ABOUT WORKSHOP KITCHEN + BAR
Located in the historic El Paseo Building in Uptown Palm Springs Design District on North Palm Canyon Drive, Workshop has been one of the most popular destinations in Palm Springs since opening in 2011. In a city known for its beautiful landscapes, eccentric modernism, celebrity residents and stunning architecture, Palm Springs has been a destination for locals and travelers seeking a smartly refined getaway.
Helmed by Chef/Owner Michael Beckman, along with partner Joseph Mourani, the 2015 James Beard Award winning restaurant for best restaurant design features a market-driven menu comprised of seasonal food highlights harvested from local farms and offers a bar program unlike any other desert establishment.
For a contemporary experience in the dining room or a leisurely meal under the olive tree, Workshop in Palm Springs is the perfect desert dining destination.
Executive Chef, Co-Owner
A SoCal native, Michael Beckman has not only witnessed the drastic evolution of dining in Southern California, he has been instrumental in its course, joining rank with his Workshop Kitchen + Bar.
Beckman’s love of the table began as a student at the University of San Francisco, where the city long revered for its culinary scene made a marking impression on him at a young age. Michael spent three years in fairly rigorous front-of-the-house training programs at Kuleto’s and Il Fornaio, where he’d take notes from line up and conversations with chefs and reproduce the dishes at home. His affinity for wine and of European regional cooking followed suite. Read more about Michael
In 2000, Michael earned his B.A. at U.S.F. and decided to dive head first into French cooking. He landed in Geneva, Switzerland, where for 2 years he cooked at an eclectic centre ville bistro, a traditional countryside French restaurant near Geneva’s vineyards, and at a sushi hot spot honing his knife skills as a fishmonger.
Determined to join the brigades of a 3 Michelin-star restaurant, Michael saw Lyon’s prestigious L’Institute Paul Bocuse as a gateway to the next level. He spent the next two years under the wing of four Meilleur Oeuvriers de France instructors at IBP, as well as apprenticing at Burgundy’s 3 Michelin-star “Lameloise”, before landing a Chef de Partie position with Ritz Carlton, Berlin where he cooked under chef Thomas Kellermann (of Munich’s Tantris and of Kastell at Hotel Burg Wernberg).
Chef’s return to California led to a series of elite private chef positions in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and Rancho Mirage, where his drive to source the absolute best ingredients for his clients and prepare them simply helped focus his locally sourced, distinct style of cooking. Shopping the farmers’ markets each week and keeping pace with restaurant trends led in many ways to his vision of Workshop.
Since 2012, Beckman’s first brick and mortar concept Workshop Kitchen + Bar has had a major impact on the community’s dining scene, hitting the mark with his seasonal cooking, contemporary and classic cocktails, and award winning design, contributing to a re-branded Palm Springs desert chic. The London-based Restaurant and Bar Design Awards crowned Workshop #1 in the US for 2013; Sunset magazine featured Workshop as an Editor’s Pick; Zagat includes Workshop in its Top 9 in greater Palm Springs; Thrillist named the restaurant in their Top 47 Restaurant & Bars in LA, as well as their Top 12 Best SoCal Restaurants Not in LA or OC. Workshop has also garnered attention from Wallpaper Magazine, Dwell Magazine, Palm Springs Life Magazine, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Architectural Record, Delta Sky Magazine, Eater LA, Thirsty In LA, Forbes Magazine and Bon Appetit. Show less
Feeling that the word “mixologist,” is more of a fashion statement than a job title, Dave Castillo provides more than fifteen years’ experience as a bartender to his role as bar manager, serving up original and classic cocktails to complement the brunch and dinner menus at desert hotspot Workshop Kitchen + Bar. Read more about Dave
At the age of 22, Castillo began working in restaurants. First in serving roles, he eventually became bartender at Pane e Vino in Brea, Calif. where he realized his passion for cocktail execution. He then worked at the Grand Californian Hotel in Anaheim and 320 Main in Seal Beach, where he further refined his craft. Now bar manager at Palm Springs’ market-driven destination Workshop Kitchen + Bar, his experience behind the bar has led him to become a member of the United States Bartender Guild and a sommelier under the International Court of Master Sommeliers.
