Friday December 11, 2009
From InsideTV.AOL.com: In a stunning 'Top Chef' upset,
Los Angeles-based chef Michael Voltaggio came up big in the season 6
finale of Bravo's highly-rated reality competition series. Known throughout the season as the gambler, Michael often made risky
decisions with his culinary visions. But in the end, the gambling paid
off, as he edged out his brother, Bryan, and Atlanta native, Kevin
Gillespie. Michael took home the grand prize of $125,000 -- and surely enough work to keep him busy over the next several years.
Michael spoke with reporters earlier this afternoon about what motivated him to appear on 'Top Chef,' the meanings behind his tattoos and the on-set mix ups between him and his brother.
On the idea to do 'Top Chef' with his brother Bryan:
I think it was more my idea. Marcel from season 2 was my Sous Chef, and Hung, who won season 3, was one of my cooks somewhere else. And the three of us were hanging out together and I was making fun of them for [being on] 'Top Chef.' And they were like, "Why don't you go do it?" I was like, "No, no," but then [I] thought maybe I should do it. Then the James Beard awards came out and Bryan and I had both been nominated for "Best New Restaurant." I called him and said maybe we should do this thing together.
On saying he cooks the food that Kevin cooks on his day off:
Here's the deal about that quote -- and a lot of stuff seen on that show. We only judge each others food by the way it looks. And that's where that comment came from. I put everything into a dish every single time -- the look of it, the taste of it. So naturally, I think I did more work than he did. So, that's where that comes from. That being said, Kevin's food is some of the tastiest I've ever had. His potato salad that he made on the Air Force episode is literally the best potato salad I've ever eaten in my life. So, he's a great cook. I think everyone got a part of what I said and didn't get the tail end of my answer.
On being the gambler of 'Las Veags':
The way I decided to do it, I thought it was going to be easy. I have to be honest with you: I've watched past seasons and I think everyone did a good job and the people that won were great. But you could pick them out at the very beginning. So I thought for me, it was going to be the same case. But then I realized there were five, six, seven people here that were very talented. I thought I'm going to have to do something more to stand out from the pack.
On having Mom eat the first course in the final elimination:
I think I was more worried about her than me at that point. She had to sit there and experience what actually happens on the show: critiques. And as a mom, I'm sure it's hard to sit there and listen to other people talk bad about your children. I'm sitting there hoping that Mom doesn't jump across the table at someone who says the wrong thing.
On the final moment when Padma announced his name:
I was actually really confused, because Padma mixed our names up the whole season. There were a lot of times where Padma would say "we have to re-shoot that." So when she said it, I was like, "Oh, crap, is this one of those moments where Padma mixed us up?" Because I really thought Bryan had won. Turns out, she was looking at me and saying my name at the same time ... I was overwhelmed and shocked. Honestly shocked.
On his tattoos:
Tattoos all tell a story about your life and who you are as a person. I think some people might get one just to get one. I've done that myself. At the end of the day, you should tell a story with the art that's on your body. I don't have pieces of meat or anything like that on my body. I have a knife and fork on one of my hands which I use to plate food with. It reminds me that people are about to eat this. So many chefs out there just throw food on the plate and don't realize that they're cooking it for someone to eat. And that's what the knife and fork is all about.
On staying where he's at:
I need to have a job; I'm not independently wealthy yet. Right now, our first focus will be maybe a book together. We just launched a website called Voltaggiobrothers.com, and we'll build and brand our work together.