'Top Chef: Las Vegas' update

November 19, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

"Top Chef: Las Vegas" has pared down from its original 17 "chef-testants" to just four -- two of whom are named Voltaggio.

Frederick, Md., natives and brothers Bryan Voltaggio, 33, and Michael Voltaggio, 30, have a greater chance at being the last two fighting for the Top Chef title, despite neither winning the quickfire or the elimination challenges in this week's episode.

Bryan Voltaggio of Urbana, Md., is chef and partner of Volt Restaurant in downtown Frederick, Md. Michael Voltaggio, 30, is chef de cuisine at The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Los Angeles

Wednesday night's episode found the chefs in their final competition in Las Vegas. In the quickfire challenge, the chefs had to come up with their own version of Gavin Kaysen's winning dish in the Bocuse d'Or competition.


The Bocuse d'Or was characterized by the chefs as the culinary world's version of the Olympics. It's an international cooking competition during which chefs prepare one fish dish, one meat dish and an elaborate garnish, all served on a mirror-topped platter. The chefs must then plate each dish for the judges.

Kaysen, a rising star who represented the United States, won with a dish that put a protein inside a second protein, and that arrangement inside a third protein. The "Top Chef" chef-testants were asked to do the same.

Bryan Voltaggio said he was comfortable going into the competition. He served up a rack of lamb and merguez sausage wrapped in caul fat.

Michael Voltaggio served up poultry terrine chicken with turkey and bacon mousseline.

But it was Jennifer Carroll's seafood version that won her the quickfire as well as 30 extra minutes to cook in the elimination round.

For the elimination round, the chefs had to compete in a mini-version of the traditional Bocuse d'Or. They had to choose one protein -- either lamb or salmon -- and two garnishes. They were judged on taste, creativity and execution.

And they had to serve their dishes among 12 of the most respected chefs in the world, including the founder of the Bocuse d'Or, Paul Bocuse.

"They are true technicians of food, so it's going to be pretty hard for them not to find something wrong," Bryan said.

Bryan Voltaggio served a crusted lamb loin with lamb shank crepinette and orzo au gratin. Michael served salmon with cauliflower chickpea tart and zucchini tzatziki.

Bryan won praise for his platter, but the judges felt the lamb wasn't cooked properly.

"If he would have been given more time, it would have been a different dish," Bouce said.

The judges said Michael Voltaggio's dish lacked harmony. And he was criticized for saying he had a Mediterranean theme when he used caviar in his dish.

Kevin Gillespie, about whom Michael had said, "(He) makes the food I cook on my day off," won for his simple approach to the competition. Gillespie won $30,000, plus a chance to train for the 2011 Bocuse d'Or.

It was Eli Kirshtein who was asked to pack his knives and go and gave a tearful good-bye.

Next week's "Top Chef" is a rerun.

The finale will run in two parts, the first airing at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, on Bravo.

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