Bryan Voltaggio
Meet Chef Bryan Voltaggio

Bryan Voltaggio's passion for cooking was fostered throughout his childhood in Frederick County, where meals often included produce from the family garden. Since then, his cooking has earned him many accolades, including being nominated for a James Beard Award and becoming a finalist on the sixth season of Bravo TV's Top Chef.

Voltaggio served as sous chef and executive chef at two regional hotel restaurants by the age of 20 and later attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, during which time he also cooked at the highly acclaimed Hamilton Inn in nearby Millerton. Upon graduation, he staged at several restaurants in Manhattan, including Chef Charlie Palmer's Aureole, where he worked his way up to become the restaurant's sous chef. He also assisted Palmer as executive chef at Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, DC.

Voltaggio opened his own restaurant VOLT in Frederick, MD, in 2008. His modern American cuisine is characterized by classic flavor combinations and innovative techniques. His menus are driven by fresh, seasonal offerings, and the chef is an advocate for meats, seafood and produce that are locally sourced, sustainable and organic.

Voltaggio has also collaborated with Flying Dog Brewery to create a signature Backyard Ale. In October 2011 he and his brother Michael released a cookbook, VOLT ink., showing readers how to bring out best flavors their own cooking. Voltaggio and his wife, Jennifer, live in Frederick with their son, Thatcher, and daughter, Piper.

A Conversation With Bryan Voltaggio

Q: Who or what inspired you to start cooking?

A: My passion for cooking as an important expression of creativity began at an early age. I remember family gatherings surrounding food: the impression my mother made in making sure we shared food at the dinner table, picking produce from the family garden. Cooking as an occupation started early too, when I was a busboy in a hotel. What the cooks were doing looked much cooler than clearing tables and running room service. So I begged for a shot.

Q: What did you learn working in your family's garden as a kid?

A: At young age, it makes a big impression to pull food straight from the garden. Whether you cook or not, you understand produce is best from the garden and you learn the difference in ripeness. Those things stay with you.

Read the full Q & A on our blog

Roasted Chestnut Soup Meat Loaf Balsamic-Marinated Hanger Steak Banana-Stuffed French Toast See all recipes
Bryan's Top Picks For The Kitchen

All-Clad Food Mill
Everybody should have a food mill at home. They are great for making tomato sauce or paste, other sauces and mashed potatoes.

Littledeer Cooking Utensil Set
Wood utensils feel good in the hand and make you feel at home in the kitchen. They are essential for risotto – nothing will react with the metal pan.

OXO Pop Containers
These are the only containers I have in my restaurant. They are easy to clean, and the vacuum seal keeps things fresh.

Chinois Strainer, Pestle & Stand
I have a dozen of these – everything in my kitchen is strained twice. They create a fine, silky finish, and they are great for straining flavored oils, soups, sauces or anything you puree.

The Smoking Gun
Incorporating smoke into a finished dish has never been easier. You can cold smoke seafood or shellfish, or even smoke oils and vegetables. We smoke ice cubes to be used in bourbon cocktails.

OXO Stainless-Steel Salad Spinner
If you shop correctly, from the farmers' market, your produce should be dirty. I clean things ahead of time, dry them, then put them in the fridge and they're ready to use.