The Drury Plaza Hotel, which is set to open after renovations to the old St. Vincent hospital near the Plaza are complete, has named Santa Fe-raised chef John Rivera Sedlar as restaurateur of its in-house eatery, Eloisa.
The restaurant is scheduled to begin service in the fall on the main floor of the hotel and will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, according to a hotel news release. Named after Sedlar’s grandmother, Eloisa Rivera, who also was a professional chef, the restaurant will serve Southwestern Latin fusion cuisine.
“It’s heartwarming coming back to the Southwest and [exploring] the Southwest kitchen,” Sedlar said. “It’s very scary for us, because Santa Fe has a lot of talented chefs — young and ambitious men and women who are representing the cuisine very well.”
Sedlar said he learned to cook in his grandmother’s kitchen, and she was tough on him as she taught him to make good food. Bizcochitos, empanaditas and tamales were the foods he learned to make in his grandmother’s and aunts’ kitchens, he said.
Since then, Sedlar has become an acclaimed chef whose dishes have become popular among diners in Los Angeles, where he opened his pan-Latin fusion restaurant, Rivera, in 2009. The restaurant was named one of the nation’s “Best New Restaurants 2011” by Esquire magazine, which also named Sedlar as “Chef of the Year.” Gourmet magazine called Sedlar the “Father of Modern Southwest Cuisine,” and he also competed on the Bravo TV show Top Chef Masters.
Sedlar said his L.A. restaurant is an “homage to all Latin American kitchens.” For example, Rivera’s lunch menu includes Piquillos Relleños, which are Spanish peppers stuffed with chorizo, golden raisins and gruyère. The dinner menu includes Yucatán Puerco Pibil, which is made of pork shoulder and achiote, then wrapped in a banana leaf and braised sous-vide style.
For dessert, a patron at Rivera can order Mil Hojas, which is 70 percent Colombian chocolate leaves served with ripe banana, cabrales queso azul and a Spanish red wine reduction.
Sedlar looks to bring his Latin-inspired cuisine to Eloisa as soon as it opens in the fall, he said.
“Santa Fe has long been, and still is, the epicenter of the most flavorful, vibrant Southwestern foods found anywhere in the United States,” Sedlar said in a news release. “I’m so looking forward to returning to the Santa Fe cocina to cook once again my own contemporary versions of the wonderful foods I first ate as a child in my grandmother’s kitchen on Alto Street.”
Among other recognitions, Sedlar was named as a “Top 50 Who’s Who Cooking in America,” and Food & Wine magazine placed him on the “Honor Roll of American Chefs.” Apart from cooking, Sedlar served as spokesman for Mexican tequila Patrón.
“Chef Sedlar’s mastery of modern Latin cuisine, and his Santa Fe roots make him a perfect fit for our restaurant,” said Tauseen Malik, the general manager for the hotel.
According to the news release, Sedlar’s father moved to New Mexico to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory, while his mother’s family has lived in Northern New Mexico for centuries.
Original article appears here: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/life/taste/acclaimed-chef-with-santa-fe-roots-to-helm-drury-hotel/article_0cf0c7dd-7ec7-5240-8fb6-765c69354205.html