Today chef Ricardo Zarate shares sides of himself with the L.A. Times that you’ve long been dying to glimpse of this Peruvian giant, whose Picca is perpetually slammed in Beverly Hills. For example, we find out that the former sushi chef and current champion of ceviche goes to Downtown’s Sushi Gen when he’s craving raw fish and that Mark Gregory is his biggest culinary influence, after Zarate worked under the Kiwi chef at London’s One Aldwych for three years. He’s also quite engaged in reading about the global and Peruvian economies, with hopes that "things get better for my country." But most surprising of all is Zarate’s latest obsession, which will soon find its way onto the plates at Picca: Alpaca meat!
Asked what his plans are for new dishes at Picca, the chef elaborates on the Andean animal that he’s longed whispered about serving at his new place. Zarate says he’s most excited for, "Definitely alpaca meat. I’ve been dreaming about using it for a long time. I’ve been trying to get it for over two years now and I finally found a great farmer. His meat is fantastic and I cannot wait to offer it to my customers. It has a very unique flavor. I’ve tried it many ways but I believe I’m going to make an alpaca tiradito with aji amarillo dressing and parmesan sauce. We all love it in the kitchen."
Awesome! Not only is Zarate bringing this rare meat to North Americans, but he’s not just throwing it into a saltado or the same anticucho formula that made beef heart instantly palatable to Angelenos. Stay tuned for updates on alpaca’s entrance to Picca.