Chef Bryan Voltaggio ’99, Frederick’s Hometown Culinarian
CIA Alumni Bio
Chef Bryan Voltaggio is the chef/owner of VOLT, a three-star restaurant located in his hometown of Frederick, MD, which features seasonal entreés showcasing classic flavor combinations prepared with fresh, local ingredients. The restaurant, housed in a 19th century brownstone mansion, has been opened since 2008.
Chef Voltaggio recently opened Voltaggio Brother’s Steakhouse at MGM National Harbor Resort & Casino in Maryland with his brother, Chef Michael Voltaggio. In 2019, the brothers opened Estuary in the Conrad Hotels and Resorts in Washington, CD. In 2017, the duo also opened STRFSH, a made-to-order fish sandwich restaurant in Santa Monica, CA. In March 2019, the Voltaggio brothers announced a new partnership with K2 Restaurants to grow and expand the STRFSH concept.
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. Also in Ashburn is Chef Voltaggio Italian concept restaurant Aggio. His fast-casual lunch spot, Lunchbox, is in the Chevy Chase Pavilion in Washington, DC.
Connecting with a Mentor
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.
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.
Chef Bryan Voltaggio majored in culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park, NY. He is the executive chef and co-owner of Volt, Aggio, Family Meal, Lunchbox, Voltaggio Brother’s Steakhouse, Estuary, and STRFSH sandwich shops.