Daniel Wagemann

Sous Chef 

Hometown: Castroville, Texas 

Family: Wife-Cristina, Kids-Tristan, Ashton, Aaliyah

When did cooking become a passion?

Cooking with my grandfather as a little kid and watching my mom in his kitchen, as well as being a chubby kid who loved to eat — all of this influenced me. Even as a teenager I was constantly cooking food to take to school for lunch and making dinner for the family. My passion for cooking has continuously grown since then.

What past work history prepared you for The Clubs at Cordillera Ranch?

I was previously employed by Briggs Ranch Country Club so I had worked at a very nice high-end country club that introduced me to finer foods than what I was accustomed to. But nothing truly prepared me for our kitchen here or the culture that Chef Isaac has instilled. We are almost a full-scratch kitchen and we pride ourselves on producing almost everything in-house while maintaining a positive educational kitchen where everyone can learn a variety of techniques and skills.

What makes your colleagues an asset to The Clubs?

Working together with our FOH managers, servers, bartenders, the receptionist team, our event coordinator Amanda Carlisle, our amazing wine guy Jeff Cohen, and our dining room leaders Krissy Cruz and Jessica Swingler is of the upmost importance. They are our link to our valued members, our most important tool for communication and the means of delivering our food to our members. We are a yin/yang-type relationship that has to be in a perfect balance to excel in delivering wonderful food and amazing service.

What has been your most rewarding professional experience?

Being named Sous Chef a couple of years ago. It is a continuous, arduous, rewarding grind.

What has been your greatest professional challenge?

Transitioning to a better managerial mindset as well as trying to look at our business from a bigger-picture mentality, and learning to better manage my time throughout the day and at home. 

What are your hobbies and interests?

I enjoy working out, cooking, hiking and spending time with the family. We really enjoy traveling and visiting new places. We have taken some epic vacations and we really look forward to planning our next adventure when life normalizes again.

Any New Year’s resolutions or goals for 2021?

Resolutions, not so much. I believe if you notice something that needs changing, you should not wait until the new year to start. I do however want to continue working on being a better husband to my new wife and father for our kids. We also are looking forward to upgrading our house in the new year.

What is your favorite meal to prepare at home? 

Hmmm, that is a tough one. I enjoy making comfort food: King Ranch Casserole; grilled steak and potatoes. We also make A LOT of tacos: al pastor, carnitas, asada, you name it, garnished of course with cilantro, onions, limes and a really hot green salsa. I also really enjoy making our food for family gatherings and holidays. I make a mean roasted spiced sweet potato with toasted marshmallow, natural maple syrup and roasted pecans. My wife’s favorite has always been when I cook whatever she wants for breakfast… happy wife, happy life, they say.

If I could hop on a plane tomorrow….

We have several places pinned on a map as possible adventure spots — Hawaii might be at the top though.

I’m really excited about…

What the future holds for our food and beverage team next year. I am excited to see where we can push the envelope in terms of our food and variety of ingredients as well as seeing how our team continues to grow and become stronger.

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