Thursday, January 25, 2007
Garbled Speaks: Joaquín “El Baisano Jalil” Pardavé Rolls in His Grave, Hands Elia Aboumrad a Tinfoil Hat from the Amuse-Biatch Collection
Herewith, a more or less faithful transcription (we’re not stenographers, so we might be off on a word or two) of the portion of Elia Aboumrad’s interview with Chow.com’s Joyce Slaton on the subject of Marcel Vigneron. The interview itself can be heard here.
Joyce Slaton: By the end of the show, you seemed to have a big problem with Marcel, where it seemed like you sort of started off sort of allies. I think you worked together in Vegas. Is that right?
Elia Aboumrad: I trained him for the opening of Robuchon, yes.
JS: Right. And it seemed at the beginning, you sort of seemed to take his side, and defend his dish, at least it seemed that way, and then by the end you seemed completely frustrated with him and want very little to do with him.
EA: The thing is, I always, like, try to speak for the truth. And when his dish was good, his dish was good, I wasn’t gonna lie. Also the relationship between him and I was very different. He never spoke down to me, he never had a fight with me because I was his sous-chef, so I think—on the opening of Robuchon—I think that gave him a different way of looking at me in the competition, I guess, because he was always trying to be nice and polite, so I had no problems with him most of the competition.
JS: So what hap—? I’m sorry. What happened to sort of sour you on him?
EA: Well, because then he started, at the finale, I think, he started feeling more pressure, I don’t know, and he just started doing the things he would do to others to me. Marcel cheated throughout the whole competition, different times, and he was never called out cheating. Everybody knew.
JS: How was he cheating?
EA: I don’t know. He had agar in his bag and he would use it to change the density of the sauces, or one day he had recipes from Joel Robuchon. These were little details that I think were the things that made Betty and Sam and Ilan and everybody be so mad at him.
JS: So why didn’t, why didn’t anyone bring, certainly there was other allegations of cheating, why didn’t anyone bring Marcel’s cheating up with the judges?
EA: I did, and then I think they’re gonna show it at the finale. I don’t know how they’re gonna edit it, what am I gonna do? you know. I am not the producer, I’m just one of the contestants. I have no saying in this whatsoever, because it’s gonna be edited again.
JS: What happened the night that everyone, that you and Ilan shaved your heads? The way that it looks is that you guys decided, you were drinking, you were silly, you decided you were going to shave his head, Cliff held him down for a few minutes, and it didn’t end up happening, and then, afterwards you and Ilan shaved your heads. Is that what happened? ‘Cause in the show, in the editing they show you—
EA: That’s exactly what happened. And I didn’t drink, I don’t drink, I don’t get drunk, I was just, like, Well, now that we have this machine, and now you wanted to do this to Marcel, which I wasn’t involved in, like they put the blogs. I didn’t even know about this joke until it was happening and I go then, Ok, guys, I’m not gonna defend him, but I’m not gonna help you either, you know. So when Marcel went away really upset, I’m, like, Well, we have this machine, I’ve wanted to shave my head my whole life, and I finally have the guts to do it, and Sam was like, well, if you do it, we’ll all do it. I’m like, Are you serious? And then we like started joking around, and then it happened and I really enjoyed it, I have to say that we had a lot of fun that night, and I—
JS: Do you feel bad at all about what happened to Marcel? I mean, it looks, it looks a little, it looks a little sad, I mean it’s hard to see, to say what happened there, but—
EA: No, I don’t feel bad because that was not the way it happened, and, no. [laughs] I mean, I didn’t help to do it, but I was not gonna either stop them. I mean, this was a joke they were playing on him, they didn’t went through with it. Marcel has been, I mean, he has insulted people in so many ways during the whole competition that hasn’t been shown, like his verbal way of talking to people I think it’s worse than tackling him to the floor and trying to shave his head. This happened. I think it was a guy’s joke, it was in between them. He was being a, I don’t know, very arrogant with all of them all the time, and then when he needed help he was like, [baby voice] ‘Oh please’
JS: So do you think it was right that Cliff got kicked off?
EA: I don’t think it was right that Cliff was kicked off. If it was had been for his food, yes, but not for that, not for that because so many other things happened during the show where people should have been kicked out, like for cheating, and they weren’t, and then, Oh Cleef is a bad boy, he’s being, I don’t know, I thought that it wasn’t necessary.
JS: So I guess you’re not in touch with Marcel anymore?
EA: No. He called me a few times to watch the show together, and I was going to. I have to say that I called him back, and I then I realized that, we have this voting competition on Tv.com, and every week they just kick someone out, so the ones that remain in the competition keep on competing, I mean, it’s obvious that he hired a hacker—
JS: He hired a hacker? Are you saying—? I’m sorry. It’s obvious that he hired a hacker and gives himself more votes, is that what you’re saying?
EA: Yes, it’s evident. It’s evident, so after I saw that, I’m, like, no, you know what, Marcel? I can’t, and he’s like why? I’m like, you know why. I don’t wanna hang out with you, period. You go and there, and every time you vote for Sam, Ilan or me, he gets more four votes, and then when you vote for him, he gets a hundred votes, with one vote—
[Joyce Slaton laughs]
EA: So it’s evident. It’s not even done in a smart way.