By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun
5:40 PM EDT, September 19, 2012
Michael Joseph Wagner, an award-winning chef who taught at the old Baltimore International College, died of melanoma Sept. 17 at the Gilchrist Hospice of Columbia. He was 52 and lived in Columbia.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Rodgers Forge and in Howard County, he was a 1977 graduate of Altholton High School. He earned a degree at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and worked at Russell's in Catonsville and later at Clyde's in Columbia and in Washington, D.C. He was also associated with Baltimore's Planet Hollywood at Harborplace. He was executive chef at Aida Bistro, Piccolo's and Mangia's in Howard County.
Mr. Wagner was depicted in The Baltimore Sun's food coverage over the years and became known for his Italian dishes, including a ravioli he created, as well as veal roulade saltimbocca and red bell pepper marinara sauce. He also made numerous morning appearances on WBAL-TV.
"His art was his charcuterie, pates and terrines," said a friend and teaching colleague, Rich Hoffman of Westminster.
He taught hospitality and culinary arts at Howard and Anne Arundel community colleges before becoming a chef instructor and department chair at the old Baltimore International College in downtown Baltimore. Friends said he spent months in Italy and Ireland accompanying students on study tours.
He won awards in the 2006 Chesapeake Chef's Challenge. He was the 2004 Academy of Tourism and Hospitality Chef of the Year. He appeared with Julia Child at her 75th birthday celebration at the James Beard House in New York.
He was the 2002 winner of the Spectrums Exemplar Award of the Maryland Hospitality Education Foundation.
Mr. Wagner was a fan of the Washington Capitals and drove a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. A dog fancier, he owned an American bulldog named Sherman.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church, 12500 Clarksville Pike in Clarksville, where he was a member.
Survivors include his wife of seven years, Donna Bridge Wagner; two daughters, Melissa Wagner and Maggie Wagner, both of Elkridge; his parents, Charles Albert Wagner and Joan Mary McCloskey Wagner of Columbia; a brother, Glenn Wagner of Columbia; a sister, Mary Jo Broderick of Ellicott City; a stepson, Mason Kelley of Easton; and a stepdaughter, Kristen Kelley of Columbia. His marriage to Marsha O'Connor ended in divorce.
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