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Tim Hockett

Tim Hockett

Chef Partner of Wow Bao

Tim’s culinary education began 25 years ago when he took a summer job as a food runner at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Magggiano’s. For the first time in his life, he saw a professional kitchen, with sauces being made from scratch, whole fish being fileted, and a kitchen team serving thousands of people every night. He was hooked instantly and knew the fast and crazy pace of a professional kitchen is where he wanted to be.  Tim quickly decided to enroll and graduate from Washburne Culinary School in Chicago. 

From there, Tim worked his way up the culinary ladder, within and outside of Lettuce -- ice sculpting at Nadeau’s Ice House, learning Cajun cuisine at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, opening Vong and Vong’s Thai Kitchen with Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and working at  Chef Rick Tramonto’s acclaimed TRU.

After two years in Charlottesville, VA, as the Chef/Partner of Fuel Co. Bistro & Café and Kluge Estate Farm Shop, Tim returned to Chicago to join the Lettuce team as a corporate chef, working directly with Rich Melman to create new dishes and helping to open the newest Lettuce restaurants.  He then partnered with Scott Barton and Randy Brand to create 7 entirely new concepts and open 14 restaurants, including M Burger, Tallboy Taco, and Big City Chicken.  

In 2014, Tim started cooking for and leading the growing Wow Bao team with CEO Geoff Alexander. As Vice-President of Culinary Operations, Tim has helped the Wow Bao brand expand from 5 Chicago stores to over 500 dark kitchens throughout the US & Canada, 6 airport locations, and products in 1,000+ grocery fresh & frozen sections. Wow Bao is the first restaurant to top Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers list twice, winning the award in 2019 and 2022.