Photo Credit: Bravo

Yesterday we offered up our interview with the West Coast’s last remaining cheftestant on tonight’s Top Chef finale – Michael Voltaggio.  Today we’re bringing you a follow-up interview with the East Coast’s own Voltaggio: Bryan.  He’s already made it further than DC’s first Top Chef, Spike Mendelsohn, and he seems poised to follow in the footsteps of Carla Hall who was one of the top three competitors last season.

We caught Chef Voltaggio in the kitchen at VOLT, the restaurant he opened in Frederick, Maryland, about a year and a half ago.  No resting on his laurels for this Top Chef – Voltaggio was hard at work sauteeing sweetbreads for that evening’s dinner service and had to step away from the phone a few times to make sure everything came out just right.  It’s that kind of attention to detail that helped him to three Elimination Challenge wins.

In the course of our interview, we discussed several of the same topics we asked his brother, Michael about: fan reactions in his restaurant, sibling rivalry, the impact of the competition on their family members.  Check out the conversation, and then tune in tonight to see whether the Voltaggios will be able to take their rivalry all the way to the finale.

Capital Spice: Good afternoon, Chef.  It’s great to have an opportunity to follow up with you now that we know you’ve made it so far.  Congratulations on your success.
Bryan Voltaggio: Thanks.  Happy to talk with you again.

CS: What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen since the show started airing?
BV: Without a doubt, the show has put a new focus on VOLT.  We’re seeing increased foot traffic, especially on Saturdays and Sundays as people from Washington visit Frederick.

CS: You grew up in the area.  How does it feel to know that you’re having a hand in bringing more people to town?
BV: It’s been terrific – we all tend to share business throughout the community.  If we’re booked solid at VOLT, we’ll happily recommend people check out other restaurants in town – and they’ll do the same for us.

CS: One of the things that fans have noticed is the concentration of wins with just a few chefs this season.  You and the other three finalists are the ONLY contestants to win an Elimination Challenge.  What was your take on the competition?
BV: Everyone from the judges to former contestants have said that the level of competition this season is higher than it ever has been before.  I can honestly say that every single contestant deserved to be there for the food they were cooking.  The challenge wins don’t reflect the reality of the overall skill level in that kitchen.

Bryan’s take on the Voltaggio sibling rivalry, his mother’s reaction, and forgetting an anniversary after the jump. (more…)


Photo Credit: Bravo

We’re a little more than 24 hours away from the premiere of Top Chef’s sixth season (Cleaving Las Vegas, anyone?), and the excitement is definitely building in Washington as we watch for our local competitors to show the rest of the country what we already know: that DC is underrated when it comes to the quality of our up-and-coming chefs.

Yesterday, we gave you a first look at Zaytinya’s Mike Isabella.  Today, we’re chatting with Frederick’s own Bryan Voltaggio.  After working his way up through the stations at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole (eventually earning the role of sous chef), Voltaggio was named Executive Chef of Charlie Palmer Steak when it opened here in Washington.

As much of a home coming as that was for Voltaggio, he had always envisioned owning his own restaurant and bringing something back to Frederick County where he grew up.  In July 0f 2008 that vision became reality with VOLT, a modern American restaurant that is at once part of the DC restaurant scene and the agricultural community that supports it.

We talked with Bryan Voltaggio about his approach to Top Chef, the way he was able to stay under the radar (at least relative to Isabella) and sibling rivlary:

Capital Spice: Thanks for agreeing to this interview, chef.  We’ve heard you were actually a big Top Chef fan even before you started the application process.  Is that true?
Bryan Voltaggio: Absolutely, though I rarely get to watch the episodes when they first air since I’m usually working.

CS: Did that have anything to do with your decision to apply for this season?
BV: It did.  I’ve actually always wanted to compete [on Top Chef].

Photo Courtesy: Bravo

Photo Credit: Bravo

CS:Was it a tough decision to make to apply this time around?
BV: Yes and no.  On the one hand, it meant that I was applying soon after VOLT opened up, and I knew that if I was accepted I would need to leave the restaurant for a month or more.  But I’ve got a great team working with me at VOLT, so I wasn’t too worried.

CS: It seems like you had an easier time keeping your participation under wraps than Chef Isabella of Zaytinya did.  Considering how many food bloggers DC has these days, how did you manage to pull it off?
BV: I think there were a couple of factors that helped.  First off, we’re a bit removed from the downtown dining scene, so I’m able to keep a lower profile in general.  Second, I think the timing made a lot of people skeptical that I would do it.  And the fact that I’ve already opened my own restaurant makes me different than a lot of the other competitors, whose goal is to win and then roll the prize money into a new venture.

Voltaggio vs. Voltaggio and Bryan’s connection to another Top Chef after the jump. (more…)