Chef Bryan Voltaggio

Chef Bryan Voltaggio

He's the man who put Frederick, Md., on the culinary map. We talk with Bryan Voltaggio about his cooking career, local ties and the importance of family.

Chef Bryan Voltaggio first came to fame on Bravo's "Top Chef" series, where he and brother Michael faced off. But he was making a splash on the local restaurant scene well before his TV debut. We'll talk with him about his local culinary roots, his upcoming D.C. restaurant opening and what holiday meals are like in the Voltaggio family.

Guests

Bryan Voltaggio

chef and co-owner at VOLT, Family Meal, Lunchbox and RANGE; co-author of "VOLT ink.: Recipes, Stories, Brothers"

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Bryan Voltaggio's Restaurant Empire

Local restaurateur Bryan Voltaggio's first eatery, Volt, showcases classic flavors and fresh, local and organic ingredients. Situated in historic Frederick, Md., Volt is formal but playful -- the waiters wear Chuck Taylors with their suits. Diners enjoy a prix fixe four-, seven- or 21-course tasting menu of courses such as chicken mulberry with new potatoes, kale and carrot and ravioli stuffied with oyster mushrooms, ash and celery root.

Five blocks from Voltaggio's special occasion restaurant, casual Lunchbox offers up gourmet sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts. It's next door to the Frederick County Library, making it a convenient spot for picnic supplies and family lunches.

Also in downtown Frederick County, Family Meal is housed in a former 1960s Nissan dealership. Comfort food classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner are the theme here, ranging from house-made ice cream to buttermilk-fried chicken.

Voltaggio's debut Washington, D.C., restaurant, RANGE, celebrates the Mid-Atlantic's culinary heritage. The restaurant is set to open December 2012 in the Friendship Heights neighborhood.

Video: Inside The Studio

"Top Chef" finalist and local restaurateur Bryan Voltaggio described what it was like to get a phone call from the State Department's protocol office, inviting him to serve as a culinary ambassador. "I was scared for a moment," Voltaggio said. "I got nervous for a minute." Voltaggio prepared a three-course meal for Japan's prime minister and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the National Geographic Museum. He shares the honor with several local chefs, including Jose Andres and Mike Isabella.

Related Videos

Maryland Public Television's new food series, "Obsessed with Everything Food," features Bryan Voltaggio preparing food using liquid nitrogen, eating traditional Maryland foodstuffs and pillaging a farm.

The "Top Chef" finalist demonstrates the recipe and techniques he uses to make his signature white chocolate dulce de leche cheesecake, which he made for the television show's finale.

Voltaggio reflects on his experience as a contestant on Bravo TV's "Top Chef."

Brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio test the pop rocks and soda myth.

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The Kojo Nnamdi Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.