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The Wigwam Appoints Veteran Chef Christopher McLean as Executive Chef & Beverage Director
The Wigwam, a historic resort nestled in the West Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, has announced the appointment of Christopher McLean as Executive Chef & Beverage Director. McLean brings over two decades of professional experience earned in kitchens, film sets, presidential kitchens, wine cellars, and directing food-and-beverage operations at hotels and resorts across the American West to his role. He now leads all culinary and beverage operations of the landmark property, including managing teams and fashioning menus for four resort restaurants - Litchfield's, Red Allen's Bar & Grill, Wigwam Bar, and Tower Pool Bar & Grill - as well as in-room dining, sourcing fresh seasonal ingredients, and ensuring the success of onsite banqueting and catering operations.
Since his appointment, McLean has already begun making impactful moves at the desert resort which will debut a comprehensive renovation before the end of the year, beginning with a thoughtful refresh of Litchfield's, The Wigwam's signature and award-winning restaurant. McLean's influence includes elegant, ranch-inspired meals that encapsulate both a modern palate while honoring the restaurant and property's rich Southwestern history.
"We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to Chef Christopher McLean at The Wigwam." said Katy Powers, Managing Director of The Wigwam. "With his innovative culinary expertise and profound knowledge of wine, Chef Christopher is set to elevate The Wigwam's entire culinary and beverage program and we look forward to sharing his vision with our guests."
McLean arrived at The Wigwam from Omni Scottsdale Resort in Paradise Valley, Arizona, where he worked as Director of Food and Beverage leading and developing staff and working closely with the executive chef to re-energize restaurant and banquet menus with new dishes and created special dining and tasting events. McLean previously held the same position at Bernardus Lodge and Spa in Carmel Valley, California, and before that was Director of Restaurants at JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert, California, with responsibility for service operations of nine outlets. Other positions dotting McLean's extensive work history include Director of Food and Beverage at the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert; Executive Chef at Miramonte Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, California and Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort and Spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Chef de Cuisine of Red Sage Restaurant, Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort and Spa at Buffalo Thunder, also in Santa Fe.
A Certified Level 2 Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, he studied winemaking at more than 250 vineyards while cooking in some of Napa Valley's top kitchens for several years. McLean has been honored to cook for prestigious individuals during his career, from dignitaries and presidents to movie stars. He was the first-ever Chef and Sommelier to do wine-and-food pairings at the Presidential Palace in Ghana during his role as Executive Chef of Golden Tulip Accra in Ghana, West Africa and served as Special Events Chef for the President of Ghana, where he created events for royalty and heads of state, from the Queen of Sheba to the Prime Minister of Italy, on a weekly basis. He also coached the first-ever Ghanaian National Culinary Team and worked as Chef for the Lone Ranger movie while working in Santa Fe, where he served the cast and crew including Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer.
A U.S. Army veteran, McLean served as an Electronic Warfare Specialist, Intelligence Cryptologist and Linguist for the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps from 1992 to 2000, earning Russian Linguistic Certification at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California along the way. A motorcycle enthusiast who rides daily, McLean enjoys spending his downtime surfing, running marathons, and watching classic Marx Brother films.