‘Top Chef’ contestant Marcel Vigneron’s tips on caviar

Nestled in the hills of Bel Air, Beverly Hills Caviar hosted a caviar tasting by Top Chef contestant Marcel Vigneron for the Harold Robinson Foundation, dedicated to enriching the lives of inner city and underprivileged children, with performances by the Malibu String Quartet. Here’s the dishes and some tasting tips from Marcel.


Chef Marcel presented five dishes and as he tells us, the thought behind his tasting menu was that he “wanted to use ingredients that would compliment the caviar and utilize techniques that would bring out textures that would also compliment the caviar while having fun whimsical plays on classics.”

Classics such as the notorious pairing of eggs and caviar, the balance of flavor from asparagus, and dashi’s oceany-briney flavor as a compliment.

Chef Marcel’s menu included:

Oyster & Nitro Pearl Parfait – dashi consomme gelee, creme fraiche Dippin’ Dots, asparagus cream, vegan caviar, and chervil.
Spanish Deviled Egg – pimenton aioli, piquillo puree, petite tarragon, and beluga caviar.
Rainbow Caviar Cone – hiramasa tar tar, yuzu vinaigrette, and black fish caviar.
Aerated Scrambled Eggs – micro chive and maldon salt with sevruga.
Nitro Lemon Drop served with oscetra malossol and zest.
Also provided for an exotic tasting experience was smoked alligator and sturgeon.

Chef Marcel’s tips

As a connoisseur of caviar, Marcel gave us a couple of tasting tips.

1. Open the tin and make sure the pearls are nice, full, and juicy.

2. To test its freshness, take a large spoonful and use your tongue to press it against the roof of your mouth. Marcel says, “you want to make sure there’s a pop to the pearl because that means the caviar is fresh. If it’s more slimy, its older”

3. After analyzing the texture, now it’s time to determine the flavor profile: salty, briny, fishy, oceany, and creamy.

4. The characteristics based on your purpose are size of the pearl, type, and age. Beluga caviar is older sturgeon and larger pearl.

Photography provided by Natalie Woyshner