Before Onil Chibs became a chef, he worked for more than a decade in animation with film studios like Disney, Sony and DreamWorks.
From the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo., the “Top Chef” talked to Krista Simmons of the L.A. Times’ Daily Dish blog about yesterday’s announcement that he’ll be leaving The Langham in Pasadena to start his own restaurant venture:
Krista Simmons: Because of your personality and your style of cooking, everyone was surprised that you stayed at the Langham for so long. Why leave now that they’re renovating?
Michael Voltaggio: I had to come to terms with the fact that I either stay in Pasadena and be at this restaurant being branded around me, or I can do something on my own outside of the Langham. I decided I want to make my own place. … At the end of the day I know that no matter what, that restaurant wasn’t mine.…KS: What neighborhoods are you scoping out? Is there a possibility that you might not even stay in L.A.?
MV: Restaurants don’t just fall out of the sky, so it’ll be a while. My goal is to stay in Los Angeles. I love L.A. and think it’s the most exciting food city to be in right now. … I’ll be looking in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, places with a lot of foot traffic.