Marcel Vigneron: Molecular Gastronomist and Time Traveler?
In an interview with LA Weekly, Marcel "Wolverine" Vigneron, contestant on Top Chef Season 2 and now, apparently, chef at an L.A. restaurant called Bar210, claims to have taught himself spherification sometime in or before 2001:
MV: ... I taught myself spherification in a garage in New York while I was getting my associates degree. I called elBulli before I'd even been there and got on the line and asked them for a sample packet of chemicals. And they mailed me the chemicals.Which is pretty remarkable, considering that spherification wasn't introduced as a technique at elBulli until 2003. In any event, forgive me if I'm not too impressed: if you ask me, any idiot with the right supplies and a recipe can pull off spherification.
SI: You can do that? You can get those through the mail?
MV: Yeah, no problem. This was totally pre-9/11. They sent me little gram bags of each one, all labeled. So I was doing research online and found Ferran's recipe for apple caviar and bought a little digital gram scale and was trying to make it. I remember me and my friends we made coffee caviar, and we were like blown away. We were like, Oh this is the coolest thing.