In the second part of our interview with Bar210 chef Marcel Vigneron, the Top Chef alum continues the conversation about life at The Bazaar, recommending Top Chef contestants, and his new lounge gig at Bar210, which opened recently in the former Trader Vic's location. Read the first part of the interview, and check back later for Vigneron's recipe for boneless chicken wings. (No, you won't need an immersion circulator or a canister of nitrogen.)
Squid Ink: So how long were you at The Bazaar?
Marcel Vigneron: Like a year and a half.
SI: And then you left to come here.
MV: Yep. Well, I left and I just wanted to do something new. It wasn't like I left there and already had this lined up. I just knew that I wanted to do something on my own and take an executive chef position. Because I was pretty much stagnant there. I had reached the executive sous chef level, and then I sent Michael [Voltaggio] off to do Top Chef. I recommended him for the show, and then he went off and then I was managing the restaurant and I applied for the chef de cuisine position, I was like, I'm ready for it. I've been here, I deserve it. And then they brought in another chef who I didn't really get along with. But there was a four month period when there was nobody but me. So I was like, I'm not going to be able to move up through this company.
So I left and took some time off and was catering a lot of parties, doing my own thing, working on my pilot with my production company. And then I met with Diabolical [Bar210 owner Diabolical Nightlife Associates] through a friend of mine in Vegas. That's when I met with Dan [D'Agostino of DNA] and we hit it off. I was in Vegas filming Top Chef University, which is on-line cooking classes, and we started talking. He was like, I want to do food. And I was like, You want to do food in a lounge? Let me stop you there. I'm thinking minimal silverware, super sexy, refined cuisine, updating classics, very plate-to-mouth. So we met and then he showed me the kitchen. The kitchen is massive.
SI: Did you ever think of leaving L.A.?
MV: I thought about it. I mean, I love L.A.; I consider it to be home. I was looking at other opportunities in other cities, but I wanted to try and stay here. So when I found this opportunity, it was like, this is a win-win. I get to stay in L.A., have a chef position, and do my own menu and hire my own staff.
SI: So do you still do stuff with Top Chef?