It takes a village… so we provide a full spectrum of gourmet vegan foods incorporating mostly raw vegan, but also macrobiotic and probiotic fermented foods using only natural and organic ingredients.
Rod Rotondi, Founder and Executive Chef, Leaf Organics
Tireless traveler and culinary eclectic, Rod Rotondi has used his unique experience and perspective to translate world Organics into delicious and affordable raw, organic and vegan offerings. His three Los Angeles area Leaf Organics restaurants, which are set for national franchising, are leaders in the raw food and green movement. Rod’s burgeoning wholesale business, offering an array of raw and organic entrees, wraps, desserts and drinks, is prominently featured in So Cal at such retailers as Mother’s Markets, Rainbow Acres, Erewhon and Whole Foods Markets. And seeking to enlighten the public at large, this socially conscious entrepreneur is also working on a series of “Raw” uncookbooks, a DVD series and a television show.
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 biosphere, as well as our individual environments- our bodies! Choosing organic, vegan raw foods is not only supporting our individual bodies with optimally nutritious foods, but supporting the growth of the whole organic and vegan industry- basically, our health and the health of our planet.” His restaurants are also some of the greenest in the world, recycling and composting all materials, using biodiesel in the delivery vans and utilizing compostable to go containers.
Growing up in an Italian-American family where food was often the center of family and social gatherings, hospitality and food preparation were second nature to Rod. From hand rolling his grandmother’s “secret” gnocchi, to enjoying formal Italian Organics in Rome at the residence of his grandfather, the American Ambassador, to cooking courses in Paris, Rod’s youth was Organics centric.
After graduating with a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School, Rod’s life took a dramatic turn. Volunteer work in Morocco and Tunisia as a manager of grass roots development projects was followed by a 6 years in Jerusalem as a Program Management Officer for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) trying to develop the private sector of the Occupied Terretories. Six years and many harrowing stories later, 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 to his own country, Rod settled in Marblehead, MA, where his parents, who were suffering from health challenges resided. Rotondi opened up Rod’s Wrap & Juice Bar, a tiny organic, vegan and raw restaurant in the back of a vitamin store. Capitalizing on a lifetime of culinary lessons from around the globe, Rod developed the recipes and concept, which he later reincarnated as Leaf Organics. He won “Best of Show” and “Best Theme” awards in the prestigious Marblehead Culinary Arts Festival and helped his parents make some diet and lifestyle changes, greatly improving their health.
Relocating to California to pursue his dream, Rod was immediately recruited by raw foods chef and author James Brotman (Juliano) to set up, manage and chef at a new exclusive restaurant in Santa Monica. However Rod’s dream was to create an inclusive eatery, one so affordable and delicious that people would eat there daily and make a positive change to their lives. Thus was born Leaf Organics. Opening on October 17, 2004 to lines extending out the front door with a steady stream of celebrities including Andre 3000, Woody Harrelson, Ali Larter, Alicia Silverstone, Carol Alt, and Forest Whitaker. Leaf Organics offers, “truly clean, delicious and affordable food in a convenient and friendly format.”
Rod, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife and baby daughter, takes part in many charity and sponsored events throughout Los Angeles including Save the Bay, The American Heart Association and the Breast Cancer Fund. He also speaks at schools and colleges and has catered the Grammy Awards and other entertainment industry functions.
Rod believes that “this is it”A. Right here and now. There is a consequence for everything, which is why, “Leaf is Life.”