WOW, surprising news just in. Today flacks for chef Ricardo Zarate and business partner Stephane Bombet send out a press release announcing that the Mo-chica, Picca, Paiche, Blue Tavern team has parted ways. Now remember, it was Bombet who befriended Zarate back during his Mercado La Paloma days, believed in the chef, and together the two birthed Picca, their first Peruvian hit. Shortly thereafter Zarate was named a Food & Wine Best New Chef.
The release highlight's Zarate's newly named hospitality group, Zarate Restaurants, making no mention of Bombet whatsoever. It goes on to say "Zarate Restaurants will continue to explore the versatility of Peruvian cuisine through innovative restaurants in Southern California that blend Peruvian ingredients with global techniques; showcase hand-crafted cocktails inspired by South America; and provide a welcoming service culture." The very tail end adds, "As part of this evolution, Zarate has decided to part ways with longtime collaborator Stephane Bombet who will be pursuing other opportunities." Plus, Ricky McIntosh of Landry's Hospitality Group has come onboard as Zarate Restaurants' Director of Operations.
Eater connected quickly with Bombet this morning, who says that after five years, he and Zarate went as far as they could go together: "What we want to do is different … but we remain very good friends." Bombet alluded to several new projects he's working on with other chefs. More to come. [EaterWire]