The Hollywood Reporter's 20 Most Influential Chefs in Hollywood
In April 2009, L.A.'s Peruvian cuisine pioneer Zarate opened low-key Mo-Chica in a Hispanic market stall in the shadow of the 110 Freeway. It caught blogosphere buzz, and by 2011 he had Picca (9575 W. Pico Blvd.), a vibrant, full-scale dining room serving such interpretations as seco de pato, or crispy braised duck leg in Peruvian beer sauce on cilantro rice.
Soon after, he transplanted Mo-Chica to a high-visibility downtown address at 514 W. Seventh St. Paiche, his third outing limning Lima, arrived at 13488 Maxella Ave. in Marina del Rey in June. The accomplished dishes -- alpaca hamburgers, stuffed cucumbers, beef heart skewers -- roam beyond the entry-level staples (ceviche, lomo saltado) that have long constituted L.A.'s limited engagement with the country's food.
"Peruvian cuisine is wide and there's a lot for me to explore," says Zarate, who worked at London's top Japanese restaurant Zuma and notes the parallels between the melting-pot metropolises of L.A. and his Asian-immigrant-influenced hometown: "When I see Los Angeles, I see Lima."
Favorite dish of regular Adam Sher: The CEO of Ryan Seacrest Productions loves the locro de quinoa at Picca -- quinoa and potato stew with fried egg on top.
Where else Zarate eats: The Kogi truck, where he gets, yes, Korean tacos.