SARASOTA, Florida – Sage restaurant has promoted two of its longtime culinary staff members to new kitchen leadership positions. Brett Wagner has been named Executive Sous Chef, while dessert specialist Cole Isaacs has been named Head Pastry Chef. The new positions represent increased responsibility for meeting Sage’s culinary standards and overseeing the downtown restaurant’s kitchen operations.
“Brett and Cole are both amazing talents and hard workers who do everything they can to learn more and more every day,” says Sage Executive Chef Chris Covelli. “Their dedication to our diners is what makes this restaurant so special.”
Wagner, born in Champaign, Illinois and raised in Williamsburg, Virginia, first met Covelli as an intern at the Toscana Cooking School in Tuscany, Italy. A ten-year culinary industry veteran with nearly 6 years of fine dining experience, Wagner has been part of the Sage team from the restaurant’s inception.
“Sage is a standout in the restaurant scene because every member of the staff has the highest goals for what we can do, and we are all constantly striving to be better,” says Wagner. “I’m so proud of every dish that comes out of this kitchen, and I’m honored to have earned this new title here.”
Isaacs, born in Phoenix, Arizona, then moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, has built Sage’s pastry program from scratch. “This title means I have an even greater responsibility to ensure my desserts are up to the standards that my former chefs and mentors have instilled in me,” he says. “I want to provide Sarasota with a revolutionary new mindset surrounding dessert.”
Asked to pick the dishes they’re most proud of creating at Sage, Wagner chose last fall’s Country Pâté, featuring pork shoulder, brandy, pistachios and cranberries with whole-grain mustard, cornichons and pickled cauliflower. Isaacs chose his Ruby Chocolate Bombe from the summer 2019 menu. That dish consisted of chocolate mousse, raspberry chiffon, ruby chocolate ganache, passionfruit marshmallows, passionfruit sauce and freeze-dried raspberry powder.
“Chef Covelli has taught me how to use a multitude of international ingredients while helping me perfect my cooking techniques and expand my palate,” says Wagner. “Sage is a standout in the restaurant scene because every member of the staff has the highest goals for what we can do, and we are all constantly striving to be better.”