Wagner left Europe and returned to the U.S. with only five Euros to his name, he said. His sister resides in Blacksburg, and some of his high school friends attend Virginia Tech. He said he moved here to be with them until he finds where he wants to go next.
“It always falls into place,” he said. “I’m apprehensive to being committed.”
Wagner wants to open a pop-up restaurant like Meddle, the one in Richmond, while in Blacksburg.
One looked like a birds nest with an egg resting inside, while the dessert plate resembled earth with plants growing from the beet ice cream.
Pop-up restaurants typically offer five course meals and are only in business for either a few days or about two weeks. These restaurants operate in an existing restaurant’s space, so there is already a food permit to serve the public. Customers purchase tickets in advance to taste dishes the chefs have chosen to showcase.
Wagner uses social media such as his blog, Twitter and Facebook to network with other chefs and foodies.
He met famous chef and Travel Channel’s “No Reservations” star Anthony Bourdain, who may pitch an event Wagner wants to host. Wagner’s brother is in the Army, stationed in Germany and serving in Afghanistan. Wagner knows they are planning to have a cookout when they return to Germany, and he wants to be there.
“They shouldn’t be cooking for their own barbecue,” he said. “They should be cooked for.”
Wagner said that he would like to own a restaurant one day, but his real dream is to be able to serve those who don’t have enough food.
“I am not a chef, and I get very upset when some people call themselves chefs,” he said. “I am a cook. I love food, and I love feeding people things that make them happy.”
“One day, I may call myself one,” he said. “But it won’t be anytime soon.”
Perhaps the chicken tattoo on his right arm will assist him to attain these goals.
“It symbolizes good luck and hospitality in the kitchen,” he said. “I kiss it the times that I really need the luck.”