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Area chef wins another 'Top Chef' challenge

September 10, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

The brothers Voltaggio both fared well during Wednesday night's "Top Chef: Las Vegas" elimination round in which French dishes were prepared for a table of elite French chefs, including France's "chef of the century."

Joel Robuchon, France's chef of the century, considered both brothers' dishes successes.

Bryan Voltaggio, 33, of Urbana, Md., won the elimination round -- his second elimination round win on the show. He is chef and partner of Volt Restaurant in downtown Frederick, Md.

For winning, Voltaggio will get to work with Robuchon at the chef's restaurant at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The episode, the fourth this season, featured French cooking challenges as the guest judge was Daniel Boulud.

Neither brother was highlighted, for good or bad dishes, during the quickfire competition. That challenge was to present a winning dish with snails as the main protein.

In an unusual move, the loser of the quickfire would leave the show. Usually, eliminations are reserved for the elimination round.

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The three chefs with the least favorite snail dishes were given a second chance, a 20-minute cook-off to present an amuse-bouche.

Jesse Sandlin of Baltimore lost the cookoff and had to "pack her knives."

For the elimination round, each chef drew a knife that had written on it either the name of a classic French sauce or classic French protein.

Then, the chefs were to pair up in teams so each team had a protein and sauce.

Bryan Voltaggio teamed with Michael Isabella to make warm cured trout with a deconstructed bearnaise. The pair decided not to go with a traditional bearnaise, but with an eggless deconstructed version of the sauce.

Voltaggio's younger brother, Michael Voltaggio, who grew up in Frederick County, but now works in California, was paired with Jennifer Carroll. They prepared rabbit chasseur with mustard noodle and shiso.

During judges' table, when the best dishes were discussed among the judges and chefs, it appeared Isabella did not give Bryan Voltaggio credit for his contributions to the idea for the sauce.

Through a translator, Robuchon said of the Voltaggio-Isabella dish, "I like it a lot."

Robuchon said, to him, making a successful dish was about taking something simple and making it exceptional. He said Voltaggio and Isabella put a lot of thought into the dish.

The chef sent packing after the elimination round was Hector Santiago.

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