Michael Voltaggio
Born (1978-09-29) September 29, 1978 (age 43)
EducationThe Greenbrier Hotel Culinary Apprenticeship Program
Culinary career
Cooking styleModern American
Current restaurant(s)
  • * Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse, National Harbor, MD (2016-present)
    * STRFSH, Santa Monica, CA (2017–present),
    * Thacher & Rye, Frederick, MD (2020–present)
Previous restaurant(s)
  • *ink., West Hollywood (2011–2017),[1]
    *ink.sack, West Hollywood (2011–2018),
    *ink.well, Los Angeles (2017–2018)[2][3]
    * Estuary, Washington D.C. (2019–2022)

Michael Voltaggio (born September 29, 1978) is an American celebrity chef, restaurateur, and author. He is a Top Chef television series alum and the winner of season 6. His brother Bryan Voltaggio is also a celebrity chef. He resides in Los Angeles, California.

Early life and early career

The Voltaggio family were three children, born to parents Sharon and John Voltaggio.[4] At age 7, his parents divorced and the children initially lived with their mother, and later moved to their father's house.[5] Starting in childhood, brothers Michael and Bryan were very close.[5]

Voltaggio did not have support or money to attend culinary school.[5] Instead, he did a long apprenticeship in The Greenbrier's prestigious culinary apprenticeship program.[6] Michael completed his Greenbrier apprenticeship under Certified Master Chef Peter Timmins at the age of 21.[7] He later held jobs at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Naples, Florida under chef Peter Timmins[8] and Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg.[9] During his tenure as Chef de Cuisine at The Bazaar by Jose Andres, the restaurant was nominated for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant in 2008.[10]

Voltaggio was the Chef de Cuisine at The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena,[11] which received several culinary awards, including the AAA Five Diamond Award, the Mobil Five-Star Award, and a Michelin Star, one of the few held by restaurants in the US.


Voltaggio left The Dining Room in 2010 and announced plans to open his own restaurant in West Hollywood, California, in a space owned by former Hollywood super agent Michael Ovitz.[12] After several delays, the restaurant ink. opened on September 21, 2011.[13] Voltaggio's goal with the restaurant was to create what he called "modern Los Angeles cuisine."[14] The restaurant seated 60 people in the dining room with a private room that could accommodate an additional 10 guests.[15] It was named "America's best new restaurant" by GQ Magazine in March 2012.[16]

Voltaggio was quietly planning a smaller restaurant around the corner, a sandwich shop called ink.sack, while publicly developing and readying ink.[17] Voltaggio designed and built the shop himself [18] and surprised the culinary world when he opened the small restaurant with little notice or fanfare.[19] From August 11, 2011 until 2018, he owned and ran the ink.sack, a sandwich shop which had two locations, including one on Melrose Avenue (in West Hollywood) and one on Sunset Boulevard.[19][20]

In October 2017, Michael, along with brother Bryan, opened STRFSH, a fast-casual fish sandwich shop in Santa Monica.[21] The Voltaggio brother opened Estuary in Washington D.C., which operated under their leadership from 2019 until March 2022.[22]

Television appearances

Voltaggio was the winner of the sixth season of Top Chef, Bravo's cooking competition reality show,[23] where he competed with his brother, Bryan Voltaggio.[24] The two ended in the finale, alongside Kevin Gillespie, with Michael winning the contest. Top Chef Head Judge Tom Colicchio said of Voltaggio, “Out of all the cooks that have come through the show, Michael is the most talented—both from a sensibility and technical standpoint. He has the chops to pull off what he’s trying to do.”[25]

Michael's sous-chef, Mei Lin, won Top Chef, season 12.[24]

Voltaggio appeared in September 2010 on the finale of season six of Top Chef and as a guest judge in Season 3 of Top Chef Canada.[26]

Voltaggio appeared twice on the American sitcom Young & Hungry as himself, in the 2014 pilot episode and in the episode "Young & Amnesia".

He also made a cameo as chef Julio Proust on the sitcom “Suburgatory” in 2013.

He competed against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America in Battle Iberico.

He has judged and competed on Guy's Grocery Games from time to time.

He has appeared on Tournament of Champions (Food Network), as has Bryan Voltaggio.[27]

He has appeared as himself in a season 5 story arc in Lucifer (TV series) (Netflix).

