Friday, November 20, 2009

Dish in the District: The Local Chefs Come Out to Play (Chef Voltaggio!)

So as it turned out, I took a break from work to go to the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show.  Imagine, a convention center filled with booths of food... all different types of samples... sausages, Indian food, sangria slushies, horseradish cheese, bbq...lots of bbq, hot sauce, salsa (very popular was the crab salsa), bite sized cookies, decorative cakes, and the list goes on.  It was quite fun to eat our way through the Show.

But the highlight this year was seeing BRYAN VOLTAGGIO - Maryland's own Top Chef contestant, owner and head chef of Volt in Frederick, MD.  Chef B.V. was featured at the Bloom Cooking stage -- the Bloom stage featured a number of favorite local chefs, including Top Chef/Zaytinya Chef Mike Isabella, Chef Cathal Armstrong from Restaurant Eve, Chef Barton Seaver from Blue Ridge, Chef Robert Wiedmaier from Marcel's and Brasserie Beck, and  Chef David Deshaies from Michel Richard Citronelle.  Other Top Chef alum, Chef Richard Blais, also cooked up a storm at the Bloom stage.  Knowing that I only had a few hours to spare from work, we structured our visit to the Show around Chef Bryan's feature.

I can't help it, I just love him.  Every Wednesday (or perhaps Thursday or Friday... whenever I get to the DVR'ed show) I cheer him on -- not just because he's my home state favorite (being from Maryland and all), but because I think he is simply a fantastic chef.

We hurried over to the Bloom stage at the tail end of Chef Wiedmaier's presentation to grab seats for Chef Bryan's show.  And a good thing we did!  The seating area quickly filled up and then soon it was standing room only (so smart people brought in chairs from other places around the convention center).  A few minutes before the show began, Chef Bryan came out and you could see everyone testing their cameras, taking test shots, to use flashes or not (I wonder what he thought of all this hubbub)...

For the next 45 minutes, we enjoyed learning all about making desserts - in particular his flexible chocolate ganache that he had made during Top Chef.  He made it look so simple, giving us little hints along the way.  He also made milk chocolate ice cream using liquid nitrogen -- which he kindly warned us not to try at home and to be very careful with -- and a KitchenAid mixer (see first pic).  And then these caramel tuilles (which he times with his phone with the dog bark alarm).  And yum.  We snagged a sample of the dessert - chocolatey deliciousness (check out the recipes below!)

Along the way, we learned a few things about him (very few questions were asked til the very end...): (1) He has his own tattoos (! on his arms), (2) He got into cooking when he was a teenager because (a) he thought it would be a good way to meet girls and (b) he had been a busboy at the restaurant he worked at and had thought that cooking seemed like more fun, (3) He moved back to Frederick to open Volt just as his family was all moving away, but his wife's family still lives there, and (4) He couldn't say which of the DC restaurants were his faves because too many of his friends were chefs in DC.

We snuck out before the crowd got too rowdy so missed the final questions, but it was fun to see him in his element and cooking up a storm.  Volt is high on our list of places to try now (perhaps as a birthday celebration?) so hopefully will be reporting on that soon as well.

Chef Voltaggio's Recipes: White Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Tuile, Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Powder

To assemble:
1) Cut the ganache into a long rectangular portion 6” X 1”
2) Plate with the ganache shaped like an “S” on the plate.
3) Place chocolate powder on one end of the ganache falling off the ganache
4) Place cocoa nibs chopped rough on each portion
5) Place shards of the chocolate tuile into the ganache
6) Quenelle the ice cream on top of the chocolate powder

White Chocolate Ganache (he cooked up a dark chocolate ganache for us)

450 Gr. White Chocolate
1 ¼ Gelatin Sheet, Bloomed
50 Gr. Water
100 Gr. Sorbitol
3 Gr. Agar
50 Gr. Glucose
300 Gr. Cream
2 Gr. Salt

Combine the water, sorbitol, agar in a medium size pot then bring to boil.

In a separate pot combine the glucose, cream, salt and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat then add gelatin.

Add then 2 hot mixtures over the chocolate stir until dissolved. Do not whisk. You don’t want air bubbles.

Strain over sheet tray lined with pan spray and lay a sheet of acetate, allow to cool. Once set cut and store in cooler.

Chocolate Tuile

1500 Gr. Sugar
25 Gr. Pectin
500 Gr. Butter
400 Gr. Glucose
800 Gr. Water
500 Gr. Cocoa Paste
100 Gr. Cocoa Powder


Bring sugar, pectin, butter, glucose, and water to boil.

Stir in cocoa paste and powder. Continue cooking and string until thick.

Cool and spread onto silpat, bake at 300° F until crisp.

Store in cool dry place.

Cocoa Syrup

100 Gr. Water
20 Gr. Cream
60 Gr. Sugar
30 Gr. Cocoa powder
* For chocolate powder combine with Tapicoa maltodextrin


Combine the water, cream, sugar, and cocoa powder.

Bring to a simmer. Steep for 20 minutes.

Strain through a coffee filter

Cool and add to the maltodextrin for chocolate powder

Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

3000 Gr. Milk
350 Gr. Sugar
950 Gr. Cream
200 Gr. Milk chocolate
900 Gr. Egg yolk
5 Gr. Cream stabilizer


Combine the milk, cream, and sugar bring to a boil

Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate, add the stabilizer.

Temper the egg yolks into the cream and then cook until the ice cream base thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Strain and cool immediately. Process in a ice cream machine. Store frozen until ready to plate.

1 comment:

Food Lover Kathy said...

Wow, how lucky are you! Not only did you get to see Chef B. Voltaggio---my fan favorite (oh, I have to go and vote for him again)--but what a great day with the other chefs. I'm planning a trip to DC just to eat at Volt's Table21. BTW--did you get to see any of Mike Isabella's demos? Great post, thanks for sharing all...and the recipes.