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 2014 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
We are not mixologists!
I hear a lot of people calling themselves that around here. I have never called myself that. I have been a bartender for about 15 years and am still a bartender. Some people feel like the title “Bartender” isn’t befitting of someone who does what I do. I have never felt that, but if I were to dress it up I’d say I’m a “Craft Bartender”. It is a craft, one that requires a set of skills and a whole lot of homework. I feel like the mixologist is nothing more than a fashion statement. Read more about Dave
Anyone can throw on a vest or pair of suspenders, grow some ironic facial hair, wear a silly hat, a pair of skinny jeans, and some kind of work boots and become a mixologist. Funny thing is it became a joke years ago. You’ve seen the videos on YouTube I’m sure. Funnier still is that it has always been a joke. What these people don’t know is that the word started as a snide, an insult. It was in the early 1860s when, I can just picture it, some drunk, obnoxious guy was sitting at a bar, watching a bartender mix drinks, utilizing tools and techniques he had likely never seen before. The drunk guy spoke up and said “Hey, look at him. He’s a real mixologist!” He surely accomplished his mission of getting a good laugh whilst simultaneously insulting the poor guy behind the bar. The only reason the title has lasted so long is because of the lack of something better coming along. Now people who don’t want to dedicate a little of their time to learn about their “craft” wear it like a badge of honor. I say let them; it only makes us look better. Show less
Max Becker is currently the Chef de Cuisine at Workshop Kitchen + Bar in Palm Springs, Ca. As part of the opening team, Chef Max began his term at WKB as the Sous Chef and was promoted to his current title in April 2015. Read more about Max
Born in Chicago, but raised in California, Max spent time in restaurants at a young age. Through his family business, a wholesale dairy distributing company, Max developed a love for cuisine and the restaurant business. Becker’s culinary career began at the famed Gibson’s Steakhouse, located on Rush Street in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Working under Chefs Audry Triplet and Laura Piper, and moving his way up from “spot cleaner” to AM Sous Chef over a span of three and a half years.
Max had found his calling in the kitchen and decided to go to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After Graduating in 2004 with a degree in Culinary Arts. He worked as a cook in New York, Miami, and Naples, before returning to the west coast. Cooking in Palm Springs for the past eight years, Max ran kitchens in facilities all over the desert, including Cuistot, the Kaiser Restaurant group, The Spa Casino, and private catering. He held titles such as Sous Chef (Cuistot), Chef de Cuisine (The Spa Casino), and Executive Chef (Kaiser Restaurant group), before opening WKB in 2012.
Chef Max’s passion for sourcing the best local ingredients and the combination of multiple styles of cuisine has made WKB a perfect place for him to fine-tune his skills and execution. Working under the tutelage of Executive Chef/Owner Michael Beckman, he has brought farm to table cuisine to the desert. Show less
I was born in Trapani, Sicily in 1979, and at 7 years-old moved to South France, Marseille because of my father heritage. I spent about 14 years there, always working in local restaurants during school breaks. I bussed, served, washed dishes, and prepped. I started working at the age of 15, as well working for wineries during harvest, just basic labor, from picking grapes, to crushing and bottling them. Read more about Sean
After high school, I moved to Paris, to attend AIM University (Academy International de Management) to study hotel and restaurant management, which is first university in France to give classes in English back then. After 2 years, I moved to Florence, Italy for a 1-year internship at Hotel Unicorno (boutique hotel), and Trattoria La Madia. I then went back to Bordeaux France to attend enology school. I was into wine and within 1-year earned my first degree as a sommelier and, of course, I was working at a local restaurant at the same time.
In August 2000, I moved to New York. My mentor recommended me to work at San Domenico, for Mr. Tony May—a legend in Italy. I started working as an assistant sommelier/floor captain, it was a great experience to be exposed to the real world of busy restaurants, particular guests, very demanding patrons, and most importantly I was learning how to run a restaurant and put together a beverage program.
In September 2002, I moved to Hermosa Beach, California, a small town on by the ocean, to open my first restaurant. The place was called Amore Trattoria, a simple Florentine kitchen with an Italian and American wine focused program.
In 2005 I sold Amore Trattoria to move to a bigger space in Pasadena, we called it La Maschera. It was a two-concept project. One side was a ristorante and the other was Enoteca, a wine bar concept with small plates service and a big service table with lots of options of cheeses, salumi and olives. We were nominated as the top wine bar in Los Angeles for 2 years in the row by Gayot and Los Angeles Magazine. We had over 25 wines by the glass from all over the world, we served Spanish wines, French, Italian and of course Americans. We were changing the list constantly, as well as that of our extensive beer list, all of which from small breweries from around the world.
In 2008 we closed La Maschera due to the economy so I went to work at Il Grano with Salvatore Marino as GM/Wine Director, in west LA. He was the first restaurateur to introduce crudo to LA. We curated a very focused wine list in Burgundies, Germans and Italians due to our seafood driven concept. We won Wine Spectator’s Grand Award. We even had a 7-page review in 2009 in the same magazine by James Sukling. I learned a lot about small villages in Burgundy, a lot about German wines and different villages and appellations. During that time, I remember serving lots of true foodies, wine critics, top chefs and, of course, celebrities who really loved good food and wine.
In 2010 I joined Scarpetta in Beverly Hills’ Montage Hotel by Scott Conan. We had the same connections since our New York days. He worked at San Domenico as well. When I heard he was in town we connected and I became his sommelier for over 4 years. I was promoted within that time to beverage director, and always helped manage the restaurant as well. I focused on service, staff training at the same time. During that period I gained my second degree as a sommelier from the court of Master Sommeliers in North America. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
I learned a lot from Scott. He cooks very modern and sexy (his word) Italian dishes, in a casual concept and yet the service has to be top notch. He reminded me of my back round and focused on conviviality and the true meaning of hospitality: treating people as guests, not costumers.
In late 2014 I joined Thomas Keller at Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills. I did very intensive training with the TKRG team in deferent positions and locations. I learned a lot about discipline, structure, since of urgency, and that being talented is not enough. It was the biggest operation I’ve worked in. We did a lots of parties for celebrities, as well a lots of off-site events like the Vanity Fair event and The Oscars. Unfortunately, I was not feeling the same passion and love that I’ve always had for our profession. It was very corporate, this environment is all about pleasing the A-lister and not the everyday guest for whom the concept of bistro was created. We had a lots of conversations about his vision for a bistro, a Michelin Star restaurant, wine program, service style… it was inspiring to hear him talk about his vision and ideas about our profession. Ultimately I decided to leave the company
Now I’m here in the desert; beginning a new chapter in my career. Show less