Michael Voltaggio, the tattooed 34-year-old toque who won the sixth season of Bravo’s Top Chef before opening his well-regarded fine dining restaurant ink. in West Hollywood, has been named best new chef as part of an eagerly awaited annual package by Food & Wine magazine.
Its editors note that he was tapped for the honor “because his modernist cuisine pushes boundaries – he’ll serve octopus over buttered-popcorn puree – but it is still delicious.”
Voltaggio previously worked under molecular gastronomy maestro Jose Andres at the nearby Bazaar before running the former Dining Room at the Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena, which earned a Michelin star during his tenure. Ink. opened to critical acclaim in September 2011 with industry backing (Michael Ovitz is a partner) and a steady stream of star sightings (Elizabeth Olsen is a fan).
In recent years, other L.A. winners of the Food & Wine distinction have included Bryant Ng of Singaporean phenomenon the Spice Table, Peruvian-minded Ricardo Zarate (Mo-Chica, Picca) and Korean fusion dynamo Roy Choi (A-Frame, Chego, Kogi).