In 2011, renowned Chef John Sedlar received the prestigious “Chef of the Year” award from Esquire magazine for his cutting-edge neo-Latin cuisine. Sedlar is growing high in the sky of downtown Los Angeles for his second innovative roof-to-table concept, the Rivera restaurant on 1050 S. Flower Street, which features a Future Growing® Tower Garden® farm.
Chef John explained: “In 2012, while sharing my passion for Latin food traditions with business friends Bill Chait and Eddie Sotto, I began to imagine a restaurant that would celebrate Latin food in all its diverse variety. Bill and Eddie immediately got it, and together we very quickly evolved a vision for a fun, approachable, casual restaurant where guests could explore the world of Latin food and drink.”
That vision became Rivera, which not only takes its name from Sedlar’s Hispanic family name but also evokes the waters that flow through space and time to interlink the culinary traditions of Spanish-speaking Europe, North America, and South America.
“I feel I’ve come full circle,” says Sedlar. “I’m happy to be back in the kitchen, cooking and sharing the food that I love.”
During a television interview which took place at his rooftop Tower Garden® farm, Sedlar explained his motivation for aeroponic rooftop growing: “I couldn’t find what I needed from the farmers—or from the markets—the things that I needed for our urban Latin kitchen downstairs.” Gesturing toward the Tower Gardens® surrounding him, he continued: “So we searched, and we bought this!”
Being a steward of the environment, Sedlar is also very passionate about the reduced carbon footprint of his local food in a drought-stricken state.
Because they are using the chemical-free, sustainable Tower Garden® system, 90 percent less water is used for growing. Sedlar and Chait know the restaurant’s food is safe and clean from harmful chemicals and diseases commonly found on modern farms.
“Here, we’re utilizing space that would otherwise be ‘fallow land’, as it were. And in terms of cost, the towers are much more efficient at producing crops per square inch than any other system, because we are growing up instead of out,” Chait said. Bill has a vision to see all 16 of his restaurants producing a lot of their fresh food vertically in roof-to-table settings such as Rivera’s.
I would personally like to thank our fellow farmer, Chef John Sedlar, for being an innovative leader in the West Coast local food movement. Together we are changing local food one rooftop at a time. If you visit Los Angeles, please take some time to experience the amazing Rivera downtown.
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC