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Yes, Chef

(page 2 of 4)


TO EXECUTIVE chef PAUL KULIK, success at one of Omaha’s most prestigious restaurants is often measured in loss.

“Graduating people from the BOILER ROOM system, losing them to other places or to new projects of their own, is among the most satisfying things we do. They leave here with a commitment to quality and a pride in what they do. The community– both the food community and the broader community– is better for it.”

But it hasn’t always been that way, Kulik explained.

“I grew up in an Omaha where your goal was to get out because it was a cultural wasteland. Flash forward 15 years and I was still having the same conversations in restaurants,” Kulik remarked on one of the few careers where one can log 20 years before 38 candles illuminate a cake. “The city itself seemed to have a lot of skepticism towards youth and its raw, creative energy. So people left.”


That trio serves as apt descriptors of both the Boiler Room and the city itself, one that has become something of a mini-Mecca for young professionals.

Kulik believes that the culinary landscape changed only after other, foundational transformations emerged. He points to Dario Schicke (see accompanying story) as being on a vanguard that has been more revolutionary than evolutionary in terms of creativity, but even that was predicated on something wholly “other.”

“The very ethos of Omaha has turned,” said the only man from a several state area who has ever been invited to cook at one of the vaunted fundraisers at the legendary BEARD HOUSE in New York City. Why does (indie recording star) CONNOR OBERST love Omaha? How about (Oscar-winning movie-maker) ALEXANDER PAYNE? It’s because Omaha produces great human capital.”

Capital that Paul Kulik intends to “lose” every chance he gets.





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