Kitchen Doors: Celebrity Chef Angelo Sosa Opens Kembara

In December 2023, Kembara opened at JW Marriott Desert Ridge in North Phoenix. The menu at Kembara, which means “to wander,” is inspired by a variety of Asian flavors. It is the second restaurant at the resort from celebrity chef Angelo Sosa and restaurant developer Mark Stone, who opened Tia Carmen in 2022.

“The menu is an homage to my and Mark Stone’s travels across Asia with inspiration drawn from countries including Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan,” said Sosa, who has competed on “Top Chef,” “Iron Chef America” and “Beat Bobby Flay.” 

The menu embraces the rich tapestry of Asian street food culture with highlights that include black pepper Maine lobster — a riff on a Singaporean dish with oyster sauce, garlic and ginger — and Tuna Thai Jewel, a savory twist on a Thai dessert, with tuna sashimi and turmeric tapioca-dusted jicama in a lemongrass-ginger broth.

Kembara has one of the largest collections of Asian spirits in the United States, including Japanese whiskeys and sake, as well as spirits from India and Thailand.

In addition to the food and beverages, the design is a critical element of the experience. The space was designed by Thomas Schoos, who also designed Tia Carmen and other restaurants, including Morimoto in Napa and TAO in New York and Las Vegas.

“Thomas Schoos created a modern and vibrant space inspired by Asia’s night markets,” said Sosa. “The open kitchen layout offers glimpses of the team cooking at their woks and grills, infusing the space with energy.”

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About Shoshana Leon

Shoshana Leon is a culinary writer for Frontdoors Media and creator of Foodie Fo Sho.

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