Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Battle of Brothers

Behold brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio, currently competing against one another on Top Chef: Las Vegas (otherwise known as Season 6). Not since Cain and Abel has the world witnessed filial drama of such magnitude.

Meet Bryan "Big Brother" Voltaggio (left), aged 33, owner of a three-star restaurant called VOLT and graduate from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. Bryan is into "local, sustainable, and organic" food and his favorite simple summer recipe is marinated grilled steak.

His brother Michael "Little Brother" Voltaggio (right), aged 30, apparently learned how to cook from a bunch of celebrity chefs (I wonder how he swung that? Nice work if you can get it!), trained mostly in Europe, and has already won a whole slew of prestigious cooking awards. His focus is on "modern technique, flavor, and presentation." Michael's favorite simple summer recipe is a soft poached egg with morel mushrooms (the fact of which alone ought to immediately place some of the readers of this blog firmly into his brother's camp).

In episode 4, all the contestants became extremely intimidated when the challenge was to cook a classic French dinner for Chef Joel Robuchon, who apparently is to fine cuisine as the Pope is to Catholicism. One of the contestants said he was amazed to see Chef Robuchon in person because he's so legendary, he's "like a unicorn."

And, indeed, as Guy pointed out, he really did resemble a supernatural creature, all squat and wise-looking like Yoda. He spoke exclusively in French thereby rendering his speech all the more magical. As you would expect, whenever he uttered an opinion, all the other chefs fell all over themselves agreeing with him, which was funny.

Look how intimidated Bryan looks:

Meanwhile, Michael looks cocky and arrogant, as usual:

Anyway, for this challenge, Bryan cooked trout with bearnaise sauce while Michael made a rabbit with sauce chasseur.

Bryan's withering look speaks volumes: "I'm totally going to beat you, Little Brother!"

And Michael looks back at him with disdain as if to say, "Oh, yeah? I'd love to see you try."

The supernatural judge enjoyed Bryan's dish, stating that he "took something simple and made it exceptional" except it sounded way better and more magical in French.

Ohhhhh, you can see the crushing embarrassment written all over Michael's face:

And Bryan can barely conceal his glee at Chef Robuchon's praise:

Meanwhile, Michael barely got his food plated in time, but the judges liked his dish as well, deeming it "mature." Still, the winner ends up being Bryan. His prize was to work in Chef Robuchon's kitchen for a week (which is the kind of "prize" that seems good only to an aspiring chef).
Look at Bryan gloating:

And Michael's look seems to say, "Damn you, Big Brother! I'll get you next time!"

I just hope if this situation turns violent, Coach Hoolio will intervene.


  1. This blog has suddenly gotten very silly! What happened to the biting political commentary I'm used to?
    p.s. I like the randomness of Robuchon's subtitles. :|

  2. I refer you to my bumpersticker: