Executive Chef of Juniper Table and 4 Saints at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel
As Executive Chef, Stephen Wambach brings 20 years of experience to the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel. Located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains, the hotel seamlessly blends sleek architecture and rugged, desert-chic aesthetics with sophisticated, unfussy glamour. Under Wambach’s expertise, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel offers guests and locals a variety of culinary experiences under one roof — from an all-day Mediterranean café called Juniper Table to Four Saints, the elevated rooftop restaurant featuring recipes and techniques from the chef’s travels abroad.
Prior to joining the Kimpton family, Wambach trained with distinguished chefs and brought his knowledge and passion to top-notch restaurants around the globe. The Manhattan native began at an early age, stocking shelves at his grandparents’ general store. His first role in a professional kitchen was in 1999 as a chef tournant at Manhattan’s 44 at the Royalton Hotel. He was mentored by consulting chef Claude Troisgros and guest chefs Marc Meneau, Jean-Michel Lorain, and Jean-Pierre Vigato in one-month intervals.
With a recommendation from the chef de cuisine, Wambach received an apprenticeship at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant L’Esperance in Burgundy, where he developed his keen attention to detail. Troisgros then hand-selected Wambach to transfer to The Blue Door in Miami’s Delano Hotel to work as sous chef under Chef de Cuisine Damon Gordon, where he helped the restaurant attain four Mobil stars. In 2004, Wambach opened French-inspired Brazilian restaurant Caviar Banana in New York, following a six-month stint at Troisgros’ Olympe in Rio de Janeiro.
He was next mentored by the acclaimed chef Laurent Tourondel, who was quick to promote him to chef de cuisine at the flagship location of BLT Steak in New York and then corporate chef with the BLT Restaurant Group. Wambach opened concepts in multiple cities, such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Dallas, managing 14 restaurants’ food and labor costs, creating menus, collaborating with the project manager, overseeing more than 300 international employees, and organizing special events for Tourondel, including a lunch at the White House.
Ready to make a personalized mark, Wambach relocated to Chicago in 2009 to open Epic, which earned numerous accolades, including Esquire’s “20 Best New Restaurants.” During the same year, he also opened BLT locations in Hong Kong and Miami in just under an 11-month period.
Thereafter, Food & Beverage Director Christian Klaus hired him to consult on The Grill Room, a Mediterranean-influenced restaurant at The Four Seasons Hotel Beirut in Lebanon. In 2013, Wambach joined contemporary, Michelin-starred restaurant Marc Forgione as chef de cuisine in New York.
Most recently, Wambach led the 5-star Four Seasons Chicago as executive chef, revamping Allium restaurant to receive 3 stars from the Chicago Tribune. He was also one of two company chefs invited to headline Chef Fest in Hualalai, Hawaii.