Chef Michael Voltaggio has been in the kitchen since he was 15 years old. By 21, he had completed his formal training at the venerable Greenbrier Culinary Apprenticeship Program. He was immediately hired to work at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, where he first immersed himself with what were considered unconventional techniques, under the tutelage of chef Arnaud Berthelier. He found that these techniques naturally melded with his classical repertoire, enabling him to cook adventurously with increased precision, eventually informing his signature style. Michael would go on to successfully helm the kitchens for a number of esteemed chefs and restaurants, including Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, where he earned a Michelin Star, and The Bazaar by José Andrés in Beverly Hills, where he was rewarded with a 4-star review.
Michael was a finalist for the James Beard “Best New Restaurant” award in 2009. That same year, he also earned the title of Top Chef on Bravo TV’s Emmy Award-winning show. He has established a reputation for what critics herald as “serious” food that is playful, visually stunning and flawlessly executed. He was also named “Best New Chef” byAngeleno magazine in 2010, cementing a place within the Los Angeles culinary community.
He recently opened his first signature restaurant in Los Angeles, called Ink . Alluding to the idea of permanence, Ink endeavors to create an indelible impression with flavor profiles that are inspired by the myriad of cultures that make up the city of Los Angeles. Thusly, he describes the food at Ink as “modern Los Angeles cuisine” and aspires to create an experience that will repurpose the term “fine dining” for Angelenos.
Just six weeks prior to opening Ink, Michael surprised everyone by opening a sandwich shop a few doors down, called ink.sack . The concept is driven by classic flavor profiles that are elevated by premium ingredients and refined techniques; the name references the black paper sack in which guests receive their orders, harkening back to school days and sack lunches. With sandwiches priced and sized to satisfy a palate craving options, ink.sack has quickly established itself as a lunch staple in Los Angeles.
Michael and his brother Bryan, noted chef and owner of VOLT restaurant in their hometown of Frederick, Md., currently have a series of projects together in partnership with Williams-Sonoma. They have been enlisted to help introduce professional culinary techniques and products to the home cook, by way of educational videos, recipe development and product evaluation. In October 2011, the brothers will also be launching their first joint cookbook, aptly titled VOLT ink. — named after their restaurants.