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April 16, 2014

'Top Chef' Winner Is Michael Voltaggio

by Michael D. Ayers, posted Dec 9th 2009 6:30PM
Top Chef Las VegasIn something of a 'Top Chef' upset, Michael Voltaggio won 'Top Chef: Las Vegas,' beating out his competitive brother, Bryan Voltaggio, and fan favorite Kevin Gillespie.

A few familial (and familiar) twists and turns greeted Bryan, Kevin and Michael on the finale of 'Top Chef: Las Vegas.' The competition kicked off without a Quickfire and instead jumped right into the elimination challenge. The finale brought back all the previous contestants for a random knife drawing, in which each finalist was assigned two chefs who would serve as his sous chefs (one for each day of competition). Kevin drew Preeti and Ash, Bryan drew Jennifer and Ashley, and Michael drew Jesse and Eli.Top Chef Las VegasIn something of a 'Top Chef' upset, Michael Voltaggio won 'Top Chef: Las Vegas,' beating out his competitive brother, Bryan Voltaggio, and fan favorite Kevin Gillespie.

A few familial (and familiar) twists and turns greeted Bryan, Kevin and Michael on the finale of 'Top Chef: Las Vegas.' The competition kicked off without a Quickfire and instead jumped right into the elimination challenge. The finale brought back all the previous contestants for a random knife drawing, in which each finalist was assigned two chefs who would serve as his sous chefs (one for each day of competition). Kevin drew Preeti and Ash, Bryan drew Jennifer and Ashley, and Michael drew Jesse and Eli.

For their final challenge, the three contestants were asked to construct a three-course meal for an esteemed table of noted restaurateurs, along with the judges. The first course would have to utilize ingredients from a "mystery box" comprising Dungeness crab, Pacific rockfish, Meyer lemon, Kabocha squash, matsutake mushrooms and anise hyssop; that would be followed by a chef's choice course, and then a mandatory dessert as the final course. As the chefs took to the kitchen, they were given three hours to prep for the next day with their sous chefs, and only Kevin seemed to suffer from Preeti's lackluster help.

Bryan, Kevin and Michael awoke the next morning and were greeted by a surprise: their mothers. After quickly playing catch-up, the chefs were told they'd be adding a fourth course -- one that was inspired by their mothers' own cooking during their childhoods.

All seemed to go fairly well in the kitchen, aside from Michael's overcooking his dessert. In the end, the judges -- who were joined by the finalists' mothers for the first course -- were impressed by certain aspects of each chef's meals. Kevin wowed them with his opening dish, a mom-inspired "chicken and fixings" that included a fried chicken skin atop a tomato and squash puree. In the second course, Michael dazzled with a poached rockfish and continued to impress the judges with his dessert, despite the fact that the cake portion was dry. Bryan's venison and dulce de leche cheesecake were universally praised, though his other dishes were called out for seeming bland.

While viewers weren't shown much shown in terms of deliberation, the judges seemed to take into account the body of work over the course of the season, in addition to what was presented in the final meal. In the end, Kevin's pork wasn't up to the level they were used to, and Bryan played it a bit on the safe side, leaving Michael -- the gambler throughout the Las Vegas season -- as the winner.

Check back here tomorrow for interviews with winner Michael Voltaggio as well as Bryan Voltaggio and Kevin Gillespie.

Watch the Winning Moment







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