Marcel Vigneron’s Food Magic

By on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010


Few were surprised when the Beverly Hilton closed its aging Trader Vic’s outpost, that remnant of mid-century America, and transformed it into chic, über-modern bar210. What continues to surprise is chef Marcel Vigneron’s ambitious menu.

Blending cutting-edge techniques with a globe-spanning range of culinary influences — French, Thai, Italian, Japanese and more — Vigneron dishes out inventive small plates that put the typical hotel bar to shame.

Vigneron, the “Top Chef’ runner-up (season 2) and former Executive Sous Chef at The Bazaar by Jose Andres, sat down with Toque to talk about his cooking, his culinary influences and why he dislikes the term “molecular gastronomy.”

Then he stepped behind the stoves and taught us how to make Dragon’s Breath Popcorn — the snack that makes you blow smoke out of your ears.
(Photo of Marcel Vigneron © MyLastBite)

Written by Elina Shatkin

Elina Shatkin is West Coast editor for Toque as well as restaurant critic and staff writer for LA Weekly. Shatkin was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times and has written for a variety of publications in print and online. She's the co-founder of the incipient food blog Guzzle & Nosh.

25 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Sad that the O.G. Trader Vic’s is gone, but interested in blowing popcorn “smoke” out of my nose.

  2. mattatouille says:

    Great video, enjoyed it very much, Elina. I want to check out Bar210 now.

  3. Rob Takata says:

    RT @ToqueMag: Marcel Vigneron's Food Magic http://bit.ly/c3U7c7 by @ElinaShatkin

  4. sheigh says:

    Chef Marcel Vigneron cooking Dragon's Breath popcorn which makes you blow smoke out of your mouth + ears http://bit.ly/aRCcnK @elinashatkin

  5. Matthew Kang says:

    Cool video about Marcel Vigneron by @elinashatkin on Toque: http://www.toquemag.com/featured/marcel-vignerons-food-magic

  6. Chef Marcel Vigneron cooks the infamous Dragon's Breath popcorn, which makes you blow smoke out of your mouth + ears http://bit.ly/aRCcnK

  7. After seeing this i Sooo wanna go! “@elinashatkin: Chef's famous Dragon's Breath popcorn, which makes u blow smoke http://bit.ly/aRCcnK”

  8. alfienumeric says:

    Chef's famous Dragon's Breath popcorn, which makes u blow smoke http://bit.ly/aRCcnK”

  9. lisa brenner says:

    RT @elinashatkin: Chef Marcel Vigneron cooks the infamous Dragon's Breath popcorn, which makes you blow smoke out of your mouth + ears http://bit.ly/aRCcnK

  10. RT @tranland: @elinashatkin's great vid on Chef Marcel Vigneron's Dragon's Breath popcorn http://bit.ly/aRCcnK makes you breathe smoke!

  11. lisa brenner says:

    i saw a dragon eating popcorn at (bar 210 that used to be) trader vics, his hair was perfect http://bit.ly/aRCcnK

  12. carhughes says:

    RT @ToqueMag Marcel Vigneron's Food Magic http://bit.ly/c3U7c7 (Cooking Dragon's Breath popcorn which makes U blow smoke out of your mouth.)

  13. Jo says:

    I miss Dragon's Breath! Awesome video of chef @MarcelVignenron http://tinyurl.com/248oq6w by @ElinaShatkin @ToqueMag

  14. Jo says:

    I miss Dragon's Breath! Awesome video of chef @MarcelVigneron http://tinyurl.com/248oq6w by @ElinaShatkin @ToqueMag

  15. Edward Allen says:

    This is fab! Great job. RT @MyLastBite: Awesome video of chef @MarcelVignenron http://tinyurl.com/248oq6w by @ElinaShatkin @ToqueMag

  16. Marcel Vigneron's Food Magic – Video on how to make Dragon Breath Popcorn via @ElinaShatkin @ToqueMag: http://bit.ly/9UQAex

  17. Lizzi H says:

    RT @ToqueMag: Marcel Vigneron's Food Magic http://bit.ly/aRCcnK

  18. charles says:

    Informative and awesome. Great story and video.

  19. Jacqueline says:

    That was so cool; I’m going to have to show that video to my 9th grade science class!

  20. kissmybundt says:

    After seeing this i Sooo wanna go! “@elinashatkin: Chef's famous Dragon's Breath popcorn, which makes u blow smoke http://bit.ly/aRCcnK”

  21. The CIA says:

    CIA grad @MarcelVigneron '02 & his food magic profiled @toquemag http://ow.ly/2BbCa

  22. Free ToBeMe_ says:

    This guy's a jerk RT CIA grad @MarcelVigneron '02 & his food magic profiled @toquemag http://ow.ly/2BbCa

  23. Steve Cooper says:

    Wife is huge Potter fan. Making her butterbeer 4 date at the movies tonight. Wish I could make Dragon’s Breath Popcorn http://bit.ly/bN3x4o

  24. linda says:

    I loved the video! I loved Marcel as well..very creative–seems intimidating from an aspirin chefs like me…–theres SO much you can do with food–and I know so little.
    Back to my spaghetti and meatballs.

  25. linda says:

    thats” aspiring” with a G–not an aspirin chef…I’m an aspirin chef only when I feel a cold coming on! lol

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