Chris Wagner

Director of Culinary Operations,  College of Culinary Arts

Contact Information
This is the most amazing job I have ever had and and it still keeps exciting me daily.“


I’m in my 15th year at Johnson & Wales University’s North Miami Campus and it has been my dream job.

I am responsible for all day-to-day culinary operations and oversee our purchasing department, as well as our culinary events department. I interact and support faculty, staff and students and try to make this a great place to work and learn.

My culinary career began in my native Germany. After my 3-year apprenticeship, I worked my way up to the role of executive chef at age 25 for a high-end fine dining restaurant at the Hotel Via Claudia in Gersthofen. I became known as the chef who researched and transformed recipes from the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages into modern and highly contemporary compositions of the “Nouvelle Cuisine” era.

Education was very important to me and it quickly became clear that I was going to gain my Master Chef Certification, which is a mandatory requirement in Europe in order to train apprentices. In 1993 I went back to school to study for my certification; at age 29, I graduated and became one of the youngest Masterchefs at Industrie und Handelskammer (IHK).

A year later I was hired as the chef on a luxury yacht stationed in Palm Beach, Florida. As a private chef on this yacht, I traveled the world and cooked for movie stars, world leaders, industrial billionaires and royalty.

After more than 5 years I left the yacht to persue my dream of education. I started as instructor at a culinary school in Lakeland, Florida. Soon afterwards I was discovered by JWU’s North Miami Campus.

I went back to school and got my Masters in Education wich was cructial to my dream of educating young chefs at Johnson & Wales University, where I have now been the director of Culinary Operations for close to 16 years.

This is the most amazing job I have ever had and and it still keeps exciting me daily. I am designing kitchens and restaurants — and see them through from the planning stages to the finished project. Teaching is not a job, it is a passion!

Areas of Expertise

  • Culinary Arts
  • Baking & Pastry Arts
  • Education administration for higher education