The Washington Post

Voltaggio, Mendelsohn, Isabella talk kitchens, ingredients

Local top chefs Spike Mendelsohn, Mike Isabella and Bryan Voltaggio. (John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)

In today’s Local Living story, Bryan Voltaggio , Mike Isabella and Spike Mendelsohn share photos of their personal cooking spaces, offer advice on renovating and describe what their dream kitchen looks like.

Of course, I couldn’t just talk kitchen design when hanging out with these guys; I asked them a few cooking-related questions, too. Here are some excerpts from the interviews.

Bryan Voltaggio makes pasta with his son, Thatcher, 4, in the kitchen of their Frederick home. (Katherine Frey/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Favorite dish to prepare: At Volt, the dishes are complicated with a lot of ingredients and technique, so I like to do more simple things at home, like grill ribs or barbecue. I love those flavors. They scream summertime, entertaining and fun.

Five ingredients you always have on-hand at home: Salt, eggs, flour butter and good olive oil. With water, you can have pasta; with yeast, you have bread. You can pretty much start building anything with those ingredients.

Toughest “Top Chef” judge: Charlie Palmer. [Voltaggio’s former employer, incidentally.]

Mike Isabella, in his Chinatown apartment, slicing one of his favorite ingredients. (John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Favorite dish to prepare: Being able to go to a market and see what’s fresh. When you’re working with stuff coming right out of a garden, there’s nothing better than that.

Five ingredients you always have on-hand at home: Olive oil, lemons, sea salt, fresh herbs and garlic. They are the fundamentals, the basics.

Toughest “Top Chef” judge: Eric Ripert. His palate is ridiculous, it’s one of the best in the world. If he tastes your food and says it’s good, it feels great. But if he says it’s bad you know it’s bad.

Spike Mendelsohn taking stock of his condiments in the kitchen of his Atlas District apartment. (John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Five ingredients you always have on-hand at home: Chicken, ice cream, Sriracha sauce, balsamic ketchup, Vermont maple syrup.

Favorite dish to eat: Vietnamese food.

Toughest “Top Chef” judge: Anthony Bourdain, He’s eaten everything, everywhere. He will call you out on your bull[expletive].

Related content:

My Kitchen Fireplace and me: A love-hate story

Yeah! Now you’re cooking

Gallery: local kitchen designs

Mike Isabella is a (grand)mama’s boy

A saucy substitution proves he’s worthy


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