On this week's long-awaited Top Chef Restaurant Wars challenge, two teams were tasked with conceiving and operating an eatery with a compelling theme. But as important as it is for teammates to form a united front in order to successfully pull off the challenge, Marcel Vigneron's team "Etch" wasn't very open to following his direction. Ultimately, the Top Chef villain was sent packing, but was he sabotaged? See why the foam fanatic thinks Mike Isabella played a role in his elimination and what he really thought about the team that he hand-selected.
What was it like being a team leader for Restaurant Wars?
Marcel: From the get-go, the challenge was pretty difficult because it wasn't like I self-appointed myself as leader. Also, I think I unfortunately picked a team that didn't really want to go to bat for me. I had people like Mike Isabella, who from before we even started the challenge, didn't want to work with me. So whenever you're forced into a situation with people who don't want to work together, it makes for a difficult challenge. For me, that doesn't matter. You can be my best friend or worst enemy, but it's all about the food. I feel like other people had ulterior motives. It was sad to not see people trying very hard.
Anyone in particular?
Marcel: Oh, totally. Mike Isabella was not performing at his best. I cooked my heart out and worked my a-- off and pushed the entire time, and I just didn't see that sense of urgency from Michael. I know he hasn't worked the line in a while, but I've seen him running around in Quickfires and individual challenges with that energy. When it came to the team challenge, he really let me down. And he talked a lot of sh-- in the interview room and never had the common decency to tell me how he felt personally. So, that kind of hurt my feelings a little bit. I wish he would have been more adult about the situation and not act like a child so much.
What did you think of the judges' critique of your dish?
Marcel: It's interesting because a lot of people actually liked my dish, and if you look at the footage, there were a lot of complaints about the other dishes. It didn't seem like anyone complained about my monkfish until the judges' table, and they said it was mushy and lacked in texture. I had planned to stick an artichoke chip in the dish, which would have brought the dish full circle, but I sacrificed that crunchy component because my team wasn't ready for service and I needed to set up the line. I got a lot of compliments and the only negative comment I got was for that particular judges' table, and coincidentally, Mike Isabella cooked the fish for the table.
Do you think he botched your dish on purpose?
Marcel: Absolutely. After seeing those [positive] comments, I think he definitely did. And then at the judges' table when he threw me under the bus, he kind of saw the opportunity to take me out, and he did it. And it worked.
You said that you come across as the show's villain, but that you're misunderstood. What do you mean?
Marcel: The reality is they have a lot of footage to make a great show, and obviously they want to focus in on the more dramatic aspects of it. But I'm actually a nice person. I've helped chefs in several other challenges. There's this whole other side of me you don't get to see on the show. They make me look like that guy. That's why with my new Syfy show, Marcel's Quantum Kitchen [Monday, March 7 at 10/9c], you actually get to see that whole other side of me.
Top Chef airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on Bravo.