Voltaggios win Restaurant Wars challenge on 'Top Chef'

October 22, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

Not only did the Voltaggio brothers manage to win the Restaurant Wars challenge on "Top Chef: Las Vegas" Wednesday night, but judge Tom Colicchio called the team win "the best restaurant in six years" of doing restaurant wars.

The Frederick-brother team of Bryan Voltaggio, 33, of Urbana, Md., who is chef and partner of Volt Restaurant in downtown Frederick, Md., and Michaeal Voltaggio, who is chef de cuisine at The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Los Angeles, called their restaurant Revolt.

And because only one chef can be winner, Michael Voltaggio was chosen by the judges for his execution of his dishes.

Although judge Padma Lakshmi was put off by the restaurant's name, saying she associated the word with finding their food revolting, the Revolt team, which also included Eli Kirshtein and Robin Leventhal, pulled out the win.


In Restaurant Wars, each team had to plan a menu, run the kitchen and have one person oversee the front of house. The Revolt team challenged the Mission restaurant, which included the other four remaining chefs -- Jennifer Carroll, Kevin Gillespie, Michael Isabella and Laurine Wickett.

Teams were chosen after the quickfire round in which each team had to prepare a dish as a team in 40 minutes, with each chef working for 10 minutes. The chefs weren't allowed to talk to one another and the other chefs were blindfolded. Lead by Carroll, the Mission team won the quickfire round with the chance of $10,000 or let it ride for the elimination round.

Unlike Restaurant Wars episodes in the past, the teams were not responsible for decor, allowing them to focus on the dishes. And because the guest judge was Rick Moonen, owner of RM Seafood and known for using sustainable foods, all seafood had to be considered sustainable.

Both Bryan and Michael prepared most of the dishes on the menu for their restaurant, which they described as being modern American cooking.

Bryan's dishes were a duo of beef with braised short ribs and prime rib beef, which many guests thought tasted great but was served cold. He also took on the dessert round, which in past Restaurant Wars has historically meant death for chefs. For dessert, Bryan prepared ganache with spearmint ice cream and chocolate tuiles.

Mooren called the dessert "beautiful and silky."

Michael served pressed chicken with calamari noodles, tomato confit and fennel salad, which Colicchio described as being "lovely." His second dish was cod with parsley sauce, billi-bi croquette and zucchini tenderloin, which judges described as being "melt in your mouth."

The Mission team was declared the loser and Wickett was asked to pack her knives and leave.

In Wednesday night's episode, the excitement wasn't always about the dishes. The Voltaggio brothers have shown that they don't always play nice with each other in the kitchen. During the menu portion, Michael and Bryan disagreed about some of the items.

Bryan called his brother "cocky."

Later, Michael Voltaggio and Leventhal had a spat in the kitchen when he tried to help her with her dish.

And after the elimination win, Michael was awarded a $10,000 chip the first team decided to gamble. He said he would split the money with his team. Bryan, however, told him later to keep his portion.

"He deserved to win," Bryan said about Michael, "but he's a control freak and I'm tried of his unprofessional behavior being rewarded."

In on Top Chef poll, viewers were asked which Voltaggio brother was the better chef, Bryan or Michael. Bryan won with 64 percent, while 36 said Michael was the better chef.

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

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