DMACC President Rob Denson (above, left) and Chef John Andres (above, right), Executive Chef and Director of the Iowa Culinary Institute (ici®) at DMACC, ​join Chef Paul Wahlberg (above, center), Executive Chef of Wahlburgers, for a photo as Denson presents Wahlberg with an ICI at DMACC medallion on Mon., April 8, during the celebrity chef's visit to campus.

Chef Paul Wahlberg, who is the fifth of nine siblings in the well-known Wahlberg family — his brothers include actor Mark Wahlberg and singer and actor Donnie Wahlberg —​ toured the ICI at DMACC and met with current culinary students and staff members while also in town to visit Hy-Vee headquarters in West Des Moines. Hy-Vee has maintained a robust partnership with Wahlburgers since 2018, including operating Wahlburgers restaurants in a number of its grocery stores (read more here).

Chef Paul Wahlberg Visits ICI at DMACC

Chef Paul Wahlberg (above) wears an Iowa Culinary Institute (ici®) at DMACC​ chef's uniform while proudly displaying the ICI at DMACC medallion he was gifted by DMACC President Rob Denson. As a role model to his now-famous younger brothers Donnie and Mark, Paul spent a lot of his time in the kitchen with his mother while growing up. In high school, he began his culinary career by washing dishes in a family friend's restaurant and working in catering before cutting his culinary teeth in local kitchens and working his way up to becoming an executive chef. He has created menus is several renowned restaurants in the Boston and Washington, D.C., areas.

Chef Paul Wahlberg Visits ICI at DMACC

Chef Paul Wahlberg (above, foreground) listens intently as DMACC Culinary Arts students lead a tour of the Iowa Culinary Institu​te (ici®) at DMACC kitchens while Chef John Andres (above, background), Executive Chef and Director of the ICI at DMACC, looks on.

Chef Paul Wahlberg Visits ICI at DMACC

First-year DMACC Culinary Arts students Gabrielle Woolman (above, left) of Urbandale and Saaliyah Singleton (above, center) of St. Louis, Mo., and originally from Fort Dodge, both grin as Chef Paul Wahlberg (above, right) recounts some memorable moments and learning experiences from his days as a young chef. Woolman and Singleton gave Chef Wahlberg a guided tour of the Iowa Culinary Institu​te (ici®) at DMACC​ facilities at the Ankeny Campus.

Chef Paul Wahlberg Visits ICI at DMACC

DMACC Culinary Arts student Devyn Smith (above, left) tells Chef Paul Wahlberg (above, right) about a mouth-watering array of desserts prepared by students in an Advanced Pastry class.

Chef Paul Wahlberg Visits ICI at DMACC

Chef Paul Wahlberg (above, right) digs into one of the desserts prepared by DMACC Culinary Arts student Alex Pennington (above, left) of Indianola and his classmates. Chef Wahlberg had high praise for ICI at DMACC students, complimenting their attention to detail and consistent quality.

Chef Paul Wahlberg Visits ICI at DMACC

After touring the Iowa Culinary Institute (ici®) at DMACC kitchens and sampling student creations, Chef Paul Wahlberg (above) leads a hour-long discussion with students. The Boston native shared his experiences as an executive chef, his entrepreneurial advice as a restaurant owner and his guidance for future culinary professionals. 

"The energy you get when working in a restaurant is second to none," Wahlberg said. "People have a lot of choices, and if you want them to choose to dine at your restaurant, you have to earn it. We are nothing without happy guests; make their trip worth it."

Chef Paul Wahlberg Visits ICI at DMACC

Chef Paul Wahlberg (above, standing) relays some pieces of advice he would give his younger self and other young chefs today:

  • ​"Don't be an idiot."

  • "Everything is YES; everything is I can. Don't turn down an opportunity to learn, especially when it is right in front of you."

  • "Take care of your knives and kitchen equipment."

  • "The fundamentals matter; never stop working on your knife skills, practice your searing technique again and again."

  • "Keep an open mind."​

Chef Paul Wahlberg Visits ICI at DMACC

Timothy Gibbs (above, left), a Madrid High School senior and DMACC Career Advantage dual-enrollment student at the DMACC Ames Hunziker​ Center, snags a photo with Chef Paul Wahlberg (above, right) during the celebrity chef's visit to the Iowa Culinary Institute (ici®) at DMACC​.

Chef Paul Wahlberg Visits ICI at DMACC

A group of DMACC Culinary Arts students join Chef Paul Wahlberg (above, center) for a photo on Mon., April 8, after hearing him speak at the Iowa Culinary Institute (ici®) at DMACC​. 

To learn more about the ICI at DMACC, visit


-  Nola Aigner Davis, Hy-Vee, (641) 430-9170,

-  Chef John Andres, Iowa Culinary Institute (ici®) at DMACC, (515) 964-6624, 

-  Lisa Schmitz, DMACC Public Relations, (515) 964-6813,