Jarrid Masse, Marcel Vigneron
Top Chef bad boy Marcel Vigneron brings his culinary chemistry set and perfectionist attitude to the Syfy cooking show Marcel's Quantum Kitchen, which premieres Tuesday at 10/9c.
So how does a cooking show wind up on a science-fiction network? "It's mainly about understanding the science behind cooking," he tells TVGuide.com. "We're creating a lot of the things people haven't seen before and have never done before, so that's where you get the fiction."
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Vigneron is a master of molecular gastronomy, a cooking style that uses innovative techniques to change ordinary food ingredients into surprising new forms. In the series, he converts wine into pasta, transforms watermelon into tuna-like sushi and yes, even creates foam — his favorite technique as Top Chef fans know-- from tomatoes. "It's not just foam. I have a whole new bag of tricks up my sleeve," he says.
Vigneron will put all his scientific sorcery to work for his new catering business, which is where Quantum Kitchen begins. In each of the six episodes, a client will hire him to create an avant garde fantasy menu based upon themes such as romance, wildlife or, in one instance, a luau. To be sure, this is no "how-to" cooking show, but for every "Himalayan Tiger's Breath" and "Edible Engagement Ring" Vigneron conjures up, he does whip out accompanying mad scientist-wear (i.e. safety goggles are in heavy rotation.)
"Are we wearing lab coats? No," Vigneron says. " It's a lot like Entourage. You'll see us cruising around in civilian clothes having a really good time. There's a lot of humor and wit throughout the show, a lot of double entendres because you know how we are in the kitchen. You can usually correlate food to anything you're talking about."
Joining Vigneron in the kitchen hijinks are friend and mixologist Devon Espinosa, rocker and jack of all trades Jarrid Masse and caterer Robyn Wilson. None of them have had experience cooking avant garde cuisine, which Vigneron finds to be a mixed blessing.
"They ask the 'whys' and 'hows for the viewers at home," he reveals. "Or they'll be messing things up and the best way to learn how something actually happens is to see it get messed up. They are constantly burning stuff and mis-weighing ingredients and breaking emulsions, so for me it gets a little bit frustrating but I think also very fun to watch."
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Only a bit frustrating? "I'm not going to lie, sometimes I get a bit crazy when I have these wacky ideas and ambitious menus," Vigneron says. "Because I have high expectations and sometimes they'll just be joking around. I'll be like, 'Look guys, this is real. This is an event. This is a company. We are catering this party, and these people are hungry. Stop joking around and do some work.'"
Of course, his co-workers aren't the only ones who'll have to hear it. Party planners will also be getting super servings of Vigneron's signature sharp tongue and stubborn ways. One will not-so-affectionately call him "sneaky sneaky Marcel."
Marcel fans, are you excited to watch? The show delivers the fanciful foods and drama he's known for... but we're still waiting to see whether his freestyle skills make it on air.