Wednesday’s episode of “Top Chef All-Stars” featured one of the most popular episodes each season: restaurant wars.

It also featured one of the most surprising early eliminations in the show’s history. Marcel Vigneron was sent packing tonight after his team failed miserably at restaurant wars. Marcel was the runner-up in Season 2 and is probably one of the most notorious contestants in the show’s history.

But I’m not here to bash Marcel. I’m here to defend him. He said it best as he was exiting. “I’m also the most misunderstood.” I’ve said that about him since his season. Sure Marcel is cocky and a little arrogant. But that’s what happens when someone who is bullied most of their lives finds something they’re good at. They finally gain some confidence and overcompensate for the bullying.

How do I know Marcel was bullied? It’s clear. I know what kind of people are bullied and he’s always the first to be bullied when he’s on any episode of “Top Chef.” He was assaulted in a California nightclub by a “Top Chef” viewer. He was bullied by Ilan Hall in Season 2 and he was bullied by Mike Isabella this season. Someone will always bully him because he’s a small guy and seemingly different than most of his peers. And that’s bogus.

Marcel surely has a strong personality and blurs the line between confidence and cockiness. But you can tell he’s truly a good guy. He’s just always surrounded by one or more people who bring out the worst in him.

And further, he’s no more cocky than any of the other male chefs. Angelo knows how to show class, but he clearly sabotages other contestants. And Richard Blaze practically pouts every time he doesn’t win. And Dale and Mike Isabella are plain a**holes. Chefs are jerks. On top of all that talent and delicious food, is a pile of a**hole. So stop picking on Marcel because you think he’s smaller than you.

I think “Top Chef” has been bad for Marcel and I hope he never gives the show the time of day again.

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