Everything You Need To Know About Chef Paul Wahlberg

If you've heard of the reality television series "Wahlburgers," then you probably already know at least two things about Chef Paul Wahlberg. First, he is a founder and co-owner of the wildly popular Wahlburger restaurant chain. Second, he runs the franchise with his famous younger brothers, actor Mark Wahlberg and musician/actor Donnie Wahlberg. Of course, there is so much more to this chef-turned-reality-television-star than what you've seen on TV.

If you've watched "Wahlburgers," then you know that Paul has been drawn to the culinary world ever since his first catering job in high school. He attributes his interest in catering to his passion for helping other people and his love for his mother Alma's home-cooked meals. He earned his chops in the kitchens of numerous Boston restaurants including The Charles Hotel, The Four Seasons, and Bridgeman's, where he eventually rose to the rank of executive chef. From there, he collaborated with Mark and Donnie to open their own restaurant Alma Nove before ultimately launching the first Wahlburgers restaurant.

The reality show of the same name soon followed. It ran from 2014 to 2019 and offered viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how they run their restaurant chain. But since Paul is not drawn to the limelight in the same way Mark and Donnie are, you would have to binge every episode to learn these interesting facts about this humble gourmet.

He has made some outrageous burgers

As the driving culinary force behind the Wahlburgers franchise, Chef Paul has concocted some truly intriguing burger specials throughout the history of his restaurant. There's the Pierogi Burger, which is topped with actual pierogies. There's the Chowda Burger with Boston-style chowder. There's the Hot Dog Jenny McCarthy Burger, which is basically a deconstructed Chicago dog. There is even the Bermuda Triangle Burger, which is topped with mint and mango lobster ceviche. 

The burger selection at Wahlburgers is constantly rotating, which demonstrates that cooking is both a passion and a creative outlet for Paul. And his unorthodox choice of ingredients clearly demonstrates that he is not afraid to try something new in the kitchen. Yet, Paul once told Frisco in an interview that his favorite sandwich is The Our Burger — a classic beef burger with government cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles. So ultimately, Paul is a purist at heart.

He still gets picked on by his brothers

As the fifth oldest of the nine Wahlberg siblings, Paul technically has seniority over Mark and Donnie, the other co-owners of Wahlburgers. However, that doesn't save him from being bullied and pranked by his two younger brothers in private and public. It was a regular feature of their reality TV show centered around the restaurant.

In Season 5, Episode 4, Mark tricks Paul into thinking he has to move to the United Arab Emirates for a year only to embarrass him in front of a business partner from Dubai. In Season 3, Episode 2, Donnie strongarms Paul out of their shared childhood bedroom when they are both visiting their mother. In Season 1, Episode 7, Donnie and Mark fool Paul into working on a bizarre Wahlburgers jingle. Their familial relationship remains intact despite the japery, though, as this is fairly common behavior between brothers. In a 2014 interview with Boston Magazine, Paul says his brothers "like to push my buttons" but acknowledges that it is all in good fun.

He is credited in two major motion pictures

As a central character of the "Wahlburgers" TV series, there is no doubt that Paul Wahlberg is a bona fide reality television star. But Paul's first forays into the entertainment business may have happened six years before the hit show on the sets of two 2008 films. Paul is credited on IMDb in "Max Payne" as the personal chef and trainer for his brother, Mark Wahlberg. He is also credited as Mark's personal chef in "The Happening."

His brother played the lead role in both of these films, so it is plausible that he earned the gig as a part of Mark's contract to star in the films. And though neither Wahlberg brother has confirmed this, it is possible that Mark hiring Paul came in the wake of their father Donald's death in 2008. It's reasonable to believe that this tragic loss was instrumental in bringing the family as close together as they are now.

