Erik Oberholtzer is the chef and entrepreneur who co-founded Tender Greens in Los Angeles, CA in 2006. With a chef’s perspective on the power of food to transform lives, Tender Greens was founded on the mission to provide improved access to seasonal home cooking through supply chain innovation and culinary talent. Erik now serves as executive chairman of the growing restaurant group, which currently has 28 restaurants in CA, NY and MA.
While building Tender Greens with his team, Erik remains active in the brand’s progressive thought-leadership in food security, crop diversity, urban agriculture, and regenerative organic farming. Erik sits on the boards of SEE-LA (Sustainable Economic Engines of Los Angeles), LA Kitchen and California Restaurant Association, and holds advisory roles with The Berkeley Institute, Rodale Institute, Farmshelf and Everytable. He speaks internationally on the topics of food justice, conscious capitalism, global sustainability initiatives, supply chain integrity, nutrition/health and wellness, and the role of chefs in solving the world’s many worries.
In 2009, Erik founded the Sustainable Life Project, a six-month, paid internship program offering culinary job training at Tender Greens for at-risk, former foster youth in the US. In 2017, he partnered with the Crop Trust on ‘The Spice of Life Project,’ an effort to reintroduce forgotten foods and heirloom seeds back into the food system. He is currently working with farm partners from New York and California to bring these rediscovered ingredients back to the tables of Tender Greens restaurants, and beyond.
Erik grew up in rural Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and completed his undergraduate degrees in psychology at Temple University and culinary arts at Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island, respectively. Prior to Tender Greens, Erik spent over a decade working as a chef in some of the best restaurants in the world, including Bradley Ogden's The Lark Creek Inn, Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, Michael Mina’s Aqua, Roland Pasot's Left Bank, Campton Place Hotel, the historic Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hawaii, and Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. He spends his time between New York City and Venice Beach, California with his dog Bowie, where he can be found meditating, exercising or enjoying a thoughtful meal with friends.