His work and expertise hasn’t gone unnoticed. When Castillo worked as bar manager at 320 Main, the Golden Foodie Awards nominated the restaurant for “Best Cocktails” in 2012 and he received their honor of the “Best Mixologist” in 2013. Most recently in 2016 Castillo won the title of “Best Bartender in the Desert.”
Further showcasing his passion for cocktail culture and skill, Dave Castillo, along with his partner behind the bar and in life, Michelle Bearden, has created an intriguing cocktail menu for Truss & Twine; a bar and small plates venue in Palm Springs. Owned and operated by the same team behind Workshop Kitchen + Bar, Truss & Twine is anchored by the drinks program. Serving a cocktail menu separated into eras of cocktail culture from the “Golden Age” to “Modern Day,” focusing on elevated versions of familiar beverages with a commitment to execution. Show less
With a deep-rooted passion for hospitality and guest connection, Bar Manager of Workshop Kitchen + Bar, Michelle Bearden, brings a devotion to house-made cocktails, using simple ingredients, coupled with skillful execution. Read more about Michelle
Perfecting her talent through various hospitality positions, prior to her role at Workshop Kitchen + Bar, Bearden worked as a server at Walt’s Warf in Seal Beach. Swiftly moving on to a similar role at 555 East in Long Beach. In 2010, Bearden pursued her passion, transitioning into a bartending role at 320 Main, a restaurant in Seal Beach that won the Golden Foodie Award for “Best Cocktails” in 2012.
Further showcasing her skill and bar expertise, Michelle Bearden, along with her partner and fellow bar manager Dave Castillo, has created an intriguing cocktail menu for Truss & Twine; a bar and small plates venue in Palm Springs. Owned and operated by the same team behind Workshop Kitchen + Bar, Truss & Twine is anchored by the drinks program. Serving a cocktail menu separated into eras of cocktail culture from the “Golden Age” to “Modern Day,” focusing on elevated versions of familiar beverages with a commitment to execution. Show less
Chef Max Becker’s interest in cuisine and the restaurant industry stems from his family’s wholesale dairy distributing company, giving Becker an early understanding and interest in the farm to table concept of the food industry. Read more about Max
With his interests put to the test when Becker began his career working at Gibson’s Steakhouse in Chicago, over three and a half years Becker worked his way up the culinary ladder, beginning as a “spot cleaner” and eventually becoming a Sous Chef. To further perfect his craft, Becker enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After graduating, he gained more experience as a chef through his work in New York, Miami, and Naples.
Since his move to Palm Springs, Becker has worked as Sous Chef at Cuistot, Chef de Cuisine at The Spa Casino, and Executive Chef at the Kaiser Restaurant Group.
Becker has worked at Workshop Kitchen + Bar since its opening. Now in the Chef De Cuisine role, he is heavily involved in menu development and execution along with Executive Chef Michael Beckman. He has a passion for utilizing multiple techniques in dish construction and takes pride in working with local farms and sustainable products whenever possible. Show less
Sean Jemai was born in Trapani, Sicily and spent his childhood in the South of France. At the age of 15, Sean began working in restaurants and various wineries around the area. His early exposure to food and wine influenced Sean to attend AIM University in Paris where he studied hotel and restaurant management. Read more about Sean
After 2 years, Jemai moved to Florence, Italy and began a 1-year internship at Hotel Unicorno, a boutique hotel and Trattoria La Madia. His passion for winemaking led him to earning his first degree as a sommelier.
In August 2000, Jemai moved to New York to work for the renowned Tony May at San Domenico. His role as assistant sommelier and floor captain exposed him to the real world of running restaurants. With this knowledge, Jemai moved to Hermosa Beach and opened his first restaurant, Amore Trattoria. After a year, he opened La Maschera in Pasadena, a dual restaurant and wine bar concept, which earned the honors of “Best Wine Bar in Los Angeles,” with Gayot and Los Angeles Magazine. He later became the general manager and wine director of II Grano in West LA, beverage director for Scarpetta in Beverly Hill’s Montage Hotel, and further trained with Thomas Keller at Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills.
Since, Jemai gained his second degree as a sommelier and has moved to the desert starting a chapter at Workshop Kitchen + Bar, where he oversees the wine program in addition to managing the day-to-day operations of the restaurant. Show less