Editor's Note: Chefs are the backbone of so much of the work we do. Whether it’s culinary events that raise critical funds, our nutrition education programs that teach low-income families how to shop and eat on a budget, or even lobbying on Capitol Hill on behalf of hungry kids, chefs are some of our most dedicated volunteers and advocates.
As part of an ongoing interview series that features these chef advocates, we are proud to introduce you to some of Share Our Strength’s most passionate champions. The next in our series is Marcel Vigneron Chef/Owner of Modern Global Tasting in Los Angeles, CA. Marcel was the runner-up on the Emmy award-winning Bravo series Top Chef Los Angeles. He has also appeared on Top Chef: All Star Masters and the Food Network program The Next Iron Chef: Redemption. Marcel has generously donated his time and talent to participate in many culinary events for Share our Strength including; Taste of the Nation Los Angeles, No Kid Hungry Dinner and the Top Chef Pig Roast.
Marcel! You’ve been involved with Share Our Strength in so many ways - from participating in Taste of the Nation Los Angeles and No Kid Hungry Dinners. What inspired you to get involved?
Share Our Strength’s amazing commitment to ending childhood hunger was a huge impacting factor in my inspiration to get involved -- but originally I would have to give credit to my mother. She was the original spark that ignited my desire to help feed children with nutritional meals. When I was in elementary school, my mother helped overhaul my elementary school’s food program. She helped ensure that what we were being fed in school was of high nutritional quality. I think her initiative and willingness to give back really inspired me at such an early age to help out wherever I can. And as a chef, I feel it is my moral obligation to feed people and it’s important to begin by feeding those who need it the most!
Besides gearing up for Taste of the Nation Los Angeles, what’s on the horizon for you? Any exciting 2013 projects?
I am currently working with Summit to build a four season mountain community for entrepreneurs and thought leaders in Eden, UT as well as running my catering company; Modern Global Tasting Inc.
If you were invited to teach a cooking class about anything, what would it be?
The correlation between foods that are delicious and nutritious! I’d teach how to cook healthy super foods that are still extremely tasty.
What chefs do you admire?
Alice Waters, Thomas Keller, and Ferran Adria
What is your guilty food pleasure?
Sour Gummy Candy
What is your favorite American culinary destination?
Hawaii, without a doubt -- I go every year! It is extremely inspirational – Hawaii has phenomenal raw products and an amazing gastronomic culture.
Chefs know more about feeding people than just about anyone. What is the secret to preparing a satisfying meal?
Balance is the key to preparing a satisfying meal. It’s important to satisfy all cravings from not only a flavor perspective (sweet, sour, bitter, salty), but also from a nutritional perspective. Your body naturally craves whatever it is lacking and the ability to provide sustenance though balance is an integral part of creating a satisfying meal.
What would you say to chefs who are looking to give back?
Find the time and do it! It is extremely rewarding and more satisfying than you could ever imagine.