search
Loading
|  home | feedback | help          
StarChefs
Features on StarChefs.com
On the Plate: Notable Presentations
Archive
January 2010

To Chef John Sedlar, touted as a forerunner in Southwestern cuisine, the final presentation of a dish boils down to more than sharp colors and bold angles. Instead, the menu at Rivera, Sedlar’s Los Angeles outpost, proves that food has the power to inspire thought and understanding. Each plating concept and swirl of flavor is designed as an ode to Latin culture, the hope being that each bite of chipotle-lime crema will leave diners with a richer appreciation of Latin culture and its cuisine. Many of his dishes also bring his “spiceology” technique into play, a process of stenciling spices onto a plate to write out messages that stir up provocative themes ranging from politics, immigration and religion to other current and often controversial issues. With dishes that present challenging ideas like “Caution” and “Stimulus Package,” the menu at Rivera is a handsome illustration of the notion of food for thought.

+ click pictures to enlarge

Rivera
Los Angeles, California
“Stimulus Package:” Chilled Kumomoto Oysters with Cucumber, Serrano Chili, and Lime Dressing

“Stimulus Package:” Chilled Kumomoto Oysters with Cucumber, Serrano Chili, and Lime Dressing

Sedlar’s oyster “Stimulus Package” is a beautifully crafted double-entendre. The oysters are plated upon tangles of seaweed and garnished with spoonfuls of shiny green Serrano chili pepper pearls as well as slices of cucumber and red pepper. The chef blends oregano and cumin together to write out the mustard-colored message, a play on both the aphrodisiac powers of the beloved mollusk as well as the present economic climate which makes these oysters an infrequent and even more indulgent treat. 

Chef John Sedlar

Rivera
Los Angeles, California
“Arabesque:” Seared Scallops with Eggplant, Curry, and Preserved Lemon

“Arabesque:” Seared Scallops with Eggplant, Curry, and Preserved Lemon

“Arabesque” is Sedlar’s rustic red scallop tribute to the Moroccan and Arabic influences rooted in Spanish culinary tradition. The scallops are seared and placed upon a chunky mash of eggplant flavored with a medley of Middle Eastern spices, the title itself written out in ras el hanout. Sedlar adds mild heat to the plate with a curry and preserved lemon sauce, drizzled into a shallow pool at the bottom of the dish.

Chef John Sedlar

Rivera
Los Angeles, California
“Caution:” Chili Relleno with Smoked Chicken Salad, Red Chili Mayo, Tomato, and Poblano Chili

“Caution:” Chili Relleno with Smoked Chicken Salad, Red Chili Mayo, Tomato, and Poblano Chili

Sedlar’s modernized version on the traditional Mexican poblano pepper is stuffed with red chili mayo chicken salad and a hardy dose of political spice. The chili is set at the plate’s centerpiece, garnished with microgreens, tomato and yellow pepper, but Sedlar’s political message on immigration is the true focus of the dish. The ominous title, “Caution,” is stenciled above a spice rendering of three silhouettes in mid-sprint. The image replicates San Diego street signs which caution drivers to watch for immigrants as they scurry across highway lanes in attempt to flee border security. As Sedlar explains, “people come to the restaurant and want to have a wonderful time...we add the political message to our food ... so [that] guests can talk about issues of the day.”

Chef John Sedlar

Rivera
Los Angeles, California
Layer Cake of Lobster, Scallops, Ahi Tuna with Chili Verde Gelée, and Cantaloupe-Mint Cube with Caviar

Layer Cake of Lobster, Scallops, Ahi Tuna with Chili Verde Gelée, and Cantaloupe-Mint Cube with Caviar

The dining experience at Rivera opens with an apolitical and seasonally adapted amuse bouche, an ornate seafood millefeuille layered atop a small golden head statuette. Diners delicately work their way through a glossy dollop of American sturgeon caviar and sous vide mint and melon, compressed to look like a yellow and green Rubik’s cube, before biting into the layers of seared scallop, tuna sashimi and poached lobster. Vibrant green slices of jalapeño and lime gelée finish the dish and add subtle heat, typical of Latin cuisine.

Chef John Sedlar

hotlinks_general_narrow
  • Letter From The Editor: The Evolving LA Dining Scene
  • Rising Star: Mixologist Orson Salicetti
  • The Chile Whisperer: Stephan Pyles
  • Rivera Photo Gallery


  •  

     Sign up for our newsletters!|Print this page|Email this page to a friend
     QuickMeals   Chefs   Rising Stars   Hospitality Jobs   Find a School   Wine   Community   Features   Food Events   News   Ask the Experts   Tickets   Cookbooks
    About Us | Career Opportunities | Media Kit | StarChefs in the News | Site Map
    Please help keep StarChefs a free service by displaying our button on your website. Click here for details.
      Copyright © 1995-2014 StarChefs. All rights reserved.  | Privacy Policy