He puts his signature Wahl Sauce on everything

While you may expect an executive chef to have more refined dining habits than your average restaurant-goer (and they do), many of them eat like ordinary people at home. This includes Chef Paul, who recently stated in an interview with AXS TV that his comfort condiment is Wahlburgers' signature sauce, Wahl Sauce. Wahl Sauce is featured extensively on the Wahlburgers menu and can be purchased online at Walmart and Amazon.

Though Chef Paul won't readily give up the secret ratios that make Wahl Sauce special, you can make a rough approximation at home. It calls for the use of sauteed onions, parsley, sriracha, ketchup, and mayonnaise. You might not get it exactly right on your own, but you can use your own personal taste, plus our tips on how to make incredible sauces to make it your own. Chef Paul would want you to prepare the sauce to your own tastes anyway. After all, he regularly showcases his passion for making custom-curated dishes. It's part of what makes him such a likable guy!

He is reportedly worth millions

Paul Wahlberg has been quite successful as the founder of an international restaurant chain and reality television star, and has an estimated net worth of $10 million as of 2023. This figure would include the valuation of his partial ownership of the Wahlburgers franchise, which he co-owns with his two brothers.

And how much is Wahlburgers worth? It's not a publicly owned company so that information isn't readily available. However, industry estimates pin Wahlburgers as having an estimated annual revenue of almost $100 million as of 2023. It can be concluded that this is the largest contributing factor to Paul Wahlberg's success.

That said, Paul appears to never flaunt his wealth. After all, the Wahlberg siblings maintain a strong connection to their working-class upbringing. So much so, in fact, that it is a core concept behind the menu at Wahlburgers, whose dishes seek to recreate homemade flavors from his own childhood. That's also why the menu refers to American cheese as "government cheese" — a reference to welfare.

Paul donates to and participates in a number of charity groups too. He's done work with the Light for Levi Foundation, the Bissell Pet Foundation, the Felix Project, and more. You'll always see Paul dressed modestly at these events too. He is usually hidden behind a baseball cap with a bent brim and a plain button-up shirt, if not his plain white chef's uniform.

He once golfed with Bobby Orr

If you're a fan of the "Wahlburgers" TV show, it should come as no surprise that Paul and his brothers love golf. One of the more memorable golfing moments from the show is when Paul got to play with Bobby Orr, a former member of the Boston Bruins on the show and a childhood hero of Paul's. He also plays with his brothers on several occasions.

Paul isn't the standout Wahlberg on the green but he enjoys the game the most when plugging along and playing at his own pace. According to an interview with The Anchor, Paul said one thing on his bucket list is to "shoot par on the front nine at South Shore Country Club." He follows the sport professionally too.

Paul's love for golf has occasionally blended with his philanthropic efforts as well. In 2021, he attended the Feldman Automotive Children's Miracle Celebrity Invitational, a 2021 charity golf tournament, along with his four brothers, Mark, Jim, Robert, and Brandon.

He also owns Alma Nove

While Wahlburgers is Paul's most successful culinary venture, it isn't his first. Paul opened his first restaurant, Alma Nove, with financial assistance from his brothers Mark and Donnie. The restaurant was named Alma Nove after his mother Alma and her nine children (nove is Italian for nine). It is located right on the waterfront in Hingham, Massachusetts, which is an ideal setting for upscale dining. That might explain why the restaurant has earned three dollar signs on Yelp.

Alma Nove's menu trends toward upscale Italian, with the courses being labeled by their Italian names (antipasti, primi, secondi, etc.). Some of the restaurant's signature dishes include pork meatballs with polenta, sauteed mussels, tagliatelli with short ribs, pan-seared halibut, and grilled sirloin steak. Suffice it to say, it offers more of a refined dining experience than Paul Wahlberg's fast-food chain. Of course, fans who come to Hingham to try Chef Paul Wahlberg's cooking need not be picky, as there is a Wahlburgers across the street.

He's lived in Massachusetts almost his whole life

While both his restaurant chain and his siblings have spread far and wide across the globe, Chef Paul has lived in the same state for almost his whole life, specifically around Massachusetts Bay. He grew up in Dorchester, where his mother lived for her entire life.

