Rising Star Pastry Chef Julien Wagner of OPALINE (Now Closed) - Biography
Los Angeles,, CA
Julien Wagner was born in Paris and moved with his family to Connecticut at the age of five. Wagner knew early on that he belonged in the kitchen, and at age 13, he was apprenticing in local restaurants. In 1995, he was approached by renowned Chef Lydia Shire to work as a line cook at Pignoli in Boston. Wagner jumped at the opportunity and moved to Bean Town.
Shortly after, Wagner made another move. In an effort to fulfill his passion for travel and new cooking influences, he headed to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. After mastering that region’s cooking flavors and techniques, Wagner returned to Pignoli and worked as an assistant bread baker until he was offered an assistant pastry chef position at Radius. The opportunity to work with renowned Chef Michael Schlow and Pastry Chef Paul Connors thrilled him, so Wagner accepted with delight and began work there in 1999.
Wagner later succeeded Connors as executive pastry chef until 2002, when he joined Artisan Bread Master Christy Timon at the Clear Flour Bakery in nearby Brookline, Massachusetts.
A year later, Wagner headed to Los Angeles to work as executive pastry chef at Opaline, where he showcased his pastry arts, incorporating decadent desserts with savory ingredients. At only 26, Wagner proved to be a highly skilled pastry chef with a passion for combining unique techniques and flavors to create edible pieces of art, talents that won him a 2004 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award.