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Voltaggio brothers stay alive in 'Top Chef' competition

October 29, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

As the eliminations continue on "Top Chef: Las Vegas," the Voltaggio brothers still remain in the competition.

On Wednesday night's episode, neither Bryan Voltaggio, 33, of Urbana, Md., who is chef and partner of Volt Restaurant in downtown Frederick, Md., nor his brother, Michael Voltaggio, chef de cuisine at The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Los Angeles, managed to win a quickfire or the elimination round this week.

After coming off last week's episode in which the Voltaggio brothers teamed up in the Restaurant Wars challenge during which they were applauded for their food and service, they couldn't continue the momentum.

During the quickfire elimination round, chefs were asked to prepare a gourmet TV dinner based on a popular TV show. Michael drew "Cheers," while Bryan drew "M*A*S*H."

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Michael prepared chicken Parmesan with braised Swiss chard and cherry pie.

With chef Paul Bartolotta, a multiple James Beard Award winner and notable Italian chef, as guest judge, Bryan managed to be named as one of the top three dishes for the quickfire round.

Bryan served meatloaf, mashed potatoes, asparagus and apple tarte tatin, he felt were similar foods that would have been served during the Korean War, which is the time period of "M*A*S*H."

Host and judge Padma Lakshmi simply said, "Yumm."

But it would be chef Kevin Gillespie who took home the quickfire win with his Italian meatball dish inspired by "The Sopranos."

For the elimination round, the chefs were told they would be cooking in the kitchen of chef and judge Tom Colicchio's Las Vegas' restaurant, Craftsteak, located in the MGM Grande.

Obviously, all the chefs thought they'd be cooking steak, but in "Top Chef" style, the chefs were thrown for a loop when the evening's guest was actress Natalie Portman. The twist? She's a vegetarian.

"I think it's going to change the dynamic for everybody," Bryan said before the chefs started cooking.

For the elimination round, Bryan prepared artichoke, barigoule confit of shallot, wild asparagus and fennel puree.

Michael prepared asparagus salad, Japanese tomato sashimi and banana polenta.

"I think Michael is Picasso," said one of Portman's guests.

Michael's dish elevated him to one of three favorite dishes for the elimination round.

Portman said she found his humor in the dish. "I was like, 'Who is his dealer and does he want new clients?'" she joked.

The night, however, would belong to Gillespie as he took home another win.

The three worst dishes belonged to chefs Robin Leventhal, Michael Isabella and Jennifer Carroll.

The judges didn't like any of the dishes and felt Leventhal's dish lacked focus. But it was Isabella's "whatever, whatever" answer and his arrogance that sent the Washington, D.C. chef home. A surprise to "Top Chef" fans who thought Leventhal had stayed in the kitchen past her time.

Next week, the show will be preempted for "Top Chef Reunion Dinner Special," which will air in the show's regular spot.

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

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