George Bumbaris studied architecture, opened a body shop to work on cars, and dabbled in construction, but he was always looking at his watch wondering when his next break was. However, this didn’t happen when he was home cooking. So he went to culinary school at Dumas Pere in Glencoe, Illinois and when he finished in 1983, he was hired by Great Chef Fernand Guiterrez at the Ritz-Carlton about the same time the Great Chefs Television team was taping Chef Guiterrez for their Great Chefs of Chicago series. In 1989, Chef Bumbaris was named executive sous chef at the Ritz-Carlton and two years later, when Chef Guiterrez left for Mexico, Chef Bumbaris was appointed executive chef.
He won many awards for his culinary excellence including first place for the USA in the 26th Prix Culinaire International Pierre Tattinger in 1992. He was also responsible for hiring Great Chef Sarah Stegner and bringing her aboard at the Chicago Ritz-Carlton in the Watertower Place building.
The Great Chefs television crew returned to Chicago in 1994 to tape Chef Bumbaris for their Great Chefs – Great Cities series for the Discovery Channel.
In 2004, after spending 20+ years at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, Chef George Bumbaris and Sarah Stegner left to open their own restaurant, Prairie Grass Café in Northbrook, Illinois and are celebrating their 12th anniversary now in 2016.