Yahoo! TV Q&A: 'Top Chef' winner Michael Voltaggio spices up Valentine's Day episode of 'Suburgatory'
Everything is done on a grand scale in Chatswin, the fictional suburban enclave of the wealthy and mostly white that is the setting of ABC's "Suburgatory," and the Valentine's Day-themed episode is no different. It's chock-full of momentous gestures, epic fails, rekindled romances, and one "Top" guest star.
While Tessa drags Ryan to an art film, Malik tries to woo Lisa with serenades and life-size dolls, and Sheila's mom cuts in on her plans for a romantic night of tapas and tango, George and Dallas's disastrous dinner date provides the most laughs. He has booked a nonrefundable $600 18-course menu provided by world-renowned visiting chef Julio Proust (played by real-life "Top Chef" Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio), but Dallas cancels their date. Apparently her experiment with an antiaging injectable made from blowfish leaves her hideously unrecognizable.
Watch a preview clip from the episode:
"We always try to find a funny left-turn way to handle holidays on our show, and because Valentine's puts so much pressure on people to perform and crushing defeat is so much more reasonable an outcome than pulling off some grand romantic plan perfectly, we thought an absurd dinner, a botched beauty treatment, and a burlap sack was the perfect idea," creator/executive producer Emily Kapnek explained to Yahoo! TV exclusively at a lunch celebrating the episode, which airs Feb. 13. "The script called for a Michael Voltaggio type. He was our pie-in-the-sky name, so to get him to be part of the episode was superexciting. The icing on the cake was that he was fantastic and such a good sport about making fun of the celebrity-chef thing."
Cheryl Hines, whose "hours of prosthetic makeup" helped her achieve the "gross, puffy, scary, cat-lady-like look," added, "It was so fun to have him on the set. First, because he's real cute and intriguing with the tattoos and the brooding. And because people know him from winning 'Top Chef,' he added a little something special. I just hope it will help me get reservations at his restaurant. I can pull the whole 'I was on "Suburgatory" with him and because my fictional Blowtox incident kept me from eating my fictional meal on a TV show, I figure he still owes me a dinner."
Voltaggio, whose L.A. sandwich shop Ink.Sak provided the fried chicken and spicy tuna subs the actors and press noshed on, spoke with us about the "fun" gig but ultimately promised that gastronomy would never lose him full-time to acting.
How did the guest spot on "Suburgatory" come about?
Through my agent. I'm represented by UTA, and the script was in their office. They were looking for talent to play a chef that was a Michael Voltaggio type. Someone in the office was like, "Well, we represent him. Why don't we just get him to do it?"
Like in cooking, why settle for substitutes when you can have the real thing?
Totally. I don't exactly know what they meant by a "Michael Voltaggio-type" or if I should be offended, but I figured I'd at least be able to nail that part. The funny thing for me is that I am supposed to be Chef Julio, but he was based on me, so I am playing myself -- but not really.
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