Chef Q&A: Ricardo Zarate of Rosaline
Chef Ricardo Zarate is known in the Los Angeles dining scene for his previous projects—Picca, Mo-Chica, and Paiche—where he introduced Peruvian cuisine with his own personal twist.
His latest project, Rosaline, brings his latest creations in Peruvian cuisine to West Hollywood. Here you will find an open charcoal grill that infuses smoky, rich, earthy flavors into Zarate’s inventive dishes.
We caught up with Chef Zarate to discuss the inspiration behind Rosaline and California’s influence in his cooking.
Can you give us a brief description of the restaurant?
We designed Rosaliné to mimic the streets of Peru, with bright colors, rustic wood accents and lots of beautiful natural light. When you come here, you feel loved and relaxed, like you would when you’re with family.
What is unique about the restaurant & the dishes you serve?
The menu is a Peruvian Nikkei concept, which is the blend of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine and culinary techniques. A lot of people don’t realize the influence Japan has had over Peru for several hundred years and I really wanted to capture that with Rosaliné’s menu. The most unique dish on the menu, to me, is the Chaufa Paella, because it’s a Peruvian fried rice made paella style, demonstrating another major culture’s influence on Peru; China.
How did you end up in West Hollywood?
When the opportunity came up to open in West Hollywood, I immediately knew this was where I wanted to open the restaurant. In West Hollywood, you reach every type of Angeleno – everyone loves WeHo, the culture, the restaurants. I love it here.
What’s your earliest memory of cooking?
I don’t quite remember how old I was, but I was little enough that I still had to use a step to reach the counter, but I do remember the first thing I ever actually cooked was this dessert with my dad. We call it Chufla, but it’s a brownie with rice pudding. It’s so good!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a chef?
I have been very privileged to have started cooking at such a young age. I was 17 years old when I did my first catering event for 300 people. It was a nightmare – haha! But that was when I knew I wanted to be a chef.
What’s your specialty dish?
This is very hard to answer – I don’t think I have one specific specialty dish, but I am good at cooking Peruvian cuisine. My goal is to make people fall in love with Peru through my food.
It’s your off day and you’re feeling lazy, what do you prepare at home?
Definitely, ceviche de pollo. It is a chicken stew with lemon, aji Amarillo and white rice.
You have 4 friends coming over for dinner, what’s on the menu?
Usually, I really like to improvise and use whatever I currently have in the fridge to make something creative. I also have a little bit of an ego and like to show off, but if I can improvise, I will.
What’s your favorite dish at the restaurant?
The Juane de Cancho – it’s a pork ossobuco, adobo, garbanzo soft tamale, hardboiled egg all wrapped in banana leaf.
What dish would you like to add to your restaurant’s menu?
Hm. Good question. I would like to add Bisteak a la Pobre, which is a grilled steak with rice, beans, plantains, fried egg and spicy aioli.
How has being in the Los Angeles area challenged you as a chef?
The most challenging part about being in Los Angeles is that it’s hard to find ingredients that are indigenous to Peru. I have a lot of help from local farmers that are helping me grow certainly ingredients here now, but there are still quite a few that we can only get in Peru.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?
I’ve been practicing piano a lot, so it would be fun to be a musician or pianist. I suck though, so I will stick to being a chef.
What would you say is the importance of food in our culture?
I think it’s important for people to know what they are eating, where it’s coming from and how it’s sourced because responsible sourcing is so crucial to our environment. If people really thought about the lack of sustainability, they would be worried about what food will look like in the future.
How has being in California shaped your food sourcing practices?
I have been so lucky, working in different parts of the world, but in California, I am the most excited about the variety of produce we can grow here.
8479 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069
8479 Melrose Avenue