Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rising Stars: Michael Voltaggio

Michael Voltaggio pulled a last minute switcheroo on us at Rising Stars. The menu described "Langoustine and mushroom Lasagne with Porcini Cracker and Fennel Pollen". We're cooking with pollen now?

We couldn't complain about the replacement dish though, "Wagyu short rib, cream of dehydrated broccoli and cheddar tagliatelle"

The sous vide Wagyu was like heaven, so tender and flavorful. I told Michael that I hated broccoli, and he resplied, "Me too. That's why I invented this dish." The broccoli had an unusual texture with a bit of crunch, but absolutely no flavor. All that bitterness and ick were just gone ..poof. Like magic.

I first came across Michael Voltaggio in the open kitchens of Bazaar. His look was so striking I asked if I could take his picture, and to this day it is one of my favorite portraits.

Michael started out at Greenbriar Resort in West Virginia, and moved on to the Ritz Carlton in Naples, FLA. He worked closely with Chef Palmer while Dry Creek Kitchen was earning its Michelin Star. After his stint at the Bazaar, where I first met him, he went on to Top Chef fame. He is now the executive chef at The Dining Room at The Langham, which we will definitely be checking out soon.

Michael receiving his award

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