Even if Michael Voltaggio told Grub Street in December that he'd be a part of the five-million dollar renovation that would take The Dining Room at the Langham "into 2010," it's no surprise to hear that the gifted deconstructionist Top Chef winner will leave this old fogie haunt on June 18th as renovations begin. The L.A Times reports that Voltaggio plans to pursue other projects which Eater pegs as his own restaurant along with the rumor that he's looking in Hollywood. So why's the chef leaving?
The Langham, despite its esteemed fine-dining reputation and recent revolution under Voltaggio, has always felt too stuffy for the inked-up chef, who came from The Bazaar with the same bag of molecular gastronomy tricks that had people comparing him to Picasso on the show. After his televised victory, The Langham felt like an even less sensational showcase for a chef in his prime, something that will surely be amended by branding his own joint. Besides, waiting three months for renovation would surely cool down the chef's current hot streak.
So while nothing is on the table yet, expect local excitement to be at a high for Voltaggio's own place. Will it have nitro and liquid fruits? Surely. Will brother/partner Bryan be involved? Could be. Has Marcel already opened a Michael Voltaggio restaurant? Sorta. But it's still reasonable to believe our Top Chef wasn't lying when he promised,"My plan is to stay in L.A. for the long-haul. I love this city."
Celebrity chef Michael Voltaggio leaving the Langham [L.A. Times/Travel]