Chef Michael Voltaggio is primarily known for modernist techniques, however, he stresses that he is just cooking. He has a vast repertoire that melds strict, classic French technique with progressive and innovative applications allowing for precision and creativity. Ingredients drive his culinary ambitions; he strives to elevate the best ingredients to create a multi-sensory experience where taste is paramount.
Based in Los Angeles since 2008, Voltaggio is the chef and owner of highly acclaimed restaurant ink. and artisanal sandwich concept Sack Sandwiches (formerly ink. sack). Inspired by the city’s diverse ethnicities, cultures and industries, Voltaggio is considered to have reinterpreted a new class of finer dining at ink., dubbing the food and experience there as Modern Los Angeles. Having earned the title of Best New Restaurant in America by GQ in 2011, ink. is consistently heralded by critics for serious food that is playful, visually stunning, and flawlessly executed.
At Sack Sandwiches, Voltaggio has created a menu of 4-inch sandwiches that are both unconventional and accessible – from cold fried chicken to a banh mi to a take on a tortilla española. The first and most recent locations can be found on Melrose Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, respectively – both iconic thoroughfares in Los Angeles. The second installment, still known as ink. sack, can be found inside Los Angeles airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal. There are plans for more locations, soon, throughout Southern California.
In 2013, Voltaggio received the distinction as one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in the award’s 25th anniversary year, joining an elite list of chefs in America. This was a career highlight for him, considering his humble beginnings nearly 20 years earlier when his first job at 15 was working for his older brother, Bryan, at a local hotel kitchen in their hometown of Frederick, Maryland. Following Bryan’s lead into the culinary world, Michael received his formal education by earning a prestigious position at the venerable Greenbrier apprenticeship program in West Virginia, notably graduating when he was 21 (at the time the youngest to have done so).
Prior to his current successes, Voltaggio spent time at the helm of numerous high-profile kitchens across the country. Some include Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, CA where he earned a Michelin star, and The Bazaar by Jose Andres at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills where he earned a rare 4-star review from the Los Angeles times and finalist nomination for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation. Additional accolades include being named Angeleno magazine’s Best New Chef in 2010 and selected by Star Chefs as a Rising Star Chef that same year.
In 2011, Voltaggio joined forces with his brother to write their first cookbook, aptly titled Volt ink.–named after their flagship restaurants. They launched the book in conjunction with a partnership with Williams-Sonoma for which they were tapped to bridge the gap between professional kitchens and the home cook by highlighting new professional cookware lines the retailer was launching to their consumers. Additional corporate partnerships for Voltaggio include Samsung Home Appliances, Samsung Mobile USA, Lamborghini, San Pellegrino, Naked Juice, Carl’s Jr. and Bose.
Voltaggio may best be known for his win on Bravo TV’s Emmy Award-winning season of Top Chef. He has since made many returns to television with guest appearances on shows such as Fox’s Master Chef and Hell’s Kitchen, and a holiday special with his brother for Cooking Channel’s Voltaggios Take on Thanksgiving. He also has a handful of cameos on scripted shows – ABC Family’s Young and Hungry, ABC’s Suburgatory and TV Land’s The Exes. He even has a film credit in Sony Screen Gem’s 2014 remake of about last night. Most recently, he was back on the small screen with a highly acclaimed and sometimes controversial series for Travel Channel called Breaking Borders, which aired in 2015.
before graduating high school, chef cole dickinson began working in the industry as a server but quickly transitioned to a spot on the line. working his way up through a variety of kitchens, he first worked with chef michael voltaggio at charlie palmer’s dry creek kitchen in healdsburg. over a span of more than six years, dickinson continued to work under voltaggio as his sous chef – at hemsiphere at the greenbrier in west virginia and then at the bazaar by josé andrés in beverly hills. his professional experiences also including staging and/or working for other highly lauded chefs and restaurants such as chefs heston blumenthal’s fat duck in london, laurent gras’ l2o in chicago and wolfgang puck in Beverly hills. since ink.’s opening, he has been recognized as one of Eater’s Young Guns (which highlights up and coming culinary talent, nationally) in its inaugural year, as well as being named one of Zagat’s 30 Under 30 in 2013. and alongside voltaggio, dickinson helps to oversee the kitchen at ink.
ed anderson spent the first 15 years of his career training his eye as a graphic designer, and tends to see the world as “less is more”. largely self-taught, he is comfortable in the studio or on location, working with minimal equipment and available light.
based in norther california, food and the people who make it became natural subjects. ed is drawn to the hyper-dedicated, semi-eccentric, heavily-inked, diy-everything types. his images are honest and evocative. they tell stories.
Per blog post titled: The Hundreds x ink.sack (on 8.11.11):
“Always keen on the collaborations, The Hundreds teams up with Michael Voltaggio for a special release tee called the “Sack Adam”. Inspired by Voltaggio’s top secret sandwich shop that opens today, the shirt presents the Adam Bomb mascot dressed as ink.sack’s black paper bag. The collaborative tee will be worn today by ink.sack’s staff at the grand opening…”
clifford fong has been part of los angeles’ fertile design community for roughly two decades as an interior designer as well as working with several principle fashion institutions. his aesthetic refinement is drawn from a myriad of inspirations and his work is often an extension of his curiosities, being an avid enthusiast of significant design and art. Iin 2004, he co-founded an artisanal unisex luxury fashion collection with sandy dalal called chatav ectabit; and in 2009, along with two partners, he opened galerie half, a sprawling emporium of 20th century design, european antiques, architectural elements, and art. for ink., fong worked closely with chef michael voltaggio to create a space that would serve as a canvas for voltaggio’s food and offer the feel of an artist’s studio. sourcing local craftsmen was important to both, and many design pieces were found treasures. the final product is a timeless space that is both warm and industrial, emanating a comfortable urbanity. –
marshall haraden is the president and owner of the marshall group, and specializes in restaurants, retail storefronts, residential and industrial projects. responsible for actuating designer clifford fong and chef michael voltaggio’s vision for ink., haraden’s industry acumen and sensibility lined up perfectly. with over 28 years of experience, haraden’s spirit and expertise created a seamless process for the restaurant’s transformation, living up to his business’ motto: building the best.