Chef Michael Voltaggio Talks Inspired Kitchen Design, Luxury Entertaining And What He’s Cooking This Fall

Michael Voltaggio_Brizo_kitchen
Chef Michael Voltaggio in the kitchen with a faucet by Brizo

Photo Credit: Brizo

Chef Michael Voltaggio and luxury fixtures maker Brizo have partnered to push the boundaries of creative culinary innovations. They recently celebrated their partnership with an elegant evening of inspired design and culinary craftsmanship at a private beachside villa in Malibu.

While enjoying hand-selected wines and an array of bites by Michael Voltaggio, industry insiders and tastemakers admired both the menu and the hardware as the chef explained his ideal kitchen experience.

Fish taco
Fish taco with tuna sashimi and flowers

Photo Credit: Brizo

The Top Chef winner was tapped by the brand to help inform advancements in its kitchen collections, such as its selection of award-winning faucets. Voltaggio, who already has a reputation for taking a modern approach to cooking, impressed judges in the sixth season of Top Chef with that very same outside-the-box type of thinking that’s become his trademark.

Since his time on the hit show, he’s created a number of dining concepts (a few in partnership with his brother, Brian Voltaggio), including Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse in Maryland, Monger in Miami, and Ink and Ink.Well in Los Angeles

We picked Voltaggio’s brain following the fabulous Malibu soiree, where we witnessed his vision for inspired kitchen design firsthand. Here, he shares with Haute Living why kitchen design is so important, his thoughts on luxury entertaining, the fall dishes he loves cooking, and more. 

Michael Voltaggio caprese
Chef Michael Voltaggio plates the Caprese with tomatoes, basil and smoked mozzarella ice cream

Photo Credit: Brizo

Why are you so passionate about kitchen design?

Functionality and style are key. The way a kitchen is designed has a major impact on how a chef approaches the process. It’s a functional creative canvas that needs to inspire at the same time.

Chef Michael Voltaggio portrait
Chef Michael Voltaggio

Photo Credit: Brizo

Any musts or must-nots in terms of your ideal kitchen design?

For me, it’s about having flat, clean space and everything going where it should go. I believe that having creative cabinet and storage solutions for appliances, ingredients, service pieces, etc., is essential, so that you have plenty of space to actually work. For instance, having counter space on both sides of the stove, so you can put your raw product on one side and your cooked product on the other side. I look at my house kitchen like I look at restaurant kitchens — just a smaller version of it.

Michael Voltaggio x Brizo menu
The tasting menu for the Michael Voltaggio x Brizo special evening

Photo Credit: Brizo

What appealed to you about a collaboration with Brizo?

It’s authentic — I already had the brand in my home, so it was a natural collaboration. The fusion of high design with superior functionally and technology is displayed across the brand’s breadth of kitchen collections, and as a chef and restaurant owner, balancing functionality in execution with style and design on the plate is critical. Brizo understands that innovation in that functionality does not come at the cost of sacrificing style — and that’s how I like to approach cooking. I personally selected Brizo’s Solna Articulating Kitchen Faucet when I was remodeling my home kitchen for its innovative design and efficient functionality akin to an industrial faucet. … The faucet is the most important tool in the kitchen and is integral throughout the entire cooking process: you use it to clean the kitchen before you start cooking, you use it during prep to wash vegetables, and ultimately, you use it to clean up after a meal.

Coq Au Vin
Coq au Vin chicken thighs, red wine jelly dates and dijon

Photo Credit: Brizo

For those who like to entertain at home, can you share how you approach an elevated dining experience?

For me, seamless at-home entertaining is no different than showing up at someone’s house and cooking restaurant food in people’s homes. I have everything prepped ahead of time so that it is done in a way that doesn’t distract from the event, but rather becomes part of the entertainment. Cooking and entertaining are very creative processes, and I love to match the mood by curating unexpected menus with thoughtful wine pairings, and selecting the right music to round out the sensory experience.

Solna Single Handle Articulating Kitchen Faucet with SmartTouch® Technology - Stainless
Chef Michael Voltaggio was a fan of the Solna® Single Handle Articulating Kitchen Faucet with SmartTouch® Technology even before partnering with Brizo.

Photo Credit: Brizo

Any fine dining trend you’d like to start or call it quits on?

I would like to see the idea of trends in the food industry go away. I think food shouldn’t be a trendy thing. If it’s good for the industry it should stay — if it’s bad, it should leave.

As we head into fall, what dish are you craving to make?

My favorite thing about fall is the hot food and one-pot cooking — curry, soup, stews …

Malibu scene
The evening’s guests enjoyed the view in Malibu

Photo Credit: Brizo

Any Los Angeles restaurants that have been pleasantly surprising you lately?

The LA food scene in general has been pleasantly surprising. Every day, there are new restaurants opening. What LA needs is more local support to keep these restaurants growing, and more opening.

Can we expect any new projects or restaurants from you soon?

Yes, I am currently in the process of securing a location for what’s next.