, I didn't really anticipate my career going in this path, but at the same time it happened so organically and naturally that it makes sense.

Question:
Do you see the show as a way to open up molecular gastronomy to more people?

Marcel Vigneron:
I do indeed. I feel like the show definitely has an opportunity to showcase to the public a style of cooking that is somewhat unknown. I feel like 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 of - unaware of this style cooking and just really kind of like showcase what food can be when you mix a little bit of science. And it's kind of like opened up people's minds to a lot of these new techniques and I don't know, creativity and all that good stuff.

Question:
What kinds of things have you learned about television production, having been on TV so much?

Marcel Vigneron:
It's interesting. Dealing with production is a completely different animal. And I have the fortunate opportunity to have dealt with it quite a bit. And it's totally different from being a chef per se. I feel like in the beginning I was just mainly focusing in on cooking and dealing with the ingredients.

And now having my own show, it's a completely different animal. There's, when you crossover from being a chef into a celebrity chef, there's all these sorts of different things and different qualities that you have to have. For example, dealing with the media or dealing with the production companies, having to cook with cameras around you, and all that sort of stuff. And it becomes quite challenging. And I feel like, Marcel's Quantum Kitchen, 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 enjoy it actually. And I'm actually quite thankful that I get to see this aspect of TV production and cooking shows.

Question:
Why do you think food television is always so successful and so popular?

Marcel Vigneron:
Well I think that food in general, not just television, is hotter now than it's kind of ever been. And I think that that's partially because of Food Television, and people like Julia Child and people like Emeril and all the other celebrity chefs that are doing television that are not only educating the general public, but also creating this fascination.

And I think 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 like everybody eats all the time, everywhere. And it's something that everybody can relate to. And so when you have something that is just this accessible that everybody can relate to it, I think it only makes sense that it increases in popularity because it's something that resonates with everybody so intimately.

Also food is so fascinating. It's one of the only occupations that requires - cooking is really one of the only occupation that requires you to utilize every single one of your senses. You have to use your sense of, your 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.

Question:
Since you've been on Top Chef, and how have you grown as a chef since then?

Marcel Vigneron:
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 kind of gone through this sort of phase where in the beginning I was curious about all these new cooking techniques. And in the beginning I might have been just been like, utilizing them to kind of like 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 like, 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.

Question:
What will you be bringing to the show that's bigger and more fantastic than what we've seen from you on Top Chef?

Marcel Vigneron:
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 actually have an amazing team behind me that's helping me create these dishes. I've got inspiration where I'm working with these clients and really coming up with delicious menu items that's just inspired. But I have a little bit more time. I'm not given like six minutes with one hand tied behind my back. And I'm given 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. I'm sure you'll see a lot more - a lot cooler techniques when I'm actually given the time and the resources that I need to execute some of these very difficult and technical dishes that I'm trying to create.

I can remember some challenges on Top Chef, it's like if you're given a roll of quarters, five minutes and put in front of a vending machine, I'm not going to make the most amazing thing. But you give me a budget of a couple thousand dollars and a couple days, it's a completely different ballpark.

Question:
You spent a couple seasons on Top Chef. What was your favorite experience from your time on Top Chef?

Marcel Vigneron:
One of my most memorable experiences from Top Chef was flying into Waipio Valley on a helicopter and having like a traditional luau with the other contestants and with Tom and Padma and Allen Wong. And just to sit down in those beautiful kind of like, tarot farm in Waipio Valley. And seeing like the black sand beaches was just in and of itself was absolutely breathtaking. And to be able to get that sort of traditional Hawaiian experience, was remarkable and something that I'll never forget. And so that was really incredible and definitely up there as one of my top experiences. And that was during the finale of Season 2.

And then more recently, I really enjoyed fishing out at the lighthouse in Montauk Point. I thought that that was a really good, really fun challenge. I ended up catching three striped bass that day. And any time that, as a chef any time that I get that close with my ingredients, like if I'm actually procuring them myself, or if I'm foraging or harvesting the vegetables, or catching the fish, or slaughtering the animal, I instantaneously get like this very, sort of like intimate relationship with the dish that I'm creating. Because you're so closely connected to the ingredients, it's very inspirational. And I get all emotional any time I'm that close to the ingredients for the dish that I'm trying to create. So and I love fishing. So that was a pretty remarkable experience.

Question:
I know you have the show and a lot going on right now, but have you thought about what is next for you in your career? Or are you too focused on the show to even think about that?

Marcel Vigneron:
I'm always kind of like trying to figure out what's next and planning for the future. And so now that I have the catering company up and running, I feel like the next logical step in my career is a restaurant. I feel like that's a natural progression. And I would love to do a restaurant here in Los Angeles. And I feel like that's the next big step for me. I'll do that and maybe Season 2. We'll see what happens.

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