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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Michael Voltaggio Reveals the Secret to Winning Bravo's Top Chef and It's Actually Really Simple

Here's what every contestant should do before entering the competition, according to Season 6's winner.

By Laura Rosenfeld

Grab a pen, because Michael Voltaggio, the winner of Season 6 of Bravo's Top Chef, is spilling his secrets to winning the culinary competition. 

How to Watch

Watch the Top Chef Season 21 premiere on Wednesday, March 20 at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

But the thing is, there actually really aren't any tips or tricks to winning Top Chef, according to Voltaggio; it really is just all about the food. "Everyone thinks, 'Oh, they played the game better,'" he told The Feast this spring. "It comes down to cooking good food. So if you're not a great cook, or you don't think you can go there and cook great food that will win, then you shouldn't be there." 

However, the way to ensure that you're cooking your best when you're in the competition requires some prep work, according to Voltaggio. "You have to remember five or six different recipes that you could adapt to different situations, because when you get there, you don't have access to anything. You don't have your cookbooks, you don't have your phone, you don't have the ability to draw from all the information that's around you or that's normally around you, so you only have your own instincts and the people you're around, and no one's gonna help you win the competition," he shared. "So program your brain with as many recipes as you can possibly remember."


That's a skill that not every chef out there has mastered. "It's hard because some people, like people who aren't cooking every single day, you can actually see it not be natural," Voltaggio explained, citing what he saw while watching one recent cooking show that wasn't Top Chef. "If you don't have the instincts of a cook to understand in that moment, then you probably shouldn't be there in the first place."

You got all that, Top Chef hopefuls?

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