Post-‘Top Chef’ life busy for Voltaggio brothers
ASPEN – Chef Michael Voltaggio, winner of TV’s “Top Chef” title last season, credits his fame to what he does in the kitchen, not on television. Still, he never used to get asked for his autograph.”That part is new,” conceded his brother, Bryan, the “Top Chef” finalist who lost out to Michael in the season six finale.”I think the validity is in what we do in the restaurant every day,” said Michael, during a brief break from a packed schedule at this weekend’s Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. The trip to Aspen was part of his prize package as last season’s winner, but both Voltaggios are among previous Top Chef contestants wandering about town this weekend. It’s their first Classic.Both chefs had reputations that preceded “Top Chef,” Michael stressed, but the television show has broadened the audience for their food.”The demographic got a lot bigger,” he said.Bryan credits the show for advancing their respective careers more quickly, and Michael, finally cracking a smile, admits life, post-“Top Chef,” is busier.”It’s better for sure,” he added. “It has given us a lot more opportunity to grow. It’s taking myself and putting it on a plate and showing it to a lot more people.””It’s better in the sense of allowing us to showcase what we do and what we’re passionate about to a broader audience,” agreed Bryan, chef at his own restaurant, VOLT, in his native Frederick, Md.On the opposite coast, Michael is chef at The Dining Room at The Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa, in Pasadena, Calif.Now, however, they also find opportunity to work together – a plus that Bryan credits to the “Top Chef” experience. They both, for example, donned their chef’s aprons for a Bravo TV/Food & Wine magazine opening party on Thursday. They’ll be back in the kitchen Saturday for an intimate event; Michael participates in a Quickfire on Sunday with another familiar “Top Chef” face, Rick Bayless.Celebrity appearances aside, the television show can give a boost to a contestant’s restaurant, Bryan said.”People who only know me from the show come into the restaurant to have the food, see me … then they book a reservation on the way out because they had a great experience,” he said.”That, for me and my staff, is the greatest accomplishment of the whole experience.”firstname.lastname@example.org
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