We're featuring the personal stories of several chefs from New York City and around the country to see what they went through on that morning 10 years ago, and how 9/11 has affected them as people and as chefs.
Bryan Voltaggio is a former Top Chef contestant and chef and partner at VOLT in Fredrick, Maryland.
Where were you and what happened on the morning of 9/11?
I was working as the morning sous chef at Aureole at the time. It was the morning after a rained-out Yankees game, and we were in Brooklyn until 9:30 that night when Joe Torre called the game. When we got to the kitchen the next morning, our prep cooks were listening to 105.9, the Latino mix station. They were in the basement kitchen when the morning show was interrupted by news of the first impact. We were all confused and also in disbelief as we didn’t have a TV. At that time, the second plane hit and we knew that this was something grave and that we were experiencing some sort of an attack. Simultaneously, my wife had just been laid off from a design firm that was located in Astor Place; she was at home since the business had closed. She called me, or I called her, to get more info. Charlie called for us to close Aureole that day.
What's a lasting memory from that day?
I remember while walking over the [Queensboro] Bridge, this one somber moment when someone, who clearly was from Ground Zero, covered in white dust, with a blank stare was walking on the bridge. All of the New Yorkers making the crossing parted and made a clear path for him. It was believed by all on that bridge that we let those pass to get home uninterrupted to their friends and family. It is those moments and pictures in my head I will never forget.”
More memories from September 11