Meet Chef Ricardo
Born in Lima, Peru, ‘the godfather of Peruvian cuisine’ Ricardo Zarate is synonymous with indigenous South American foods. Immaculately executed and fused with his underlying passion, drive and kitchen ingenuity, Zarate’s cuisine has earned him widespread critical acclaim and praise from media and consumers alike.
The second youngest of 13 siblings, Zarate grew up in a shoebox-shaped cement house with a tin roof, typical to Lima in the 1970s and ‘80s. Zarate frequently helped in the family kitchen, learning technique from his mother and grandmother, whom he credits as his biggest influences.
Upon graduating from culinary school, Zarate headed to London to practice his craft in a new culture, working for 12 years at notable restaurants including One Aldwych and Zuma. It was here that his passion for new foods and ingredients grew. Zarate began to draw inspiration from Japanese, Chinese and European flavors, still prominent in his cooking today.
In 2009, Zarate headed to Los Angeles, opening Mo-chica, Downtown at Mercado la Paloma. With Zarate’s cuisine beginning to draw a large following, he introduced modern Peruvian cantina Picca in 2011. A
critical success, it was recognized as one of GQ’s “best new restaurants” and a Conde Nast Traveler ‘Hot Table,’ and Food & Wine honored Zarate as one of the magazine’s prestigious “Best New Chef,” all within one year of opening.
In April 2013, Zarate opened Paiche, a Japanese izakaya-style Peruvian seafood restaurant located in Marina DelRey, consequently named one of Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants.” In the same year, Zarate also expanded to Santa Barbara, opening Blue Tavern, a quintessential Californian fare-driven restaurant, seen through the eyes of a native Peruvian.
In 2014, Zarate sought a new project, splitting from his partners at all restaurants, and pursuing authorship of his first cookbook, “The Fire of Peru.” Debuting in October 2015, Zarate aimed for the book to guide consumers through an exploration of the wealth of flavors and dishes of his home country, dedicating the tome to “Peruvian home cooks,” including his mother, “who we should all be thankful for.”
In the summer of 2015 Zarate opened the pop-up Once – “11” in Spanish and symbolic of Zarate’s birth order – at Santino’s in Santa Monica. Following the success of Once and “The Fire of Peru,” Zarate prepared to open one of L.A.’s most anticipated restaurants: Rosaliné.
Zarate opened the space on the iconic corner of Melrose and La Cienega in West Hollywood in June 2017, quickly rising through the ranks of prestigious L.A.-based restaurants. Topping numerous “best of” lists, Rosaliné earned a spot on award-winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold’s “101 Best Restaurants” list, Thrillist’s “Best New Restaurants in 2017,” and Eater’s “Most Beautiful Restaurants of 2017,” among others.
Most recently, Zarate opened Pikoh in West L.A.,an all-day dining spot inspired by the cultural melting pot of Los Angeles. Pikoh’s menu infuses homestyle American cuisine with Latin, Asian and other international flavors that align with the restaurant’s innovative cocktail program.