Grub Street: First Look into Mo-Chica’s New Digs

By: Hadley Tomicki, February 14th, 2012

With just a small stall squeezed into a South Central mini-mall, Ricardo Zarate briskly burst into a national phenomenon when he opened Mo-Chica, his matchless paean to Peruvian cooking, while moonlighting from his executive chef position at Venice’s Wabi Sabi in 2009. Following widespread accolades, a win for Food & Wine’s people’s choice best new chef, the opening of trend-setting Test Kitchen and Beverly Hills’ perpetually packed Picca, Zarate is currently preparing to open his second location of Mo-Chica on Downtown’s booming Seventh Street. Zarate’s team tell us all permits have been approved and Mo-Chica’s second home is eyeing the first week in March to make its debut, and offering us a quick look inside of the almost finished, but still developing space that plans to stay open seven days a week and offer specialty punches on a cocktail menu. Photos reveal a sharp and expansive hive bearing subtly cool accents, from a graffiti burner screaming the restaurant’s name on the wall to tables topped with the cross-section of chopped trees. Check out Mo-Chica’s brand new digs in our slideshow and watch for an opening early next month.

Mo-Chica514 W. Seventh St. Downtown.

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 NBC Latino: Chef Spotlight – Ricardo Zarate

By: Nina Terrero, January 26th, 2012

Chef 411: Ricardo Zarate has made it his mission to make Peruvian cuisine popular throughout the United States. At 37-years-old, Zarate – who went to culinary school in Peru and spent nine years cooking in some of London’s best restaurants – is the owner of Mo-Chica and Picca restaurants in Los Angeles.

Named Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chef” in 2011, Zarate was one of a handful of up-and-coming chefs invited to cook for Hollywood’s jet set at the Sundance Film Festival. We spoke to Zarate upon his arrival back home in L.A. about his favorite ingredients, why history is such a huge part of Peruvian cuisine and why he’s thrilled that a certain Food Network television personality (we’re looking at you, Giada De Laurentiis!) can’t get enough of his down-home favorite: chicken stew.

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LA Times Daily Dish: 5 Questions with Ricardo Zarate

By: Leah Rodrigues, October 3rd, 2011

Chef Ricardo Zarate’s newest restaurant is Picca, which features food that blends the flavors of Peru with the elegance of the sushi bar. Zarate learned to cook by preparing meals for his 12 brothers and sisters. It’s been nonstop since then, working in prominent kitchens in London and L.A. and then opening Mo-Chica in 2009. This year he was anointed a Food & Wine Best New Chef.

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Ricardo Zarate Wins Food & Wine Best New Chef

By Amy Scattergood, Wed., Apr. 6 2011

Last night Food & Wine announced their awards for this year’s Best New Chefs. The ten winners, picked from around the country, included one chef from Los Angeles: Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chia, who can now add this award to his accolades, which include showing up on Coca-Cola billboards in his native Peru. Very cool. The chef, who is opening his second restaurant, Picca, in a matter of weeks, had won the People’s award in the Pacific division, the first time F&W had opened the voting up to the public. Roy Choi (Kogi, Chego) was among last year’s winners.


Coca-Cola Catches The Zarate Wave

GrubStreet 04/01/2011



“There are reasons to believe in a better world”


Mo-Chica owner Ricardo Zarate is having a smash 2011 so far. The Peruvian chef snagged Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Pacific Chef award, he’s opening his follow-up restaurant, Picca, very soon, and after preparing food for Jonathan Gold’s bash, celebrated Mo-Chica’s enduring popularity with a big tasting dinner last night. Now this! The chef has been named the face of Coca-Cola in Peru. Partner Stephane Bombet has a proof of the Zarate billboard on his facebook, 24 of which he says are now towering above the good people of Lima. Not only does the campaign celebrate one of L.A.’s favorite toques, but the campaign is going to help fight hunger in Peru. Finally, we feel that long-promised smile arriving with our Coke.


February 15th 2011


People's Best New Chef Pacific

Ricardo Zarate

  • Restaurant: Mo-Chica Restaurant
  • City, State: Los Angeles, CA
  • Why :He’s AmazingBecause he elevates his Japanese-inflected Peruvian cuisine to such heights that he’s drawing high-minded foodies to his food-court restaurant located in a market.
  • Background: Wabi-Sabi, Zu Robata (Los Angeles); Aykoku Kaku (London)
  • Culinary school: Westminster Kingsway College’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, London.
  • Must-try Dish: Ceviche, like tuna with vinegar emulsion, red onion and corn.
  • First professional cooking experience: In Lima, Peru. “I was 16 years old, I made a banquet for a big corporation. I happened to know the guy and I said, ‘I can do it.’ I cooked in my house for 600 people. I don’t know how I did it.”
  • First experience with sashimi”I was eating at my friend’s house [in Lima], and I tried one dish, and I really loved it. I didn’t know I was eating sashimi. It was octopus with shoyu and wasabi.”



Los Angeles Magazine, March 2010

4th Best New Restaurant in Los Angeles

Best New Restaurants

A food stall, a tony Beverly Hills outpost, a high-volume hot spot downtown—these ten delicious debuts are a cheeky bunch. They’ve crossed borders and fused cultures, pushing our palates with offerings like head cheese while blowing us away with hand-torn pastas and the ultimate ceviche. Which neighborhood boasts four of the finest?








A food stand tucked in the Mercado La Paloma, Mo-Chica is Ricardo Zarate’s first restaurant, but with such talent, he’s bound to move on to bigger things. A longtime sushi chef (he also works at Wabi-Sabi in Venice), he deploys the clarity of the Japanese aesthetic to capture the simmered soulfulness of traditional Peruvian food. His quinoa preparations—a fresh salad and a risotto—are stellar, and the sautéed beef, which he stokes with a fiery sauce and tops with thinly sliced onions, is remarkable for its ability to be hearty while keeping flavors distinct. However, nothing on the short menu can match the ceviche. Blended with seaweed, chiles, and diced camote (a kind of sweet potato), then contrasted with hominy-like kernels, the fish is thickly cut and only lightly marinated. A compression of Peru’s multilayered cultures—Inca with a dash of Nisei—it is the city’s definitive ceviche.