It is an emblematic candidate who left Top Chef, Wednesday evening, at the gates of the quarter-finals. Mickaël, the meat of the band, put away his knives and said goodbye to the brigade of Philippe Etchebest at the end of a last chance test yet tailor-made for him, around the lamb.
The northern leader has no regrets and seemed to have digested his elimination well when commenting on it for 20 Minutes.
In this episode, Mickaël, you went through all the emotions…
Yes, but disappointment prevails. In the end it was like a boxing match with ups and downs, sometimes I started slowly to finish strong. There, I started strong to finish… badly. It’s a good summary of my adventure, I still scored points, I managed some nice shots.
In the first test you are very comfortable with palace cuisine, and dressage described as “haute couture”. How did you experience that?
Me, I do bistro cuisine, not palace cuisine. But I loved doing that, touching with my fingertips this palace culture, which I have known in my career. I was very happy with my plate in this event, I believed in it for the victory and I was very disappointed. Now, that kitchen isn’t me.
You also sometimes had to cook without meat or protein.
Yes, that was a real challenge. In my cooking, there is a brutal side, with animal proteins in the center of the plates, but it’s not just that in Top Chef. Arriving with a precise and strong identity is good for being identified by viewers, but it’s complicated to open up about the events. Having a big culinary identity is good for a restaurant, but it’s not necessarily good for Top Chef.
In this episode, Louise won by making her first vol-au-vent. Candidates are sometimes better in tests that are not like them.
This is the comfort and comfort side. When you think you have mastered a product or a recipe, you let yourself go. When I was on events that weren’t my thing, I had more concentration and effort, and that creates some nice surprises.
What do you remember from this adventure?
Shooting Top Chef changed a lot of things, but above all I have more confidence in my cooking, I gained stability, serenity. And in my restaurant, it proved to me that my guys could work without me. Before these three months of absence, I had never missed a date in my restaurant. And that’s cool, to be able to delegate, to be able to be more zen, more relaxed.
And your cooking, has it evolved?
A little, I made evolve my identity, towards something more refined, more technical. Perhaps…
Do you have vegetarian dishes on the menu? After being the “fat is life” candidate, have you become a “grain-only” chef?
Not at all. I used to cook in a bistro, for peasants, and I’m sticking with that. I loved this adventure but it didn’t make me change my cooking. What I did at Top Chef stays at Top Chef. I had a blast on dressings, audacity because I knew that was what was expected. But for my establishment, it is not suitable. I remain myself, Top Chef will not make me change.