Amuse Bouche: Ricardo Zarate

We asked Peruvian chef Ricardo Zarate: Did running Test Kitchen help with opening your new restaurant, Picca?
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Illustration by Jason Lee

The experience of having all these chefs around me every night was amazing. I was able to work close to them, see the way they perform, the way they deal with problems, with ingredients and last-minute decisions.

How will Picca be different from your other spot, Mo-Chica? 
Picca is going to be even more modern. I’m going to play with the Peruvian ingredients and twist them a little bit, you know? The style is going to be more like a canteen or a gastropub but with Peruvian food. The portions will be small, but my goal is to make everything under $10. I want people to come and taste different things and experience more flavors.

What do you think defines Peruvian food? 
I think it’s a completely new flavor.  Peruvian cuisine is the result of hundreds of years of Spanish, European, and Japanese influences. People use the word “fusion” for my cooking, but Peruvian food is already fusion on its own. I just clean it up a little bit. » 9575 W. Pico Blvd., L.A., (310-277-0133).