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John Rivera Sedlar literally wrote the book on Modern Southwest Cuisine, and the nation's top food writers agree that no other chef can compare to him. Gourmet magazine declared him "The father of modern Southwest cuisine," as did Food Arts, which lauded him for "updating, upgrading and celebrating the foods of his Hispanic heritage." "Genius or madman?" asked Los Angeles Times food editor Laurie Ochoa. No less an authority than Craig Claiborne of the New York Times opted for the former assessment, calling Sedlar "one of America's treasures, a genius in the kitchen."

Sedlar grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in his early 20s gained acclaim as a chef in the South Bay region of Southern California. He then apprenticed himself to legendary French chef Jean Bertranou of L'Ermitage in Los Angeles, mastering classic techniques while evolving his own approach to food.

While cooking at his own first restaurant, Saint Estephe, Sedlar began to combine the traditional food of his childhood with the classic French techniques he had learned, developing what he termed "Modern Southwest Cuisine." Soon, Bon Appetit magazine called the restaurant "among the very best in California, or even the West." Sedlar never looked back-- except for more inspiration from his homeland. He went on to combine the best of the world's culinary influences at Bikini, a stunning Los Angeles restaurant he opened in 1991 to rave reviews, followed three years later by the equally well-received Abiquiu.

Sedlar sold the restaurants following the devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake so that he could focus 100% on one of his lifelong dreams of building a bood company to supply the home cook with dishes and ingredients from the Southwest. In 1999 he established Abiquiu Foods, LLC, which operates Sedlar's Modern Southwest Kitchen, a collection of contemporary tamales, chile rellenos, taco shells and condiments. Some of the products are currently for sale in Bristol Farms and Neiman Marcus, Beverly Hills.

Sedlar is also a top-notch restaurant consultant, as well as making personal appearances and creating special menus for such organizations as the California Culinary Academy, the James Beard Foundation, Twentieth Century Fox, the Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation and Walt Disney Imagineering. Through such work, he has traveled literally around the globe, including professional visits to Italy, Russia, China, Chile and Japan.

Sedlar is the author of Modern Southwest Cuisine (Ten Speed Press, 1994), The Great Chile Relleno Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 2000), the Tamale Poster (Ten Speed Press), and co-author of Tamales (Macmillan, 1998). He is the host of the video, Tamale Madness (American Videogroup, 1998). He has made frequent television appearances on such programs as "The Today Show," "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," "CBS This Morning," the CNN Network, and the Television Food Network.

His awards and recognition include a listing on The Cook's Magazine Top 50 Who's Who of Cooking in America; and a place on Food & Wine magazine's Honor Roll of American Chefs. In September 1995 he received the Silver Spoon Award from Food Arts magazine, becoming the youngest chef ever to garner that distinction.


"Nobody makes a tamale quite like Sedlar."
Ruth Reichl NY Times

"John Sedlar, one of American Cuisine's true innovators, was the first to bring modern Southwest cooking to the forefront. His style is fresh and audacious and there's no better representation of that style than his 'cutting edge' tamales. In short, Mr. Sedlar is the Tamale King of the World!" Stephen Pyles Chef, Author and Host of the PBS series "New Tastes from Texas"

"Sedlar is The Tamale King." Mark Miller Chef, Author

"If you want to know the latest in tamales, talk to the king: John Rivera Sedlar. His colleagues crowned him so for good reason. He has created hundreds of them." Rebecca Roybal Alburquerque Journal

"Sedlar is the country's best tamale chef & the undisputed king of the cuisine." Lisa Messinger Copley Press

"The father of modern Southwest Cuisine." Gourmet Magazine

"Genius or madman?" Laurie Ochoa LA Times

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