JOHN RIVERA SEDLAR
Chef John Rivera Sedlar is proud to have been chosen to represent the cuisine of Los Angeles, California, in Bordeaux during Fête le Vin 2014, marking L.A.’s and Bordeaux’s 50-year partnership as Sister Cities.
Executive chef and partner at Rivera restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, Sedlar creates what he calls a “Modern Latin cuisine” that draws on the city’s five centuries of culinary evolution. In vividly composed plates that often employ cultural, social, and even political references as part of their presentation, he combines ingredients and cooking vernaculars ranging from Spain to North Africa and the Middle East, Mexico and Latin America to China and Japan—all part of the melting pot that makes Los Angeles today one of the most diverse food cities on the planet.
Helping to unify these diverse influences is John Sedlar’s personal training in classic French cuisine. A native of northern New Mexico who grew up in in the kitchens of his Mexican-American grandmother and great aunts, Sedlar originally moved to greater Los Angeles in 1973. Eventually, he apprenticed himself to the French master chef Jean Bertranou at L’Ermitage restaurant, and then, in late 1980, went on to launch his own restaurant, Saint Estèphe, which he named after the bottle of 1953 Cos d’Estournel from Bordeaux’s Saint-Estephe region that he opened to celebrate the business decision.
At Saint Estèphe, Sedlar first developed what came to be known as Modern Southwest Cuisine, combining the ingredients and dishes of his childhood with the nouvelle cuisine techniques and sensibilities he learned from Chef Bertranou. A progression of awards and accolades followed, including selection among the Top Ten Chefs in America and the First Annual Culinary Arts Hall of Fame Awards, a place on Food and Wine Magazine's Honor Roll of American Chefs, and being named Chef of the Year 2011 by Esquire magazine. Having traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Latin America, and Spain to study Latin food traditions first-hand, Sedlar is also the creator and founder of the first Latino food museum in the United States, Museum Tamal.