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Offline apskip

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"Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« on: February 10, 2011, 11:05:08 AM »
Chef Marcel Vigneron Pushes the Limits of Culinary Imagination in new series, "Marcel''s Quantum Kitchen," premiering Tuesday, March 22 at 10 P.M. ET/PT on Syfy. That is not an obvious channel for a culinary show, but Marcel is always interesting and controversial.

Marcel's Quantum Kitchen follows Marcel as he embarks on the next phase of his career at the helm of his own catering and event company. In each one-hour episode, Marcel will be hired by a demanding client to produce and pull off extraordinary dishes and celebrations. Based on the clients' requests, Marcel will have to dream up a menu and a spectacular execution of his ideas. He taps into the depths of his imagination and culinary talents to brainstorm everything from the decor to a delicious menu that emphasizes his unparalleled brand of molecular gastronomy. Some of the inventive dishes Marcel creates in the series include a flaming prawn that literally ignites at the dinner table to a futuristic flying pizza, a cube of watermelon that looks, smells, and tastes like tuna and a rice tablet that causes the diner's mouth to billow smoke when it's eaten.

Be prepared to see foams and more foams, as Marcel has never learned that less can be more. That inability to rein himself in on use of foams anywhere and everywhere was the primary reason he was eliminated in episode 6 of Top Chef 8.
 


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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 11:39:20 AM »
Hopefully, it will be a fun show to watch and we can learn some new techniques. He's never dull that's for sure! Thanks for the heads-up apskip!
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Offline micah

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2011, 12:54:59 PM »
This is funny.  I did one of those opinion polls where the preview for this was shown and I was asked a bunch of questions.  I swear I thought it was a farce show being used to measure something else indirectly.  I just do not see this show working.

Offline apskip

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2011, 04:28:18 PM »
Marcel is a polarizing team member, but one-on-one he is engaging and he is an expert at molecular gastronomy. Expect to see a lot of foams on this show, since I  cannot recall a single episode of Top Chef 2 or 8 he was in that he used no foam. I expect to be ebtertained, but I have always been a Marcel fan.

Offline apskip

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2011, 07:59:34 AM »
TV review: ‘Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen,’ starring ‘Top Chef’ alum Marcel Vigneron
By Emily Yahr, Washington Post, 3/18/11
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/tv-review-marcels-quantum-kitchen-starring-top-chef-alum-marcel-vigneron/2011/03/14/ABqtw6r_story.html

As far as reality-show villains go, wildly talented “Top Chef” and “Top Chef: All Stars” alum Marcel Vigneron didn’t come close to the level of Evil Russell of “Survivor” or, to go way back, Omarosa from “The Apprentice.” Still, he clashed with fellow contestants, polarized viewers and made headlines for being the contestant “everyone loves to hate.”

Plus, he’s easy on the eyes — and that, television viewers, is the kind of person who gets his own reality show.

As a result, we get “Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen,” a new cooking series on Syfy that attempts to justify the fact that it’s on a science-fiction-themed channel by using molecule-shaped animation, helpful graphics that count milliliters of liquid and the word “quantum” in the title. In reality, the show winds up being like any other frantically paced, personality-driven cooking show on any other network. Though Marcel points out in the beginning that he’s a molecular gastronomist, which means he incorporates science into all of his cooking. Well played, Marcel, well played.

But really, don’t we just want to be entertained? Quibbles with the channel aside, the series proves to be a dynamic hour of television. The producers avoid manufacturing drama — say, by fixating on Marcel’s egomaniacal tendencies — and instead focus on the most fascinating aspects of the chef’s new day job as the owner of a catering company.

Right up front, Marcel admits he’s had a colorful past. “I know many of you are probably thinking, ‘He’s that [expletive] from “Top Chef,” ’ ” the 30-year-old cook explains at the top of Tuesday’s premiere episode, though he doesn’t reveal that it’s Syfy’s sister channel Bravo (both owned by NBC Universal) that airs “Top Chef,” which may be how he got this gig. “Truth is, I’m not like that at all. You say ‘jerk,’ I say ‘perfectionist.’ ”

With the whole “yes, Marcel can be mean” thing out of the way — along with a scene with the chef gamely performing a cooking demonstration for elementary-school kids to prove his kindheartedness — the show moves on to chronicle Marcel and his staff as they cater ritzy events in Los Angeles. Money is seemingly no object to their clients, which makes for outrageous, riveting displays of creative food-making.

