Michael Voltaggio is an American chef residing in Los Angeles, California. Voltaggio was the winner of the sixth season of Top Chef, Bravo's cooking competition reality show, where he competed with his brother, Bryan Voltaggio. 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.”
Voltaggio did not have the money to attend culinary school. Instead, he did a long apprenticeship in The Greenbrier's prestigious culinary apprenticeship program. Michael completed his Greenbrier apprenticeship under Certified Master Chef Peter Timmins at the age of 21. He later held jobs at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Naples, Florida under chef Peter Timmins and Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg. 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.
Voltaggio was the Chef de Cuisine at The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, 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, CA, in a space owned by former Hollywood superagent Michael Ovitz. After several delays, the highly successful ink. opened on September 21, 2011. Voltaggio's goal with the restaurant was to create what he called "modern Los Angeles cuisine." The restaurant seats 60 in the dining room with a private room that can accommodate an additional 10 guests. It was named America's best new restaurant by GQ Magazine in March 2012.
While publicly developing and readying ink. for its highly anticipated debut, Voltaggio was quietly planning a smaller restaurant around the corner, a sandwich shop called ink.sack. Voltaggio designed and built the shop himself and surprised the culinary world when he opened the small restaurant with little notice or fanfare on August 11, 2011.
Voltaggio appeared in September, 2010 on the finale of season seven of Top Chef and as a guest judge in Season 3 of Top Chef Canada.
Voltaggio has two daughters, Olivia and Sophia. His daughters live in Lewisburg, West Virginia with their mother, Kerri Adams, from whom Voltaggio is divorced.
In the TV series Arrow he was mentioned in the first-season episode "Betrayal", although not by name, as putting in an application as a chef at Oliver Queen's new nightclub: "This guy looks pretty good; he won Top Chef season six."
Michael's sous chef, Mei Lin, won Top Chef Season 12.