Co-Founder, Tender Greens
Erik Oberholtzer is chef, social entrepreneur and food activist. He is co-founder and chairman of Los Angeles-based Tender Greens, a healthy food restaurant chain.
Erik was a key partner in the Food Forever Experience NYC and participated as a chef. Erik is also a Food Forever Champion and leads the Spice of Life Project in collaboration with the Crop Trust, which aims to introduce unique crop varieties long lost or forgotten back into the food system in Los Angeles and New York City, and a number of other projects aimed at enhancing the integrity of our foods.
Founded in 2006, Tender Greens started with a mission of providing seasonal home cooking at affordable prices to as many people as possible, using supply chain innovations and a guiding philosophy that food can transform lives. Tender Greens has since grown to 29 restaurants in California, New York and Massachusetts.
While growing the Tender Greens brand with his team, Erik has stayed true to mission, leading initiatives on food security, urban agriculture and organic farming. Erik sits on the boards of Sustainable Economic Engines of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), LA Kitchen, The California Restaurant Association and Big EQ Campaign. He holds advisory roles with The Berkeley Food Institute, Farmshelf and is a global champion of Food Forever.
In 2009, Erik founded The Sustainable Life Project, a program offering culinary job training for at-risk foster youth in the United States. In 2017, Erik partnered with the Crop Trust to start The Spice of Life Project, which champions the need for biodiversity by reintroduces “forgotten foods” into restaurants and ultimately back into the food system. He also works with local farms outside of New York and Los Angeles to cultivate these ancient crops and then works with chefs to put those ingredients onto the plates of diners at Tender Greens restaurants.
Erik speaks internationally about his passion for food justice, social entrepreneurship, mindfulness, health and wellness, supply chain integrity and championing the role that chefs can play in solving global problems. He splits his time living in New York City and Venice, Calif., with his dog, Bowie, and can often be found meditating, exercising or enjoying a thoughtful meal with friends.