The Chef's Library is a series in which we ask chefs around town to tell us about their favorite cookbooks. Today, we talk to John Sedlar, chef and owner of Rivera and Playa.
John Sedlar is plotting a sea change (pardon the pun) for Playa. "I'm in the thick of changing my current Playa menus, introducing my new 'high Tijuana' menu," he says. It will incorporate "lots of Baja cooking influences with my Cielo Verde rooftop garden ingredients.
"I've been eating in Tijuana for years, and it seems that now is the perfect time for Angelenos to adopt this Baja Med style of eating, so perfect for the culture and tastes of our city," Sedlar says. "I've decided that Rivera will continue to be our opulent homage to the Latin kitchen and cooking history, while Playa will celebrate more barrio street seafood' mixed with the Playa's rooftop fresh lettuces, herbs and vegetables."
As such, Sedlar is turning to his library. "I'm immersed right now in exploring fish and seafood from Baja, so I've been wearing out two books in particular from my cookbook library that approach seafood from a different perspective."
The first is Go Fish: Fresh Ideas for American Seafood by Laurent Tourondel. "Tourondel is a master of seafood cookery, and offers ideas and inspiration for any menu featuring fresh seafood, regardless of the cuisine," Sedlar says.
The second is Cuisine of the Water Gods: Authentic Seafood Cookery of Mexico by Patricia Quintana. "Patricia is a longtime friend of mine, and we've visited and cooked in each others restaurants."
Chances are we'll see the influences of both of these books on the Playa menu in the upcoming months.