The new Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe has announced that award-winning chef John Rivera Sedlar will be the restaurateur of the hotel’s new restaurant ELOISA. ELOISA will open this fall on the main floor of the hotel. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and will serve Southwestern Latin fusion cuisine. Sedlar is one of Los Angeles’ most successful and best-loved chefs. He owns the sleek, pan-Latin fusion restaurant Rivera. He returns to his hometown of Santa Fe after four decades of pleasing diners in Los Angeles.
Sedlar was named “the Father of Modern Southwest Cuisine” by Gourmet magazine and has competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. He guest-taught at the Culinary Institute of America and is the author of many cookbooks including “Modern Southwest Cuisine,” “Tamales,” and “The Tamale Poster.”
In 2011, Sedlar was named “Chef of the Year” by Esquire magazine and RIVERA restaurant was acclaimed as one of the nation’s “Best New Restaurants 2011.” Sedlar was recognized in the legendary Cook’s Magazine feature “Top 50 Who’s Who of Cooking in America,” and in Food & Wine magazine’s “Honor Roll of American Chefs.” He received the Silver Spoon Award from Food Arts Magazine. In addition, he served for 10 years as spokesman for Patrón tequila.
Sedlar was raised on bizcochitos, empanaditas, and tamales in the New Mexican kitchens of his mother, aunts, and his grandma Eloisa, who was a professional chef. His father moved to New Mexico to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory. His middle name, Rivera, comes from his mother's family, which has lived in northern New Mexico for centuries.
He grew up in Santa Fe and spent three years in the Spanish cities of Sevilla and Zaragoza. In 1973, he apprenticed himself to legendary French chef Jean Bertranou of L'Ermitage in Los Angeles and mastered classic techniques while evolving his own approach to cooking. Sedlar has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Latin America, and Spain to study Latin food traditions, and he is also the creator and founder of the first Latino food museum in the United States, Museum Tamal.
Sedlar’s first restaurant, Saint Estephe, opened in 1980 and was named “among the very best in California, or even the West” by Bon Appétit magazine. At Saint Estephe, Sedlar combined his classical training with his love of New Mexico’s cuisine to create what he named Modern Southwest Cuisine, also the title of his first book. He continued to create delicious, innovative food at his next restaurants, first Bikini in 1991, and then Abiquiu in 1994, both in Santa Monica.