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'Top Chef' turns up heat onto a battle of brothers

September 18, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

Bryan Voltaggio edged ahead of his brother during Wednesday night's elimination round of "Top Chef: Las Vegas."

Voltaggio has taken the lead in what has become a Voltaggio brother match-up.

Voltaggio, 33, of Urbana, Md., is chef and partner of Volt Restaurant in downtown Frederick. His brother Michael, also a Frederick County native, is chef de cuisine at The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Los Angeles.

The Voltaggio brothers were both singled out during the elimination round for their dishes. In the aptly named "Camping" episode, challengers had to cook outside in the desert at Sandy Valley Ranch over fire pits and prepare their food in a make-shift kitchen for two dozen cowboys. The chefs spent overnight in tepees before cooking at the ranch the following morning to make high-end cowboy fare.

Tim Love, chef of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in the Stockyards and the Love Shack burger joints in Fort Worth, Texas, was the guest judge. Love appeared on "Top Chef Masters" earlier in the season.

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With his dish, roasted pork loin, corn polenta with dandelion greens and glazed rutabaga, Bryan Voltaggio won the elimination round.

"I was a really impressed with how focused the dish was and you were. It was a real restaurant-quality dish," said Gail Simmons of Food and Wine magazine, a regular guest on the show.

This is the third elimination round won by Bryan Voltaggio. He jokingly said every time he wins, his brother, Michael, gets a little upset.

During the earlier quickfire challenge, chefs were asked to make a dish with cactus. This was the first time home viewers were asked to vote on which ingredient the chefs would use in a the challenge. Fifty-seven percent of the viewers chose cactus over snake and kangaroo.

Love singled out Michael Voltaggio as having one of the worst dishes in what was a high-stakes quickfire. "Cheftestant" Michael Isabella, whom Michael Voltaggio described as, along with himself and his brother, "the best chefs in this competition," won the quickfire challenge.

Mattin Noblia was eliminated from the show for an improperly prepared ceviche. In a rare "Top Chef" moment, judge Tom Colicchio actually spit out a piece of the dish because he said the cod was rare.

"Top Chef: Las Vegas" airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on Bravo.

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