The first client up is a very “Real Housewives of Orange County”-looking woman named Carlton, a philanthropist who eyes Marcel suspiciously but concludes that he’s the right person to cater her cocktail party to raise awareness for Wildlife Waystation, an animal refuge. Cue Marcel and his team — Jarrid, the rebellious cook; Devon, the good-natured mixologist; and Robyn, the rookie and former rock-concert-tour caterer.

The group decides to go with a safari theme, creating dishes that resemble a snake, a tree and even a bird’s nest with an egg inside.

Foam bubbles out of pots, steam goes everywhere, and the lightning-fast editing shows the many tries at getting complicated recipes just right. There’s one attempt to figure out the best way to form a giant snake out of grated cheese, and — spoiler alert — there is no good way. Marcel decides to use fried potatoes and mozzarella cheese blown up as small balloons to make the bird’s nest and egg.

Occasionally, a “this is science!” graphic flies across the screen with a definition of something such as “oxidize” — as in “be sure the apples don’t oxidize” while making fruit leather to eventually create an edible map that guests can use as they navigate the jungle-like party — but you’re so engrossed in the snake made of beef tenderloin, you barely notice.

The 60-minute episodes fly by. In the second one, Marcel caters a small engagement party for two high school sweethearts and includes an edible ring made with hot liquid sugar as a post-meal treat. Somewhere, there’s a squabble between Marcel and the event planner about three-tiered plates — but you’re too focused on the 30-inch “wine noodle” to care.

For those who crave drama as a side dish, Marcel does have his moments. “Doing this tasting for you set me back a little bit, but I was more than happy to accommodate,” he sweetly tells an event planner, passive aggression at its finest, after she asks for a pre-event tasting. Marcel also almost leaves Robyn in tears after she spends eight hours peeling apples for the edible map, and then the map prototype falls apart. “I would hate to fire her before the party’s even over,” he growls.

When Syfy (formerly known as the Sci Fi Channel) rebranded nearly two years ago, its mission was to expand its types of programming. It succeeds with “Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen,” though the series is only six episodes — and as long as the channel follows this model, it’s on the right track.


Offline apskip

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2011, 04:42:36 PM »
I can see that Marcel Vigneron's popularity has led to incredible interest in his new series, which is why there have been no comments in this thread for a while. He started a catering company so he could experiment with molecular gastronomy and impress people with his ability to push the edge of what is possible with food. Marcel made a disparaging reference to the belief many (but not me) share that he is a jerk. His self-defining term is "perfectionist." He has hired these people as his catering staff:
Jarrid - an all-around chef type whose self-image of that of an out-of-the-box thinker
Devon - a mixologist who went to culinary school with Marcel 
Robyn - a party planner type

His first client is Carlton Jeddia, who is throwing a cocktail party to support her favorite charity Wildlife Waystation. It has 400 animals that are residents. Carlton has a party planner Chester who is critical for this event. Marcel tried to meet with Chester, but was told there was not time for that until the day of the event at the site. Marcel put on a demonstration for elementary school children and Carlton and her daughter observed. Marcel and Jeddia toured the Wildlife Waystation to develop ideas on what they would create for the party. They saw a Himalayan tiger and asked if it could be at the party. There was a bright-colored parrot that was also invited for the party. Marcel heard that the mission of the organization was Education, Relocation, Rescue and Rehabilitation for wild animals.   

Marcel did develop several interesting ideas for what he would present at the party. One was Tiger's Breath, using liquid nitrogen with a sweet dessert to have the guests exhaling what looked like steam. He wanted an Edible Map. In the Amazon Rainforest, he wanted to do mozzarella balloons and also Snake in the Grass with an Edible Tree, logs with something akin to a python among them. Another dish was Bird'sEye Surprise. Once he had these ideas he had about 3 days to actually figure out how to make them in a reproducible manner. Robyn was delegated to cut apples and create the Edible Map. However, it took her too long and he had to reassign her to get it done. Technical problems with the potatoes used for the bird's nest in Bird'sEye Surprise were solved by Jarrid who switched to chicarrone fried pork skins to mimic pythons. The "eggs" were mozzarella balloons injected with tomato water and tomato gelatin. 

Carlton came by for taste testing about 1 day and some hours before the event. She hated one item she sampled. This caused Marcel to plan to do an all-nighter to get the ship back on course, as the reproducible part had not been solved for anything at that point.

Event day came and Marcel's team went to the kitchen while Marcel met Chester, who had done nothing to prepare for his part of the event. Marcel loaned him Robyn, which got Chester out of a huge whole and didn't really cost Marcel since Robyn was not culinary expert and she was slow in the kitchen. 30 guests would be arriving in about 10 hours.

