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 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…)