TEN YEARS and
MORE GOOD NEWS

Over the years BOKA has been home to many talented chefs and we are thrilled to announce that our kitchen is now directed by Executive Chef and Partner Lee Wolen. Dining at this level need not be reserved for special occasions, and the new menu features a range of items that make us an “anytime you have time” spot.

Beyond the plate, BRG founders Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz are pleased to announce a thorough redesign and reconnecting of the interior. Led by Simeone Deary Design Group, the extensive overhaul guarantees a completely new experience and level of comfort for diners looking to grab a pre-theatre bite or enjoy a relaxing night out. Vice President of BOKA Restaurant Group, Ian Goldberg, explains “We have designed an experience that reflects our neighborhood, our city and our sincere desire to see everyone more often.”

LEE WOLEN


EXECUTIVE CHEF/PARTNER

Lee Wolen joined Boka Restaurant as Executive Chef/Partner in January of 2014. After a chance meeting with Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm in the kitchen of Eleven Madison Park in 2011, the three continued a friendship over the years that has now led to this exciting new partnership.

Chef Lee Wolen, age 31, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended a vocational culinary school during high school and quickly decided this would be his career. He worked as Sous Chef in Chicago at Moto and at Butter in 2005 and spent time at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and the famed El Bulli.

Chef Lee spent considerable time at Eleven Madison Park in New York, a three-Michelin-star restaurant, where he held the position of Sous Chef for three years. While Chef Lee was at Eleven Madison Park, the restaurant achieved The New York Times' coveted four stars, earned its Michelin stars and a Top Ten ranking in San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Lee Wolen joined The Lobby at The Peninsula Chicago as Chef de Cuisine in May 2012. Since the new dinner menu debuted in the autumn of 2012, the dining critics have taken notice. Time Out Chicago awarded The Lobby with a perfect five star rating, the first in the eight years since Food Editor David Tamarkin joined the publication. Under Chef Wolen’s direction, The Lobby has also earned a coveted four star review from Chicago Magazine, and three stars from Phil Vettel of Chicago Tribune. Chef Wolen was named ‘Breakout Chef of the Year’ by Time Out Chicago, and was nominated by Food & Wine as a candidate for People’s Best New Chef, Great Lakes Region.

PASTRY CHEFGENIE KWON


Boka and GT Fish & Oyster are excited to announce Chef Genie Kwon as their new pastry chef. Genie started out as a molecular biology major at Boston University, but quickly decided she was more interested in the kitchen then the laboratory. After graduating with a full scholarship from the Newbury College Culinary Program, she worked with Chef Joanna Chang at Flour Bakery & Café and Myers+Chang in Boston. She then moved to New York and worked at a number of prestigious restaurants, including Table 8, The Stanton Social, Nobu, and Eleven Madison Park. She then spent some time in Singapore working with Chef Janice Wong, before coming back stateside to Chicago, where her family resides. She began her Midwest career as a pastry chef at The Peninsula Chicago and joined the BOKA Restaurant Group in January 2014.

Genie’s desserts are characterized by simple, approachable flavors in exquisite arrangements. She loves working with frozen components and has said she would rather have “four things on a plate that taste amazing, than a dessert that you can’t identify.” Two of her standout dishes at Boka are a coffee cremeux with hazelnut, orange, and whisky and an olive oil cake with grapes, pistachio, and lemon. Her more casual pastry menu at GT Fish & Oyster includes the Chicago Mix — caramel popcorn with caramel semifreddo and cheddar tuille over a sweet corn cake, that is guaranteed to be a menu favorite.

SOUS CHEFEddie Lee


Boka Restaurant Sous Chef, Eddie Lee, studied at University of California Santa Cruz, majoring in Business Management Economics before receiving his culinary certificate the from Institute of Culinary Education in New York. Eddie’s passion for cooking began the most natural way possible — hunger. In high school, he would be early on Sundays and didn’t want to wait for his parents to wake up and cook for him. He loved seeing his family’s reactions to his meals and once he began studying the culinary arts, he was amazed by all of the different techniques and flavor combinations that he could create.

Eddie began at Eleven Madison Park as an extern, before their Michelin Star and inclusion on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant list, and grew as the restaurant grew. He learned so much during his time there and met many inspiring people and friends, like Chef Lee Wolen. When Chef Wolen moved to Chicago to head The Lobby at The Peninsula he took Eddie with him and then again when he went to Boka Restaurant. Eddie is passionate about simple food that is perfectly executed and draws inspiration from wherever he can. When he’s not in the kitchen you can find him playing soccer or tennis.