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Bill Chait Says Ricardo Zarate Stopped Showing Up to Picca

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The rising star chef grew his Peruvian restaurant empire to three places, then stopped showing up. His menu's still being served at Picca.

Ricardo Zarate
Ricardo Zarate
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

A little bit more in the way of explanation for the Ricardo Zarate ordeal. Yesterday, Eater reported that Zarate was ousted from his restaurants Picca, Mo Chica and Paiche. Today, the LA Times reports that Ricardo Zarate simply stopped showing up to Picca for the last two years.

Picca's managing partner Bill Chait, who's affiliated with everything from Bestia to Republique, denies that Zarate was "ousted" from his own restaurants. The Peruvian chef still maintains his ownership stake, but Chait claims that Zarate hasn't been in the kitchen for two years.

Says Chait: "The problem is he's a child. If Ricardo would like to come back and work in the restaurant, we would love to have him. But he's more concerned with building the 'Chef Ricardo Zarate' brand than he is in working in the restaurants."

It seems like a fine line between being ousted from your own restaurants and simply not showing up anymore. Zarate still hasn't made any public comments about his involvement, or lack thereof, at his trio of L.A. eateries, nor has he intimated that he's continuing his other projects (such as Suave Rico). But a Facebook post dated October 10 does show that Zarate was cooking a dinner at Picca.

In the meantime, Chait tells Eater that Picca's concept and menu will not change, and the restaurant will not close. Zarate's menu will stay on for now while another notable chef (who once cooked at Fifty Seven - take a guess who that might be) is helming the stoves for a moment.

What does this mean for Zarate and his stature in Los Angeles? Developing...


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