chef / owner
Jonathan Rollo, one of LA’s top celebrity chefs, is most fired up about the success and growth of, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop. Born and raised in Pasadena,
California, Rollo graduated from Loyola High School here in Los Angeles and earned his bachelors in Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University.
He then trained at Le Cordon Bleu and the Culinary and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, where he began working as a prep cook with The Rosebud Group. Eventually moving back to Los Angeles, he joined The Patina Group one of Southern California’s premiere restaurant groups. He left the group in Spring of 2007 to bring Greenleaf to life and hasn’t looked back since.
He has also traveled extensively, eating his way around the world (staying for longer than his welcome in Western Europe). “I wanted to take what I’ve learned from my Mom, family and friends, plus the different cultures I’ve experienced, combine it with my restaurant experience and offer something fresh, delicious, healthy and unique in a fun, eco-conscious environment for the neighborhood!” says Jon.
Earliest food memory:
Sitting on the kitchen stool watching my Mom assemble meals; breakfast, dinner or even sack lunches.
Favorite meal growing up:
Apple cinnamon baked pancakes.
Jon's best recent food find:
Greenleaf's Huevos Rancheros. My team updated the recipe, and I couldn't help but eat it with a HUGE smile on my face.
Most undervalued ingredient:
Maybe not the most undervalued, but different kinds of vinegars can go a long way. Rice wine and apple cider, for example-- their flavors can singularly enhance a dish or be as simple as a dressing or marinade.
What is the philosophy behind Greenleaf's concept?:
Providing the highest quality fresh ingredients will allow our customers to eat better and discover that you don't have to give up flavor or taste in order to make healthy choices.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Backyard honey. It's amazing. Obviously the local produce and fruit is second to none, but the honey is awesome.
What is your beverage of choice?:
Currently, San Pellegrino Sparkling Water with Blood Orange. Although, I am a fan of sparkling rose-- it goes with practically everything.
Where else do you plan on expanding to besides OC Mart Mix?:
I have my sights set on Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Pasadena, Studio City and Calabasas, just to name a few.
Could you explain a vent-less hood system?:
First thing that comes to mind is "Yikes!" It's expensive, but basically, it's a self-contained hood system that filters the air instead of just sending it out the side of a building. The system removes grease, any pollutants and carbon emissions air and recycles it.
One food you can't live without:
Pomegranates. I'm obsessed. Easily my favorite fruit. I use the seeds in everything: salads, sauces, cereal, drinks, protein shakes, etc.
Where was your most recent meal?:
I made a quick salad of arugula, quinoa, grilled butternut squash, pomegranate seeds and chicken. A little olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Done.
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Batches. Cook in batches. Soups, pastas and starches (like quinoa), marinades, sauces, etc. Save yourself the time.
What's growing in the on-site garden?:
Right now it's lemons and greens.
We love the aesthetic of the dining area. What are your signature elements?:
My family tables and chairs. I turned my Mom's breakfast table and my 3rd grade desk into dining tables on our patio!
Kristi Ritchey. I know she works with me, but I feel blessed to work with someone who inspires me every day-- not to mention, she made a bouillabaisse for a dinner party we catered last weekend that blew my mind!
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Chocolate covered ants. Fried grasshoppers. Snake heart. Don't worry, you won't find any of those on the Greenleaf menu.
Favorite places to eat (besides your own):
In LA: Ado Venice. In OC: Tabu Shabu after work. They are open late and I love their sukiyaki.
You're making breakfast. What are you having?:
A breakfast burrito-- filled with egg whites, our black bean and roasted corn salsa and a little avocado pesto. Yes, please!
We read you worked for The Patina Group at the Hollywood Bowl. What was cooking for such high volume crowds like?:
Every service was different because every concert crowd was different. We could swing from selling 10,000 hot dogs and 300 kegs of beer for Rolling Stones one night to 900 luxurious sit down dinners with paired wines for the Philharmonic the next night. Talk about having to think on your feet, literally!
Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
The weirdest are usually the chicken sandwich without the chicken OR the tuna quesadilla without the tortillas. But the two strangest are an order for cold gazpacho heated up (with ice cubes on the side) and a rare steak, cooked through, but no blood on the plate. I'm sorry, but I still don't understand that one.
When it comes to crafting the ideal menu to support a healthy lifestyle, Executive Chef Kristi Ritchey is the perfect chef for the job. Recently featured in both USA Today and the LA Times for her own personal weight-loss triumph, Chef Ritchey knows exactly what it takes to live healthier through good eating by adjusting the way you view food and the way you approach each day. Out of necessity, she changed her lifestyle, and in less than a year she lost over 110 pounds by focusing on a healthier diet and a consistent exercise regimen including Barry’s Bootcamp in West Hollywood. As she told USA Today, "It's why I love being a part of Greenleaf, trying to help people be healthier. I want to help others the way I’ve been helped and pay it forward."
A native of Williamsport, PA, Chef Ritchey first caught the cooking bug while working at a small, traditional Italian restaurant in the city. The owner of the restaurant saw so much potential in her that he urged her to pursue a professional career in the culinary arts. After attending culinary school at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Chef Ritchey relocated to California’s Napa Valley, where she first landed a cooking position with Restaurant Pinot Blanc, the area’s flagship restaurant from Chef Joachim Splichal’s Los Angeles-based Patina Group. There, under the tutelage of Chef Greg Stillman, Chef Ritchey was promoted to the position of Sous Chef in less than a year. To this day, Chef Ritchey credits Chef Stillman as one of the greatest positive influences on her cooking style and philosophy. From Pinot Blanc, the Patina Group relocated Chef Ritchey to Palm Springs, for the opening of Eat at The Desert in the chic Hotel Zoso and then soon thereafter she was asked to assist with the opening of the company’s Eat on Sunset with Chef Gary Menes.
After Eat on Sunset was up and running, Chef Ritchey was sought after by entrepreneurs Sandy Sachs and Robin Gans, who asked her to come on board as Executive Chef for their first Los Angeles restaurant project, Murano Restaurant and Lounge. Chef Ritchey joined the Murano team in the early planning stages, assisting with kitchen designs, menu concepts and staffing. While at Murano, LA Direct Magazine named her one of LA’s Top Chefs, stating, “There aren’t many 26-year-old female Executive Chefs in the Los Angeles arena of fine dining. Kristi Ritchey, the mastermind behind the French-Italian menu at the new Murano Restaurant in West Hollywood, has earned her title by having tremendous dedication to her passion for cooking.”
In June of 2008, Chef Ritchey left Murano to join friend and former Patina co-worker Jonathan Rollo with the opening of his first restaurant, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop in Beverly Hills. As Executive Chef of Greenleaf, Chef Ritchey assisted in developing many of the key items on their menu. “Eating healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet”, says Ritchey, who is thriving in a kitchen that combines her passion for creating unique gourmet dishes and her desire to combine those tastes with a healthy lifestyle.