Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017
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Kevin F. Wisniewski (1959-2017)

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Kevin F. Wisniewski

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Kevin F. Wisniewski, a food service supervisor at Mercy Health St. Charles Hospital who was once the Toledo Zoo’s executive chef and also worked at the Toledo Club, died Sunday in Mercy Health St. Anne Hospital. He was 58.

Vickie Wisniewski, his former wife, said Mr. Wisniewski succumbed to advanced lung cancer.

Jim Alleman, for whom Mr. Wisniewski worked during the 1980s in the kitchen at Toledo’s SeaGate Convention Centre, said his former employee was apt at all aspects of the business, including kitchen management and ingredients planning as well as actual food preparation.

Creating new sauces was his specialty, Mr. Alleman said.

“He loved sauces, and he was good at putting them together,” he said. “And he was a handy guy besides that, outside the kitchen — there was little that he couldn’t do.”

Ms. Wisniewski said she met Mr. Wisniewski when they both worked at the Toledo Club. The couple married in 1994 and had two children before divorcing six years later.

“Any recipe, he would always try to improve upon it,” she said.

Presenting food on the plate was an art form to him — “the fancier the better,” his former wife said. He taught culinary arts at Penta Career Center for a while, she said, and frequently gave cooking demonstrations at the Ohio State Fair.

“When our oldest was 2, she was up on the stage helping her dad,” Ms. Wisniewski recalled.

Born March 13, 1959 as the seventh of Richard and Ruth Wisniewski’s eight children, Mr. Wisniewski graduated Sylvania High School in 1977.

Keith Wisniewski, a brother, said Mr. Wisniewski then moved to Arizona to partake in that state’s camping and hiking opportunities, and hired on as a sous-chef at Phoenix-area resorts to pay his bills.

He liked the work enough that he made it his career, the brother said, and went to culinary school at what is now Owens Community College when he returned to the Toledo area.

Along with his direct work for employers, Ms. Wisniewski said Mr. Wisniewski developed a private catering business, mostly through contacts he made at the Toledo Club.

She said her ex-husband hired with Mercy, initially at St. Vincent Medical Center, in about 2003 because he got a good job offer there.

While the hospital’s limitations on spices, salts, and fats changed his approach toward cooking, “he was very in tune with the nutritional aspect — he kind of changed with the times.”

Mr. Wisniewski’s love for cooking extended to his recreational passion for camping, for which he had “elaborate” campfire-suitable gear, she said.

Ms. Wisniewski said her husband also was a big fan of classic rock-and-roll music who had attended the Sammy Hagar concert Sept. 27 at the Toledo Zoo

Mr. Wisniewski was preceded in death by his second wife, Candy Zajac, who died in 2015.

His survivors include his son, Joshua Wisniewski; daughters, Amanda, Jessica, and Hallie Wisniewski; brothers, Ken, Frank, Mark, Keith, and Rick Wisniewski; sisters, Mary Ann Stelmaszak and Kathy Glowski, and three grandchildren.

The family will receive visitors from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe. A funeral Mass will begin at 10 a.m. Friday in St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, with visitation resuming one hour before the service.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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