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Ricardo Zarate Resurfaces for Cochon 555 on March 29

The once-thriving chef has been mostly underground since losing his empire.

Ricardo Zarate
Ricardo Zarate
Elizabeth Daniels
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Los Angeles' very own iteration of Cochon 555 is just about here — if you consider March 29 to be close enough for the porky free-for-all. To build anticipation (and sell some tickets) for the upcoming traveling pig party, competing chefs have been announced today, along with the pig they’ll be using.

One big surprise name: Ricardo Zarate, who has been little-seen since his departure from the Zarate Restaurant Group, and the subsequent shutter of nearly all his opening restaurants (Picca is still kicking).

Until now, Zarate could only have been said to be "back in the lab," as it were, hosting Instagrammable pop-up dinners and cooking under the business moniker Chef Zarate Catering. A few tweets here and photos there, but nothing big and splashy — and certainly no large scale public appearances.

Alongside Zarate will be Kris Morningstar of Terrine, Tony DiSalvo of Santa Monica’s Cast, Walter Manzke of Republique and Steven Fretz of The Church Key, with Travis Stockstill of famous San Diego pig farm Cook’s pulling butchery duties. Previous porkathon winners in L.A. have included Chad Colby and Ray Garcia, among others.

For those needing a bit of backstory, the annual porcine bacchanal known as Cochon 555 pits a handful of city-specific chefs (this is a nationally rotating sort of event, after all) against one another in a race to see who can out-pig the competition. Yes, lots of alcohol is also involved.

This year’s Cochon party goes down on March 29 at Viceroy Santa Monica, which offers a bit of home turf advantage for DiSalvo. If you’re looking to dive head-first into a day full of swine — or just see Ricardo Zarate in the flesh for the first time in a while — grab your tickets here.

Viceroy Santa Monica

1819 Ocean Avenue, , CA 90401 (310) 260-7500 Visit Website