Our annual Savor the Central Coast food and wine event will take place September 26-29. In anticipation, we're going behind the scenes with celebrity chefs who are giving live cooking demonstrations at the event. 

While Michael Voltaggio gained national fame after winning Top Chef Season 6, he's been making major waves in the Los Angeles food scene for years. His signature restaurant, ink., epitomizes his experimental approach to classic cuisine. We asked Michael to let us in on his cooking style and more.

What are your favorite local ingredients from the Central Coast region?  

Spot prawns, sea urchin, abalone.

We're sensing a theme here! Can you give us a brief tease of what you'll demo at the event? 

Hopefully abalone!

We suppose you say "hopefully" because it'll depend on the freshest catch available at the time. Speaking of seasonal ingredients, what's your favorite thing to cook now? 

Fresh tomatoes.

We're also obsessed with tomatoes this month. What's your top cooking tip for the home cook?  

Keep an atomizer handy for vinegar or citrus juice to spritz before serving.

 Ooh, that's a good way to give a dish a last-minute flavor boost. Hopefully no spritzing misadventures will occur. What's been your most embarrassing live-cooking moment?

I gave myself frostbite with liquid nitrogen at the Aspen Food & Wine festival a few years ago.

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