On March 14, 2022, a new show started airing on the Food Network called The Julia Child Challenge, on which he's a judge along with Antonia Lofaso.[28]

Personal life

Voltaggio has two daughters, Olivia and Sophia, with ex-wife Kerri Adams. The children reside in West Virginia with their mother.[29]

From mid-2019 to mid-2021, Voltaggio was in a relationship with fashion designer and entrepreneur, Sami Miro.[30] He is currently in a relationship with actress Bria Vinaite.[31]



  1. ^ "Chef Michael Voltaggio is closing Ink, opening a new restaurant". Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-27. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  2. ^ Elliott, Farley (2018-04-12). "Top Chef Michael Voltaggio closes Ink.Well after just eight months". Eater LA. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  3. ^ Kang, Matthew (2017-08-11). "Inside ink.well, Michael Voltaggio's new West Hollywood restaurant". Eater LA. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  4. ^ "Bryan Voltaggio: From a teenager 'amok' to 'Top Chef Masters'". Washington Post. July 23, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Bryan Voltaggio: From a teenager 'amok' to 'Top Chef Masters'". Washington Post. July 23, 2013.
  6. ^ "Consuming Passion With Dinner". LA Times Magazine. September 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  7. ^ "Chef Michael Voltaggio - Biography". Star Chefs. March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  8. ^ "People - Michael Voltaggio". Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  9. ^ "About Michael". Archived from the original on 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  10. ^ "2009 JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION AWARDS RESTAURANT AND CHEF SEMIFINALISTS UNVEILED" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-01-05. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  11. ^ "Best Hotel Restaurant in Pasadena - The Dining Room at The Langham Huntington Pasadena, Los Angeles". Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  12. ^ "Michael Voltaggio Announces New Restaurant". Los Angeles Times. 2010-11-18.
  13. ^ "First Taste". Eater LA. 2011-09-22.
  14. ^ "KevinEats Review of ink". Kevin Eats. 2011-09-22.
  15. ^ "Michael Voltaggio Opens ink. on Wed, Here's A Looksee". Eater LA. 2011-09-19.
  16. ^ "THE TEN BEST NEW RESTAURANTS IN AMERICA". GQ Magazine. March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  17. ^ "After Ink., Michael Voltaggio to Open a "Sandwich Place"". Eater LA. April 6, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  18. ^ "A Top Chef's Next Act". The Daily Beast. August 9, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  19. ^ a b "Michael Voltaggio To Open Sandwich Spot This Week?!?!". Eater LA. August 9, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  20. ^ Elliott, Farley (2018-03-21). "Michael Voltaggio's Sack Sandwiches shutters indefinitely along Melrose". Eater LA. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  21. ^ Kang, Matthew (2017-10-31). "Michael and Bryan Voltaggio's STRFSH grills fish sandwiches in Santa Monica starting today". Eater LA. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  22. ^ Plumb, Tierney (2022-03-22). "Estuary Returns With New Mid-Atlantic Delicacies — and No More Voltaggio Brothers". Eater DC. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  23. ^ "Top Chef - Bios - Michael Voltaggio | Bravo TV Official Site". Bravotv.com. Archived from the original on 2010-08-19. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  24. ^ a b "'Top Chef' Winners: Where Are They Now?". Us Weekly. 2021-07-02. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  25. ^ "Cook Illustrated". Los Angeles Magazine. March 1, 2011. Archived from the original on May 9, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  26. ^ "Meet the five Toronto contestants on Top Chef Canada season three". Archived from the original on 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
  27. ^ Rosario, Alexandra Del (2022-01-18). "Guy Fieri's 'Tournament Of Champions' Renewed For Season 3 At Food Network". Deadline. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  28. ^ Fabricant, Florence (2022-03-07). "A Cooking Competition for Julia Child Disciples". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  29. ^ "Michael Voltaggio's Life Has Changed a Lot Since He Won 'Top Chef' Season 6". Distractify. 2020-03-18. Retrieved 2022-02-07.
  30. ^ "Michael Voltaggio's Life Has Changed a Lot Since He Won 'Top Chef' Season 6". Distractify. 2020-03-18. Retrieved 2022-02-07.
  31. ^ "Michael Voltaggio - Net Worth, Girlfriend (Bria Vinaite), Biography". Famous People Today. 2021-09-20. Retrieved 2022-02-07.