Counter Intelligence

A Top Chef on the Farm

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on September 16, 2009

Top Chef contestant Bryan Voltaggio of Volt at Whitmore FarmDespite the rain in the District, last night’s Volt dinner at Whitmore Farm in Emmitsburg, Maryland could not have been more lovely. Storm clouds bypassed the goings-on outside the stunning, refurbished home from the 1700’s, where owner and farmer Will Morrow hosted a nine courses dinner for nearly 40 people prepared by Top Chef contestant, Bryan Voltaggio and his staff.

Bryan showcased a parade of canapes– including the avocado meringue that earned him a win earlier this season, though my favorite first bite was between a tempura sweetbread garnished with rice wine vinegar infused raisins, or the thinly sliced lamb heart served atop farro.

Morrow gave the green light for Voltaggio to set up as close to a professional kitchen as I’ve ever seen, in a workspace adjacent to the barn, with enough table space for two rows of 20 plates, industrial ovens, and a separate area for  dishwashing.  Framing the line were fun farm reminders, like the half dozen pairs of wellies hanging from the ceiling, stacks of hay in a corner, and a row of yellow slickers on hooks. Voltaggio tweeted the event, here.

Just as Volt offers a front row seat to the kitchen for anyone curious or hungry enough for 21 courses at the table named for the number, the chef was welcoming as diners wandered down from the barn to peek in at the quiet intensity in the kitchen. A parade of canapes

And as for his newfound Top Chef stardom? Voltaggio says it “seems like it was a year ago.” Like us, he’s watching Wednesdays, since it’s his first time seeing the show as well. “It’s cool seeing what was going on with other contestants, things that I had missed,” he says. He also likes seeing producers’ edits and choices for “the most important aspects” of an event.  “So much was going on,” he says. “It’s interesting what they choose to show.”

Should you visit Volt in Frederick, Maryland, it’s unlikely you’ll see his new trout and char tattoo, since he usually wears whites that cover his forearm. Working outside, the line showed off their ink. What’s the story behind his? From what I gleaned, Bryan got it in LA with his brother. “I kind of had to,” he admitted in the barn after dinner.

Might someone have lost a brotherly bet? Tonight’s show will keep us guessing.

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One Response

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  1. Angla Franceschi said, on May 31, 2011 at 6:52 am

    @John, I am with you really good article.


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