Marcel Vigneron at BreadBar’s Hatchi Series
My two biggest pet peeves in life are ungratefulness and arrogance. If I meet a person, and he (or she) continually shows signs of either, I’m quick to cut and run.
When I initially met chef Marcel Vigneron in the Bazaar’s kitchen last year, I thought he was full of arrogance. So much so, that the first thing I said to him (after a cocktail or two) was, “I hated you on Top Chef”.
If you’re not familiar with the show, Marcel was the runner-up (to Ilan Hall) on Top Chef season two, and his “character” was the one that I think most viewers loved to hate (including me). He was young, cute, super talented and the other cheftestants on the show didn’t like him much either. On TV, Marcel seemed overly cocky, arrogant and quietly obnoxious.
When I think back to our first meeting, I’m still horrified with my behavior. How could I judge a person by his “performance” on a REALITY show? I told a complete stranger that I HATED him. That’s a powerful word, in real life or not. And to top off my ill-mannered introduction, I asked to take a picture with him (he kindly obliged). Talk about ARROGANCE (on my part)!
Thankfully, Marcel and I are now friends, and I’ve apologized for that first meeting several times. He is absolutely one of the sweetest and most accomplished chefs around, and what came off as “arrogance” on TV was simply CONFIDENCE. It’s such a shame that the Bazaar didn’t appreciate his talent or patience. He quit recently and has been busy filming a pilot for SYFY, while also managing his Modern Global Tasting Catering Company.
Luckily, we food lovers got to experience an entire evening of Marcel’s cuisine at BreadBar’s recent December Hatchi event. The menu theme, was not surprisingly, the same as his catering company, “Modern Global Tastings”. Modern techniques included spherifications, sous vide and foams (just for us lucky Top Chef fans perhaps?). Global Tastings took our tastebuds around the world in one evening, and the cost was just $8 for each plate!
Hatchi at BreadBar is a “unique venture featuring a different guest chef every month preparing an original, one-night-only suite of eight plates, including six ’savory’ dishes and two ’sweet’ creations”. Hatchi means number eight in Japanese: 8 Plates offered at $8 each. Quite the bargain for what you get, and I try to attend each one.
Marcel’s guest chef Hatchi dinner was rather poignant, because this was one of the few times the general public got to taste HIS FOOD. Our table was filled with fellow foodies and friends including Marcel’s good pal, chef Ben Bailly (of Petrossian). Ben and Marcel previously worked together at Joël Robuchon, and it was hilarious watching them discuss each plate (sometimes whispering) throughout the evening.
As the night came to a close, the exhaustion was apparent on Marcel’s face, but more importantly… so was the pride, because it was all about HIS concept, HIS menu, HIS food (which was all phenomenal). I felt so grateful to be part of the delicious experience, and can’t wait for what’s next!
Modern Global Tastings:
“The edible alchemy presented here is a food movement representation intended to not only express a culinary philosophy but also to evoke a conscious perception of the natural shape and flavor of substances, colors, and textures that exist within the earth and have been interpreted by your sorcerer composer. May your appetite grow and your belly be satisfied.” ~ Marcel Vigneron
Pomegranate Blueberry Spherification (Amuse Bouche)
Hamachi Sashimi: Espelette, Momo Chan, Kumquat, Salicornia
Dayboat Scallop, Cauliflower Couscous, Kinome, Seaweed
Langostine Ravioli: Tom Kai, Avocado Wrapped Mango, Petite Basil, Basil Seeds, Coconut Milk Powder
Lyonaise Salad: Frisee, “Nesting” Egg, Bacon, Sherry Vinaigrette, Endive
Broth being poured over MisoHoney Black Cod, Nasturtium textures, Sesame oil powder
MisoHoney Black Cod, Nasturtium textures, Sesame oil powder
Vadouvan Lamb: Flavors of Tzatziki, Lavosh, Pickled Onion, Sumac
Grass Fed “Corned Beef”: Sous vide short rib, Textures of Corn, Saul’s Pastrami, Black Trumpets
Souffle, Green Chartreuse with Orange Peel ice Cream with Almond Struesel
Tiny chocolate curry and passion fruit Macaroons
Cubed Vanilla Marshmallows
Cocktail: “Coke in Manhattan” Bourbon, Carbonated Coca Cola Spherification (so fun!)
Popcorn cooked in liquid nitrogen (aka “Dragon’s Breath”)
BreadBar Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310 277 3770
Dining Date: 12/17/09
At our table: Charles from 1HundredMiles, Robert, Andrew, Bob from TheBaubShow, Hanh from HungryHungryHanh, Charles from @EpicureImports, Chef Ben Bailly from Petrossian
Check BreadBar’s website for upcoming Hatchi events
More of my visits to Hatchi dinners
Follow @MarcelVigneron on Twitter
Marcel’s Bio on Top Chef
Marcel Caters for Exposed Book Launch Event w/ Jessica Alba
Chef Ben Bailly, Petrossian
The Bazaar by Jose Andres
Marcel’s autograph for my niece (& nephew too)
Check back soon for website info & details on Marcel’s Modern Global Catering Company
More Hatchi Photos on Flickr