The layout of the venue was to create separate South American Room (with the parrot), Southeast Asia Room, outside for the Himalayan Room where the live Himalayan tiger was placed  tethered to a stake.

The guests were herded in a group from room to room as the food was ready for that room. The first item was the Edible Map composed of apples, butter, honey, sugar, allspice and ascorbic acid. For the South American Room, Devon had created a Caipirinha cocktail from syrup, rum, lime juice and liquid nitrogen. The Bird's eye Surprise dishes were hanging from a tree outside. Snakes in the Grass were from beef tenderloin and spare ribs cooked sous vide, with broccoli, salty potatoes and mushroom sauce. Tiger's Breath was served in the Himalayan Room (this I think was the outside courtyard) and composed of wild rice, sugar, coconut milk powder and liquid nitrogen.

The guests were all well pleased and so was Carlton with Marcel's catering. I felt that he went overboard on visual effects and did not use molecular gastronomy on the taste aspects of food enough.   However, I did like it well enough to watch the rest of this series, which is on the SyFy channel from 10pm to 11pm EDT Tuesday nights.

Offline apskip

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2011, 07:14:06 AM »
MQK Ep. 2

This episode started with Marcel meeting Greg and Karen, who were high school sweethearts and newly engaged 30 years later after divorces. Karen had a very impressive diamond ring on her left ring finger, but they wanted to celebrate with close friends. They mentioned that Greg had prepared steak and lobster for her on his grill, so Marcel wanted to do some version of surf and turf. The site was the Church Winery and Bob Church led a sampling of his pinot noir wine. Marcel made a mental note to incorporate wine into the food for this occasion. Marcel met party planner Summer, who acted as a control freak with many details set and inflexible about changing them to accommodate Marcel’s food. The biggest point of contention was the large square white plates that Marcel believed were needed for the surf and turf and which Summer stated was “over my dead body.”

Marcel had the same team as from the first episode of Jarrid, Devon and Robyn. As he got into planning his menu, he decided he needed an experienced pastry chef, so he asked Sally to join the team. Menu ideas were developed including:
Surf & Turf
Wine in Food
Edible Flowers
Hearts of Palm salad
Hearts of Fire
Foie Gras
Edible Engagement Ring
Oysters
Shellfish
Planning began right away to test out specific concepts, the first being the wine noodles. They were originally going to be 3 different wines of varying color, but that proved too complicated to execute. Marcel was able using agar agar and gelatin to get it right, then cooled with an ice bath and extruded, finally served over dry ice roses and black currant. This was so complicated that they decided to only offer one 30 inch wine noodle to the engagement couple so they could eat it like the lead dogs in 101 Dalmations ate spaghetti.
For the hearts of palm salad, Marcel decided to use watermelon cubes that were put through a Gastrovax machine to suck out the air, which made them able to absorb a liquid and go with blood orange gel. This was combined with other ingredients including Hamachi, avocado and nasturtium flowers and of course real hearts of palm.
The piece de resistance was the 3-tiered surf and turf. The first tier was heart-beet ravioli with Sicilian pistachio cream and powder and spiny lobster. The second tier was foie gras truffles over spot prawn and Brussels sprouts. The third tier was sous vide flatiron steak with Alaskan King Crab legs with pinot noir sauce and truffles.
The final course was the edible engagement ring, which Sally had made with a ring of poured sugar and cubes of poured sugar bonbon, with a tiny ring glued into it with sugar.
This was a real cutting edge meal. Marcel deserved the accolades he got for his food. However, I doubt that he will ever collaborate with Summer in the future.

Offline georgiapeach

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2011, 08:57:19 AM »
This reads like science fiction, amazing that someone can actually create meals like this!
"Our fans are pretty good. They don't give away too much. Sometimes people love dropping spoilers, but our fans are good. They tend to do it in such a way that doesn't ruin it for fans who don't want to know."--Phil Keoghan

Offline apskip

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 02:46:22 PM »
Peach:

Exactly what the Science Fiction Channel must have concluded when they signed Marcel up for 6 episodes! This is molecular gastronomy that you have seen most frequently on Top Chef from either Marcel or new Top Chef Richard Blais or when Top Chef once visited wd50, the restaurant of Wiley Dufrense, or had him as a Guest Judge.

