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Pasadena Mag Profiles Local 'Top Chef' Michael Voltaggio

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The November issue of Pasadena Magazine has a cover star who, until recently, was more of a behind the scenes kind of guy, despite the often cocky swagger and 'tude. It's Chef Michael Voltaggio, who took over Chef de Cuisine duties this summer for The Dining Room, the swanky old-school restaurant at the Langham that's been turned upside down by Voltaggio's cheeky and innovative style of cuisine. LAist was lucky enough to be invited to sample Voltaggio's fare just days before the current season of Top Chef debuted on Bravo; on the show you'll see Voltaggio battling it out for honors with none other than his big brother Bryan.

Pasadena Magazine notes that the younger Voltaggio was "overqualified for the show," likening his place among the contenders to another local legend in his field, noting the 31-year-old Chef with the culinary-themed tattoos "must have seemed like Kobe trying out for a high school basketball team." Remarking, much like we did, the article points out that there's an absurdity to the clash between the stodgy nature of The Dining Room's decor and Voltaggio's food and personality:

a dusty dining room with boats on the wall. Boast. In landlocked Pasadena. The Dining Room feels like Grandma's house. It has an air of mothballs. And it certainly doesn't match Voltaggio's sultry, intellectual and playful modern cuisine.

Luckily, the Dining Room is about to undergo a massive interior renovation, and perhaps the atmosphere will align with what's on the plate, when "the food is so sexy because you have to play with it [...] a little foreplay on the fork."

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Will a Voltaggio take the title of Top Chef? All lips are sealed. But a new episode hits Bravo tonight.