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Eddie Sotto's Tribute : An Imagineer's Second Life

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  • Eddie Sotto's Tribute : An Imagineer's Second Life

    Eddie Sotto was one of the most brilliant WDI Imagineer - Eddie was the show-producer of the fantastic Main Street at DLP - and today's article will show you what kind of wonder an ex-Imagineer can do in his "second life". Since its opening, The Rivera restaurant designed by Eddie was named one of Esquire's top new restaurants for 2009. L.A's top food critic choose the Rivera as top Restaurant, L.A Magazine gave the Rivera 4 out of 4 stars, including best new bar, best tequila and choose John Sedlar for "Chef of the Year". So, if you live in L.A and are looking for a great place to have dinner this week-end Eddie Sotto's Rivera seems to be the right place to go! And, with a bit of luck, Eddie might be there!

    An Imagineer's Second Life



    For most of you a WDI Imagineer is somebody who creates a theme park - or at least attractions for Disney. Whether he is show designer, show producer, sculptor, model specialist, architect,etc... But what happens when a former Imagineer - decides to leave WDI? What do they create if its not an attraction? This is what I will talk about today.

    Eddie Sotto is a former WDI imagineer who began as a Main Street show designer/producer on DLP. It is my favorite Main Street. While he was at WDI, he also worked on the development of Disneyland's Indiana Jones Adventure, and eventually ran his own concept studio within WDI, where his team could explore new ideas. That period yielded many new projects for TDL including "Pooh's Hunny Hunt" or Tomorrowland concepts like "Sci-Fi City", as well as "outside the berm" projects like "Encounter" Restaurant at LAX, or New York's ABC "Times Square Studios" and many others.

    In late 1999, Eddie was hired away from WDI to be the creative director of an internet media company, then got involved creating television pilots for Mtv, Current, ABC, and Showtime networks, and eventually in 2004 founded SottoStudios, his own "think tank" where they have been busy designing everything from the Ferrari experience within Steve Wynn's Las Vegas resort to ClubAston, a "Bond-esque" Aston Martin dealership where you design your DB9 at a Martini bar and it is presented to you inside a bank vault.

    On January 16, Eddie's latest project "Rivera", a modern latin Restaurant opened in Downtown Los Angeles, just a block from Staples Center (Laker's home) and the Nokia Theater. Rivera is the middle name of the chef, John Rivera Sedlar. A man noted for his gourmet latin cuisine. They met as a result of Sotto bringing in chefs to lecture at WDI on how to better marry the dining experience to the attractions. they later worked on Encounter together and it was a hit.









    So, I called Eddie in L.A - who also gently provided me his artwork and some CGI renderings - and had a little interview with him about the Rivera. He explained it this way:

    E.S: Form follows food. That was the takeaway from the WDI lectures John gave and it really impressed me. John is amazing at presentation and thinking about the design and food in the same breath. It's all one experience to the guest. He is so into the details that he has flower petals pressed onto each handmade tortilla so they become art in themselves. It's like John Hench said, "it's about the longshot and the closeup". Everything matters to him and every course is an an attraction. This made sense to me. Why at EPCOT do we serve heavy Lasagna for lunch, then eject the bloated guest into the Florida heat, only to put them piping hot on a spinning thrill ride? It's out of sync. How do we rethink places as complimentary experiences, not just rides and restaurants? Experiences are systems. Ever since then I was looking for a chance to work with a Chef. Rivera was there to bring it all together because this Chef sees the room as just a bigger plate".






    Jump to the Disney and more full article to discover more pictures,
    artwork and Eddie Sotto's interview about the Rivera:

    Disney and more: An Imagineer's Second Life
    http://disneyandmore.blogspot.com/

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