Chef Ricardo Zarate and his business partner, Stephane Bombet, are parting ways. The two took the concept for what was Zarate’s original tiny Peruvian stand in the Mercado la Paloma and opened a string of upscale restaurants within a couple of years -- starting with Picca Peru, then a refashioned Mo-Chica downtown, followed by Paiche in Marina Del Rey.
The latest (and the first out-of-town location), Blue Tavern, opened in Santa Barbara just last month.
"After five years we decided very, very amicably to part ways," Bombet said. "I have a different vision, I want to work with different chefs on different concepts. That’s been my goal. What we created didn’t allow that.
"We still may collaborate on different things. He’s my friend for five years. I see him more than my own wife. But it’s hard to grow with the same vision. So many things have happened in the culinary world, especially Los Angeles, in the last five years, and it’s a good time to step back and for me to figure out some things."
It also was announced Wednesday that Mo-chica, Picca, Paiche and Blue Tavern are now part of the newly named Zarate Restaurants -- without Bombet. Joining Zarate Restaurants as director of operations is Ricky McIntosh, formerly with Landry’s Hospitality Group and the Bortz Group.