The Chief Leaf – Rod Rotondi
Chef Rod Rotondi is an author (“Raw Food for Real People”), restaurateur (Leaf Organics) and chef specializing in vegan and raw foods cuisine. He is the founder of the Leaf Cuisine, with products sold at Whole Foods Markets and many other natural foods retailers since 2006. Rod Rotondi has used his unique experience and perspective to translate world cuisine into delicious and affordable vegan, gluten-free, raw and paleo offerings. Changing the world one bite at a time has become Rod’s approach to social activism.
“Everyone has control over what they put in their mouth and these choices make a huge difference for our shared environment – our planet, as well as our individual environments – our bodies!”
Growing up in an Italian-American family with food as the center of family and social gatherings, hospitality and food preparation are second nature to Rod. From hand rolling his grandmother’s “secret” gnocchi to enjoying formal banquets in Rome at the residence of his grandfather, the American Ambassador, to cooking courses in Paris, Rod’s youth was food-centric.
After completing his Masters in International Economics, Rod spent 6 years managing grassroots development projects in the Middle East for the United Nations. Trading in his 3-piece suit for a wetsuit, Rod moved to Dahab, Egypt, a Bedouin village along the Sinai Peninsula, where he developed Club Red, a major resort offering scuba diving, desert safaris, a hotel, restaurant, and a wellness center. There he opened the first yoga center in Egypt and on the millennium held the largest party in the Sinai since Moses- over 2,000 people!
Deciding to return home, Rod settled in Marblehead, MA, and opened Rod’s Wrap & Juice Bar, an organic, vegan and raw restaurant. Capitalizing on a lifetime of culinary lessons from around the globe, Rod developed the recipes and concept, which he then brought out to Los Angeles to become Leaf Organics Restaurants. Soon a steady stream of customers came including celebrities such as Toby Maguire, Stevie Wonder, Andre 3000, Woody Harrelson, Ali Larter, Alicia Silverstone, Carol Alt, Forest Whitaker, Allen Chance and many more.” Rod closed the restaurants in 2013, choosing to focus on building his packaged foods brand, Leaf Cuisine, and have a life.
Rod lives in Los Angeles, loves his daughter, plays several instruments, sails, scuba dives and loves everything to do with the water. He takes part in many charity events throughout Los Angeles including Save the Bay, The American Heart Association, and the Breast Cancer Fund. He also does private teaching, chefing, consulting and speaks at schools and colleges and has catered the Grammy Awards and other entertainment industry functions.
Chef Rod Rotondi is the founder and Chief Leaf. Check out Chef Rod’s new book, Raw Food For Real People (published by New World Library.)