Salina native, Grant Wagner, has come a long way since he began washing dishes at a small Lawrence restaurant. He's been the sous chef at J.J.'s Restaurant, in the Country Club Plaza neighborhood, for a year and a half. Wagner worked in several restaurants while studying anthropology, but then realized how much he loved the lifestyle. And finally at 4 Olives, in Manhattan, KS, he found his culinary calling. So Wagner changed his career path and received an associate's degree from Le Cordon Bleu, in Scottsdale, AZ. He moved back to the midwest to complete his degree with an internship at Kansas City's Bluestem.
As the fellow who oversees day-to-day kitchen operations at J.J.'s, Wagner says his cooking style is all about simplicity. "I love everything about fresh fish, from touching it when it first arrives, to the lingering aroma that stays with you for hours. And vegetables are my favorite thing to cook - really, really fresh vegetables, add some heat, garlic, herbs and eat. Almost all of our produce is from local farmers that come to us."