Bryan Voltaggio ’99, Executive Chef/Restaurateur
Bryan Voltaggio is the chef/owner of VOLT, a three-star restaurant located in his hometown of Frederick, MD and Range, the 14,000 foot market-style restaurant and retail spot located in the newly renovated Chevy Chase Pavilion in Washington DC. Range opened in December 2012 with 300 seats and includes a charcuterie station, raw bar, rotisserie, bakery, wood fired hearth, candy counter, coffee bar, and 25 seat cocktail bar featuring homemade syrups, sodas, garnishes, and some liqueurs. In early 2012, Chef Voltaggio opened Family Meal in a former car dealership built in the 1960s in Ashburn, VA. The 3,500 square-foot restaurant seats 96 diners with counter seating for 30 and a large outdoor dining area.
In early 2014, Chef Voltaggio opened his Italian concept restaurant Aggio, which is situated within the Range space at the Chevy Chase Pavilion. In the same mall is his fast-casual lunch spot, Lunchbox. He has outposts of Family Meal in Frederick, MD and Aggio in Baltimore. He most recently opened the third Family Meal concept in Ashburn, VA and the fourth in Richmond, VA. “We’ve stuck with some of the same core menu items,” Voltaggio says. “It’s the same kind of fare, the diner reinvented. I really love Family Meal and think it could end up in any suburb around the DC metro area.”
Chef Voltaggio’s passion for cooking began during childhood, when meals often included produce harvested from the family garden. Deciding on a culinary career in his early teens, Bryan served as sous chef and executive chef at two regional hotel restaurants by the age of 20. He soon enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY for his formal training, during which time he also cooked at the highly acclaimed Hamilton Inn in Millerton, NY. Upon graduation in 1999, Chef Voltaggio staged at several restaurants in Manhattan before being introduced to Charlie Palmer ’79, who provided him with the professional opportunities and practical experiences that helped fast-track his career.
Working at Chef Palmer’s Aureole in New York City, Chef Voltaggio was soon rewarded for his dedication when his mentor named him the restaurant’s sous chef. Following a stint abroad to expand his cooking knowledge at Pic, the world-class, three-Michelin-star restaurant in Valence, France, Chef Voltaggio served as opening executive chef for Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, DC. In that position, he oversaw the construction and opening of the restaurant, which soon became a favorite among patrons and critics alike, earning three-star reviews from The Washington Post and Washingtonian.
Following nine successful years with Chef Palmer, including a partnership, Bryan Voltaggio opened VOLT, fulfilling his long-term professional goal of restaurant ownership. VOLT, which houses multiple concepts under one roof, received a James Beard Foundation nomination for Best New Restaurant in 2009 and earned a three-star review from The Washington Post. Chef Voltaggio’s own talents and accomplishments have not gone unnoticed; in 2010, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Mid-Atlantic Chef and earned Chef of the Year honors from the Restaurant Association of Maryland. In addition, he became a household name in 2009 when he competed alongside his brother Michael on season six of Bravo TV’s Top Chef.
In 2011, the brothers collaborated on a cookbook, Volt ink: Recipes, Stories, Brothers. Charlie Palmer wrote in the forward, “There are no better examples of kitchen craftsmen in our exciting culinary era than the Voltaggio brothers,” and celebrated chef José Andres calls the brothers “both amazing and talented cooks, among the best I know.” In 2015, Chef Voltaggio released Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends, which drew inspiration from the meals that he cooks for his wife and three young children, as well as dishes for holidays and dinner parties.
Most recently, Chef Voltaggio served as a consultant and developed the menu at Varnish Brewery in Lucketts, VA.
Chef Voltaggio is a strong supporter of Share Our Strength, the Washington, DC-based non-profit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in the United States, and is an active fundraiser in the group’s efforts to address this plight in in his home state of Maryland. He also generously gives of his time to local area school culinary programs. Chef Voltaggio has been honored by the State of Maryland for his community work and received the Key to the City of Frederick, MD in 2010.