The past 15 years have solidified BOKA as one of Chicago’s most beloved restaurants. Chef Lee Wolen’s seasonal American food centers on beautiful ingredients and expertly executed preparations, delivering à la carte dishes and a hyper-seasonal tasting menu with graceful, genuine hospitality. With a distinctive combination of unparalleled service, a visionary chef, and exceptional design, BOKA exemplifies BOKA Restaurant Group’s core mission to create unique, timeless restaurants.
The restaurant’s rich history includes 7 consecutive Michelin stars. Since joining BOKA as Executive Chef, Chef Lee Wolen garnered a Michelin star in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020; “3 Stars” and “Chef of the Year” from the Chicago Tribune; and “Chef of the Year” and “Restaurant of the Year” at the Jean Banchet Awards.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Lee Wolen decided to pursue a career in the kitchen when he was in high school. During his early career, Wolen worked as Sous Chef at Moto and Butter in Chicago before spending time in Europe at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and the famed El Bulli.
After his time in Europe, Wolen returned to the States and spent three years as Sous Chef at Eleven Madison Park in New York. During his tenure, Eleven Madison Park achieved The New York Times' coveted four stars, earned multiple Michelin stars, and a Top Ten ranking in San Pellegrino's "World's 50 Best Restaurants."
In 2012, Wolen returned to his midwestern roots, joining The Lobby at The Peninsula Chicago as Chef de Cuisine. Under Wolen, The Lobby received a five-star rating from Time Out Chicago, a four-star review from Chicago Magazine, three stars from the Chicago Tribune, and a Michelin star.
In 2014, Wolen joined Boka Restaurant as Executive Chef/Partner, where he was named "2014 Chef of the Year" by Chicago Tribune and Eater Chicago, one of Plate Magazine's "30 Chefs to Watch," and was nominated for a James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Great Lakes” in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. Boka has maintained a Michelin star from 2011 to 2020.
The first Chef/Partner from BRG to explore Chicago's booming dining hall scene, Wolen will open GG's Chicken Shop in March 2020. With a streamlined menu of rotisserie chicken, chicken sandwiches, and familiar homestyle sides, this concept stems from Wolen's own childhood dinner table.
Meg Galus graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a bachelor's degree in Theater Arts. With an affinity for sweets and a passion for creativity, Meg decided to continue her education in the culinary arts and graduated from the French Pastry School in Chicago in 2005.
Meg joined Boka Restaurant Group in January of 2015, overseeing the pastry programs of Boka, Momotaro, and Swift and Sons. In 2015 and 2017 she was a James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef finalist, was awarded Chicago Tribune Pastry Chef of the Year in 2016 and won the Jean Banchet Pastry Chef of the Year in 2017.
Chef Meg was a James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef finalist in 2018.
Prior to joining Boka Restaurant Group, Meg was an international semifinalist in the Valrhona C3 competition and placed first in the Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition.
Today, Meg serves as the Executive Pastry Chef for Boka.