Offline apskip

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2011, 04:10:48 PM »
MQK, Ep.3

This episode involved catering a party a motorcycle shop owner was throwing to introduce his line of biker clothing at his motorcycle garage. This time Marcel was the individual running the event, so he got to hire Party Planner Milo G, whose responsibility as to transform a grungy outdoor space into an attractive space with motorcycle themes. The “kitchen” had to be set up inside the shop and there was no real space or equipment to do so. That made this an extraordinary challenge.
The first task taken on by Marcel, Jarrid, Devon and Robyn was to design the menu. They developed these ideas from the desire of the motorcycle shop owner to have pedestrian food items. The menu was:
“Root Beer” Float – Devon concocted this out of ginger, scotch and carbonated beer
Chicken Fried Steak – using chicken skins and barbecue sauce
 Fries “Animal Style” – fries with caramelized onions and beefonaise (substitute for mayonnaise)
 Mac and Chains – they had to experiment to make this work; macaroni made solely of cheddar cheese and polysaccharides by dipping a super-cooled with Liquid Nitrogen rod into a vat of cheese/polysaccharide and sliding a tubular shape off it
‘Smores – classic graham cracker, chocolate syrup and marshmallow ice cream that was cold inside and hot outside from being bruleed

The next order of business was to select models for the event who could look good and serve food and drink. One of the guys probably flunked his audition by spilling the contents of a wine glass and then dropping the glass, which shattered. However, a nice contingent of models (5 female, 2 male when what I could see) was hired and they did a good job.

Jarrid took on the task of transforming an ancient motorcycle into an oven to cook the steak and fries on. He succeeded eventually, but I think this created a lot of tension. When things go wrong, Marcel is very intolerant.

Marcel chose to over-manage and underappreciate his staff to the point where I thought Jarrid was going to punch him and Devon to leave. Robyn was not directly in the line of fire and she observed that it was all about Marcel’s perfectionism and not a team effort. She said that what happened was not Marcel’s Kitchen, it was Hell’s Kitchen Gordon Ramsay style.

The guests had a good time and the motorcycle shop owner was very pleased with the event. Marcel’s reputation for catering was enhanced. However, it appeared that besides Robyn Milo G was also an up-close observer of what went on and I doubt that she will risk using Marcel in the future when the tables are turned and it is her event with power to hire the caterer.


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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2011, 12:59:18 PM »
i watched part of this, about midway through I lost interest although I meant to record it so I could see how cooking in the bike shop worked out. I will give the show another try though.
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Offline apskip

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2011, 10:08:35 AM »
MQK, Ep. 4

Marcel’s next catering assignment was the50th anniversary party of Steve Walden as a surfer and 45th in a surfing shop. His girlfriend appears to have made the arrangements and hired a party planner Antoinette.

His staff agreed that “Marcel is losing it” based on all the conflict at the prior catering assignment. He had lost the ability to make Jarrid, Devon and Robyn part of the team. Marcel and Robyn went surfing (and looked like neophytes) with Steve to demonstrate their worthiness. Marcel was looking for inspiration for the party menu and apparently found it, as many items were sea-based and they were also based on Hawaii where they learned Steve had spent part of his life. It was to be a Hawaiian luau.

The menu concepts that were developed were:
Tuna poke (marinated fish)
Spam poi with taro chips
Lomi lomi Amadai
Opihi (small shellfish) shell mimicked by edible version using cornstarch
short ribs cooked on mostly flat 500 degree rocks tableside, w/ pineapple saffron sauce
Fauxconut – coconut cream frozen in shape of a ball and powdered with cinnamon

For innovative architecture, Jarrid attempted to make a volcano work, but was not successful. That may have been good since Antoinette hated it: “it looks like elephant dung. However, Marcel had Plan B ready, so the guests ate the same food regardless of whether the volcano was in operation.

All guests appeared to have a good time, particularly Steve. Marcel was able to say in closing that “we worked like a team” and know that his staff really believed that and were with him, a radical changed from where they started this episode.

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2011, 10:37:26 AM »
MQK, Ep. 5
This episode the outgoing President of a volunteer organization supporting Engine Company 27 of the Los Angeles Fire Company has hired Marcel to cater a  reception honoring those volunteers . This time Marcel has a very decent real kitchen to work in. Marcel must work with party planner Sasha and the usual conflicts between Marcel and any party planner occur, this time over the plates. Marcel regards plates as part of his art and party planners do not like their normal decision making to be infringed. She does, however, on a fire table which is a propane pipe to be set down the middle of a table and produce fire.

