'Top Chef: Las Vegas' update

November 12, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

As "Top Chef: Las Vegas" heads closer to the final elimination round, it's beginning to look like a Voltaggio brothers showdown.

On Wednesday night's episode, Michael Voltaggio, 30, chef de cuisine at The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Los Angeles, won the elimination round, tying him with his older brother, Bryan Voltaggio, 33, of Urbana, Md., who is chef and partner of Volt Restaurant in downtown Frederick, Md., for wins.

Both Michael and Bryan have won three elimination rounds, but the younger Voltaggio is the only one to have won a quickfire challenge.

Guest judge for this week's episode, titled "Strip Around the World," was Nigella Lawson, TV chef and cookbook author.

For the quickfire competition, cheftestants had to serve both Lawson and "Top Chef" judge Padma Lakshmi breakfast in bed to represent the room service at the hotels Las Vegas' Strip is known for.


Bryan Voltaggio served a 4-minute egg with vanilla beurre fondue, crab, asparagus spears and corn polenta. Michael served the ladies Huevos Cubana with banana puree, rice, bacon and arugula salad.

Neither won the quickfire challenge. And Bryan Voltaggio's dish landed him in the bottom because Lawson complained of the overwhelming vanilla scent.

"This would have been a complete star dish if the vanilla had not been there," Lawson said.

For the elimination round, chefs drew knives that contained the name of a famous Las Vegas casino. They were asked to create a dish inspired by the particular casino and serve it to 175 guests at the World Market Center.

Bryan Voltaggio drew Mandalay Bay, while Michael drew New York, New York.

Inspired by the shark reef at Mandalay Bay and the idea of sustainable fishing, Bryan Voltaggio whipped up escabeche of halibut with bouillabaisse consomme parsley coulis and garlic chips.

He was able to win back Lawson's palate with the dish calling it "quiet and elegant."

While Michael Voltaggio was inspired by the patriotic, firefighter element of New York, New York, he served a boneless chicken wing confit with curry and blue cheese disc.

Lawson said Michael Voltaggio had met the challenge perfectly, and awarded him the elimination round.

Robin Leventhal, a polarizing chef to both fellow contestants and fans, was asked to pack her knives with her lackluster panna cota dish.

As an added bonus to Bryan Voltaggio fans, the episode gave viewers a glimpse into his personal life as he talked about missing his nearly 2-year-old son and wife while competing in "Top Chef."

He even made a purchase at Mandalay Bay of a stuffed shark to take home to his son.

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

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