All of the restaurants he cut his teeth in are in the greater Boston area as well. The Charles Hotel is in Cambridge, Bridgeman's is in Hull, and the Four Seasons is in downtown Boston. Of course, Boston also serves as the home of Alma Nove and the anchor location for Wahlburgers.

While not all of Paul's residential history is public knowledge, he's only referenced living in one other place in his lifetime. Paul mentioned to Boston Magazine that he briefly lived in Washington, D.C. when he worked with Michel Richard. Aside from that, Paul is a bona fide born-and-raised Bostonian.

He has always been accident-prone

Considering that clumsy individuals don't typically last long in commercial kitchens, it may come as a surprise to you that Paul is characterized by his friends and family as highly accident-prone. In Season 1, Episode 1 of "Wahlburgers," Paul and his mother reminisce about the countless times she had to pick him up from Carney Hospital after his injuries. One of his worst injuries came from a football accident and resulted in Paul getting stitches in his hand. Even when his klutzy behavior wasn't earning him a ticket to the emergency room, his mother remembers him regularly slamming into doorframes as well as falling up and down the stairs.

Apparently, Paul's propensity for injury follows him on the road too. In Season 1, Episode 8 of "Wahlburgers," Donnie chided Paul for crashing every car his family ever owned, including his car, Mark's car, and Paul's own car. In Paul's defense, Boston has (historically) some of the worst drivers in the U.S., as reported by Boston.com. That said, there is another common denominator to these stories: Paul behind the wheel.

His birthday is a bit of a mystery

While there is no doubt that Paul was born in 1964, there is apparently some confusion about the exact date of his birth. As he recalls in Season 1, Episode 8 of "Wahlburgers," he had been celebrating his birthday on March 18th up until he turned 22 and first viewed his own birth certificate and saw a different date listed. He now celebrates his birthday as it is listed on his birth certificate — March 20th. But is City Hall always right?

Donnie insists that Paul's birthday is actually March 18th. His mother always insisted the 20th seemed wrong but could not say for sure which day her fourth-born child. You can't blame Alma for that one, though. Remember, she had nine children in total. However, considering that both sides of the argument have some credibility, Paul will always have to live with this uncertainty about his actual birthday.

Jacques Pépin is his kitchen idol

Family meals may have been the primary inspiration for Paul's career ambitions but watching Jacques Pépin on television definitely served as a catalyst in the mind of the young Wahlberg boy. Jacques is a French chef, television host, and author who is famous for making accessible instructional content.

In Season 1, Episode 8 of "Wahlburgers," Donnie arranges a meeting between Paul and Jacques and Paul uses the opportunity to profess his respect and appreciation. Jacques offers to visit Paul at Alma Nove as well, though sadly it was not filmed for the show if he did actually visit.

Paul also has influences closer to home. In an interview with Boston Magazine, he credits Boston chefs Lydia Shire, Todd English, and Ken Oringer for running some of his favorite restaurants. He mentions that he enjoys eating at Boston restaurants like Clio, Toro, and Coppa on the rare occasions that he gets to eat at other restaurants.

He whittles when he's not behind the grill

While you'll most typically see Paul use a knife in the kitchen, he actually has an entirely separate hobby that's all about creating art with masterful knife strokes. According to South Shore, Paul occasionally whittles in his downtime. To him, carving aesthetically-pleasing wooden figures is the ideal way to unwind when he is overwhelmed by the stresses of the kitchen.

Paul was drawn to this meditative and creative craft by his friend and carving mentor, Bill Sarni. Sarni has won countless awards for his duck decoys and is considered one of the best whittlers in the country. With his training, Paul has carved animal figures like duck decoys, polar bears, and sperm whales for himself. But you won't find his work prominently displayed in public, nor will you likely find it for sale. For Paul, it is more of a social activity than another craft to obsess over. He already has cooking for that.