Ricardo Zarate - Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

TENTH ANNUAL - SAVE THE DATE – OCTOBER 2-25, 2020

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Ricardo Zarate

Once - Las Vegas, NV

Born in Lima, Peru, ‘the godfather of Peruvian cuisine’ Ricardo Zarate is synonymous with indigenous South American foods.

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 his hometown culinary school – Instituto de las Américas- Zarate headed to London to practice his craft in a new culture, working for 12 years at notable restaurants including One Aldwych and Zuma.

In 2009, Zarate headed to Los Angeles, opening Mo-chica, Downtown at Mercado la Paloma, soon followed by pop-up restaurant Test Kitchen.

Zarate introduced modern Peruvian cantina Picca in 2011, andin 2013, he opened Paiche, a Japanese izakaya-stylePeruvian seafood restaurant.In the same year, Zarate also opened Blue Tavern, a quintessential Californian fare-driven restaurant, seen through the eyes of a native Peruvian.

In the summer of 2015 Zarate opened the pop-up Once – “11” in Spanish (Portuguese?) and symbolic of Zarate’s spot in his line of 13 siblings – at Santino’s in Santa Monica. Following the success of Once and his cookbook “The Fire of Peru,” Zarate partnered with popular Los Angeles restaurant Hinoki & the Bird to launch a series of culinary pop-ups in early 2016 in preparation for one of L.A.’s most anticipated restaurant openings: Rosaliné. on the iconic corner of Melrose and La Cienega in West Hollywood.

In 2018, Zarate reincarnated Once, introducing his signature, elevated Peruvian cuisine to the Las Vegas Strip at The Palazzo.



 

WHY DID YOU BECOME A CHEF?
I always wanted to do this in life. I was one of the youngest of 13 brothers and sisters, so I was always cooking.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COOKING IN THREE WORDS?
Roots, flavor, passion.

WHAT’S THE BEST HONOR YOU’VE RECEIVED AS A CHEF?
Winning Best New Chef 2001 for Food & Wine, as well as being nominated four times in a row for the James Beard Foundation.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL AFTER A BUSY DAY?
Ramen and soup.

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE KITCHEN?
Take it easy, mellow out watching movies at home and still cook for friends.

WHAT THE ONE LOCAL INGREDIENT YOU’RE EXCITED TO COOK WITH DURING HFWF19?
The local fish of Hawai’i.

WHAT KEEPS YOU RETURNING BACK TO THE ISLANDS?
A lot of similarities with Peruvian cuisine and many hidden connections.

IF YOU WERE NOT A CHEF, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
Something that involves traveling and history.