Eric Rivera’s star is burning brighter than ever. A pre-eminent chef, known for his inventive and daring approach in the kitchen, he’s building a fiery brand of authenticity too important to ignore. From another one of his raved-about meals to his pop-up/incubator project addo, Eric is leaving his mark on the food scene with a style and flair all his own.
Eric was born in Olympia, Washington, after his parents moved from Puerto Rico to the States. Growing up in an extended family that included his grandparents, he was his grandpa’s sous chef in the kitchen on their daily mission to keep the household fed.
“It’s food always,” says Eric, whose grandpa once had to put a stepping stool near the oven so Eric could reach the stovetop. “It’s like you plan your day out around food. And so my parents would go to work, then I’d go help my grandpa make lunch and dinner.”
After chasing various career paths (med school, gigs in real estate and insurance), Eric realised nothing offered him the creativity that food did. Focusing all his energy there, he finished culinary school and later rose to the ranks of executive chef positions at renowned restaurants in Chicago and Seattle.
Now with his latest venture, addo (Latin for inspire), he’s given himself the freedom to create on his own terms. He’s built one of the hottest pop-up restaurant experiences around, while also giving up-and-coming chefs, cooks and artists the opportunity to shine.
“We’re going to be aggressive about what we’re doing, and we’re going to take chances,” says Eric. “Some of them may work, some of them won’t, but at the end of the day, people are learning how to run themselves and build themselves and push themselves to the next level, so they can have their own thing without having to wait for everybody else to tell them when or when they can’t do it.”