Cookbook Review: VOLT Ink.: Bryan Voltaggio & Michael Voltaggio. Recipes. Stories. Brothers.

by Emily Bell
March 2012

Mary Macs Tea Room
Authors: Chef Bryan Voltaggio and Chef Michael Voltaggio

Difficulty Level: Professional

Unexpected Chapter Titles: Avian, Lily, Mammal, Mustard, Nightshade

Recipes: Freshwater "Scallops," Raw and Cooked Porcini, Sweet and Sour Apricot; Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Bay Leaf Ice Cream; Basil Snail Agnolotti, Pine Nut Praline, Basil Leaves and Flowers

Tidbits from the Voltaggio Brothers: "I find that adding smoked sugar to the zucchini makes it taste somehow 'squashier' and more like itself than eating it plain." (Michael) "I like dishes that engage you and where every bite is so different and intriguing that it leaves you wanting just a little bit more." (Bryan)

It’s the right time for a Voltaggio brothers cookbook. Immediately post-“Top Chef” would have been too soon. Wait any longer, and the fraternal drama wanes. But open up VOLT Ink., a masculine cookbook with the refined edge of its authors, and you know it’s a cookbook for the times. Savvy to its locavore, greenmarket audience, the book’s chapters are divided by ingredient families, so readers can jump from “Goosefoot” and “Mammal” to “Nightshade” and back. Recipes from each brother—like “Asparagus, Spring Garlic, Sorrel Leaves and Blooms, Prosciutto” (Bryan) and “Green Garlic Milk Soup, Almonds, Green Financier, Fried Milk, Frog Leg Confit, and Almond Praline” (Michael)—illustrate the versatility of their ingredients and the essential influence of personality. Craft, of course, is never overlooked, with the Voltaggios variously sharing hard-earned wisdom, from the art of artichoke cleaning to the char-able virtues of the Laurel family. Dual forwards from mentors José Andrés and Charlie Palmer and exquisite photographs of dishes and ingredients answer the book’s humble intensity with a note of clear, distinguished accomplishment.