Meet Mariana van Zeller and Michael Voltaggio

In each episode of Breaking Borders, Mariana van Zeller and Michael Voltaggio take viewers on a journey through a different country in conflict. 

Mariana van Zeller

Mariana van Zeller is an award-winning journalist and co-founder of MUCK.TV. She began her journalism career in her native Portugal, where she was a producer and correspondent for SIC Televisao – the nation’s largest private news channel.

van Zeller has covered some of the world’s major news events including the terrorist attacks on September 11th and the beginning of the insurgency against America's military presence in Iraq. van Zeller’s reporting has taken her into the center of various conflicts: she camped out in the Amazon jungle to cover the battle between Brazil's Indians and miners over South America's largest diamond mine; rode the Death Train to report on the desperate risks Central American migrants take to reach the U.S.; and crept into the swamps of Nigeria to meet with militants fighting for control of the country's oil wealth. She has appeared on National Geographc, PBS, CNN, ABC, Channel 4 (UK), Current TV and the CBC.

In 2011, van Zeller received the prestigious Livingston Award for her report "Rape on the Reservation." Her documentary on prescription drug abuse and pill trafficking, "The OxyContin Express," was honored with a 2009 Peabody Award, a Television Academy Honor and an Emmy nomination.

van Zeller is fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian and French and holds a Masters degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son.

Michael Voltaggio

Michael Voltaggio is the chef and owner of Los Angeles' highly-acclaimed restaurant, ink., and artisanal sandwich concept, ink.sack – both are inspired by the city's diverse ethnicities, cultures and industries. He is known for his vast repertoire that melds strict, classic French skills with progressive and modern applications. His culinary ambitions are driven by ingredients, elevating them into a multi-sensory experience.

Voltaggio began his career 20 years ago working at a hotel kitchen in his hometown of Frederick, MD, and received his formal education from the venerable Greenbrier Apprenticeship program in West Virginia. He went on to work in numerous high-profile kitchens, including Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen (Healdsburg, CA) where he earned a Michelin Star, and The Bazaar by Jose Andres at the SLS Hotel (Beverly Hills, CA) where he earned a rare four-star review from the Los Angeles Times and a finalist nomination for "Best New Restaurant" from the James Beard Foundation. Accolades include being selected a “Rising Star Chef” by Star Chefs, named “Best New Chef” by Angeleno magazine, and having ink. named “Best New Restaurant in America” by GQ magazine. Most recently, he earned the distinction of being selected as one of Food and Wine magazine’s prestigious class of "Best New Chefs."

Best known for his win on Bravo TV’s Emmy Award-winning season of Top Chef, Voltaggio has also appeared on Fox’s Master Chef and Hell’s Kitchen, Cooking Channel’s Voltaggios Take On Thanksgiving holiday special, ABC Family’s Young and Hungry, ABC’s Suburgatory, TV Land’s The Exes and Sony Screen Gem's 2014 remake of About Last Night. In 2011, he joined forces with brother Bryan Voltaggio to pen their first cookbook, VOLT ink.

Voltaggio currently resides in Los Angeles.

Next Up

Breaking Borders

Watch as seasoned journalist Mariana Van Zeller and acclaimed chef Michael Voltaggio travel into conflict zones to get the story behind the story. 

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