Los Angeles seems to be enjoying a veritable embarrassment of emerging celebrity chefs. Michael Voltaggio, chef de cuisine of the signature restaurant at Pasadena’s Langham Huntington hotel, landed on “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien” recently after being named top chef in the sixth season of the Bravo show by that name.

That followed a grueling final episode pitting Voltaggio’s squab dinner against a venison dish put together by his own brother, Bryan Voltaggio, the owner of a restaurant in Frederick, Md.

Less well known is Leonard Goodloe, 29, who has emerged as the chef to beat on a newer Bravo reality docudrama called “Chef Academy.” Airing Monday nights since November, the show features celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli teaching nine student chefs the finer arts of cuisine.

Each week their efforts are evaluated and given pass or failing grades; three fails and you’re out.

So far, Goodloe, a West Hollywood resident who makes his living preparing meals for a Hollywood celebrity he won’t name, is the only student without any fails.

“I attribute it to being able to pay attention to details and absorb everything,” said Goodloe, adding that he remains very calm during tapings. “I just basically know how to cook.”

Good Connection

Susan Kohn Ross has spent more than three decades in the international trade business, and the most important deal she’s ever made was the marriage that unexpectedly came out of a phone call for work one day.

In 1975, when Ross was working as a customs broker in Wilmington, a man on the phone asked how she was doing. The normally reserved Ross sardonically answered, “I’m turning 30 today and my life is over because I’m unmarried.”

The man on the other end, James W. Ross, was a 29-year-old supervisor of inbound cargo for a Long Beach shipping line, and he had been in telephone contact with Ross for the previous year, assuring their paperwork matched up.

“He then asked me out to lunch and six weeks later we decided to get married,” Ross said. “Who knew all the times he asked how I was, he genuinely was listening!”

About 33 years later, the Rosses are still together. Although James has retired, Susan, 64, still works as an international trade consultant for West L.A.-based Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP.

“Now he travels with me on most of my trips. He gets to play but I have to work,” Ross said. “But I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world.”

Staff reporters David Haldane and Francisco Vara-Orta contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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