Top Chef Top 10: Michael Voltaggio

As Top Chef Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio prepares to open Ink (he spells it "ink.") in Los Angeles and publish his first cookbook, he shares 10 obsessions with F&W's Kate Krader and tells her baking fish in a salt crust is sexy.

Michael Voltaggio: vans

1. Sneakers

"I wear slip-on Vans a lot. I've been traveling so much recently, and they're my airport shoes. They're easy to get on and off when I go through security."


2. Tattoos

"I only have eight tattoos on my left arm. Jason at Tattoo Lounge in Venice, California, did four of them. He'll end up filling in my whole arm."


Michael Voltaggio: Banksy
© Chris Graythen/Getty

3. Street Art

"When I was looking at spaces for Ink, I got really into street art. But I don't map it out. That makes it more fun when I find something like a Banksy".


4. Salt-Crusted Snapper

"There's something sexy about baking a whole fish in a big pile of salt. And then cracking into the salt crust and having the fish be perfectly cooked and seasoned inside."


Michael Voltaggio: Sriracha
Courtesy of Huy Fong

5. Condiments

"I like Sriracha hot sauce, but only a dot of it. I'm not big on superspicy. I like mayonnaise, I like mustard, and pickles are definitely necessary for me when it comes to sandwiches."


Michael Voltaggio: pressure cooker

6. Pressure Cooker

"I'm obsessed. I'm cooking all my sauces in it, I'm cooking seeds and nuts, pretty much anything I can put in there. You get such clean flavor so fast."


Michael Voltaggio: Matisyahu
© Larry Marano/Getty

7. Rap & Reggae

"Matisyahu gave one of the better concerts I've seen in my life. He's the Hasidic rapper and reggae artist; his live show was unexpected and crazy."


8. Comfort Food

" We're cooking a lot of pig ears and feet. Ink's comforting cuts are short ribs and wings, not steak and chicken breast."


9. Regret

"I wish I'd learned to play an instrument. There's a piano in the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport, right near the food court. Random people sit down and play and fill the airport with music. I always wish I could just sit down at that piano and start playing."


Michael Voltaggio: sushi

10. Sushi

"I always start with sashimi. Then I ease into nigiri (fish with rice) based on the sashimi I liked best. My best sushi was at Urasawa in L.A."


Line

Published July 2011

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.