Marcel, Jarrid, Devon and Robyn visited the firehouse to sample items that the firemen typically eat. From that they developed the menu based on their observations. Here it is:
Langoustine Cocktail under celery salad with 4 types of cocktail sauce (cocktail caviar, cocktail powder, and cocktail foam are the 3 I noted)
Four Alarm Chili - a deconstructed chili under beans and carrots, oxtail and ham hocks stuffed inside a meatball chili coquette, with a "heat tester" of four chili gel cubes (4 alarms of chilies- Alarm 1 Mild yellow bell peppers, Alarm 2 Hot green Serrano chilies, Alarm 3 Hotter red Thai burns chilies, Alarm 4 Hottest orange habaneros) with a milk and honey "cool-down" in a mini faux fire extinguisher
Apple Smoked Baby Back Ribs (apple butter gelatin bones, apple chips, popcorn, and black trumpet mushrooms, infused with an apple smoke under a cloche)
Carrot Cake (cream cheese snow, blackberry and white chocolate ambers, cinnamon stick twigs, carrot puree shaped flames with golden raisin caramel) – Robyn stated that this had 9 components, so it is a high risk dish.

Marcel wanted, as always, special plates and that created tension with party planner Sasha because she had not ordered what he asked for and time was short. He needed circular plates of a 11.5” diameter so that would fit under a cloche (think glass dome) and allow the ribs to be smoked. The plate and cloche then had to hold that smoke until time to serve. When this actually happened the party host got long-winded in his recognition speeches accompanying the awarding of 6 ceremonial fireman’s axes, so  Marcel had to resmoke multiple times. The plates arrived just in time.
 
Marcel asked Sasha to taste his lagoustine dish because at the time she came for a dry-run it was the only dish he had perfected. She was allergic to shrimp, but Jarrid convinced her to try the langoustines by stating they are like lobster (true).
The guests received “A Night to Remember,” as Marcel had taken fireman’s food to new heights.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 01:08:27 PM by apskip »

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2011, 01:09:23 PM »
MQK, Ep. 6, Finale

Marcel has been catering a variety of private parties in the Los Angeles area, but to finish this series he and his team traveled to Detroit to visit Chrysler headquarters.  The executives associated with the Chrysler 200 want to throw a party for 30 at the Chrysler Museum honoring the graduates of its design school. The building Marcel and team visits has high security, which Marcel obliterated by peeking under a nearly closed pull-down door. For inspiration, Marcel was allowed to be the passenger of a 200 being driven on the Chrysler test track at 100 mph. The biggest problem logistically was that there were no burners or ovens in the Chrysler Museum, so improvisation was the name of the game.

Jarrid, Robyn and Devon were the support team before Sally was called in to help with a complex dessert and Marcel’s friend Katsuya was flown in to help with the fish course.

Marcel’s brainstorming session with his teams resulted in this menu:
Deep Dish Pizza Amuse Bouche – a high tech version with air pockets created to put inside a liquid mozzarella, tomatoes and basil
Langoustines
Cryo Rendering of Duck with Gnocchi (an advanced version with potatoes and alginate and olive oil combined with a carbonate to make it gel
Fish (Jarrid states that there is only one with the right implications for Chrysler – turbot, and it’s obvious that he is correct) – with making holes in the skin to render its fat via freezing at -30 degrees F to allow slower cooking
Dessert of Chocolate Tire Tracks – dark chocolate molded ganache with 5 additional components to make it hard to plate

Marcel was originally liaising through a low-level guy in the design shop, but unexpectedly a senior executive took his place as liaison. Andy came to sample Marcel’s food and make sure the risks involved were within reason. Andy tasted everything but the langoustines (allergic) but suggested that the dessert would be more true-to-life with 2 tracks instead of just one.

Marcel wanted to start the event with a whiz-bang opening. Jarrid found a toy-size hovercraft that could be perfect. Trials of it proved it tempermental, so Jarrid could not guarantee that it would be successful. Marcel elected to take the risk and it did succeed.     

The gnocchi was a different story. The production technique for the gnocchi was very complex and prone to poor results. Marcel had no choice but to go with it and one diner returned her gnocchi. This was the first time it had ever happened to Marcel on two seasons of Top Chef or this one of Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen. It was probably a good thing to keep his humility and desire to push the limits within some boundaries. 

I like Marcel, but he is difficult to take through much of this series, particularly in relating to his staff. They are employed but the relationship is overload to servant. He is pushing the envelope of molecular gastronomy and attempting risky stuff he would never have dared to do on Top Chef for fear of failure and elimination. As a caterer, his losses were to his reputation. I must say that if I were a party planner I would never want to work with Marcel. He is just too demanding.

This series was worth watching, but I might not watch a second series of Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen. Let’s see Richard Blais in the same role!

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Re: "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2011, 10:32:37 PM »
Most likely if ratings were not that good there won't be a 2nd season. Marcel is hard to take in large doses, as part of a group he is bearable.
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