Causa Norteña (Peruvian Aji with Sauce)

Pizzolato Moscato sq

The Dish

Causa Norteña (Peruvian Aji with Sauce)

The Wine

Pizzolato Moscato IGT
Veneto, Italy
100% Moscato


The Chef

Ricardo Zarate
What is your latest ingredient obsession?

I think it’s seasonal. I always like acidity. Lemons, limes. I wish we could bring the Peruvian lime here. It’s different than the ones here. I remember when I was doing Japanese cuisine, the first encounter with a yuzu. I was crazy about it. That flavor is something incredible. It can be punchy, so you have to be careful. I just got some new Japanese limes from a guy so we’re going to try them later.

When did you start going to the L.A. Fish Company to purchase fish?

When I came to Los Angeles the second time in 2009 I came with a mission, I wanted to open my own business. I already worked 20 years of my life. It’s time. I started from a little, with all my money, and I opened Mo-Chica. I started looking for connections and I heard about L.A. Fish and started a relationship with Kenny, my vendor.

I remember going there every day at six o’clock in the morning when they opened. I would wait there, the first one to go in, and I would always ask for the best fish. Very particular for each dish. They would look at me and I was afraid they were angry. Who would come and make a big deal just to buy one fish? But I didn’t have a credit line so I would have to buy day-to-day. Slowly we grew and I was able to buy two or three. Now I buy quite a lot.

When you talk to suppliers, you need to build up the relationship. They get to know you and learn what you’re looking for. Sometimes he’ll send me fish I didn’t even ask for, because he knows I will like it.

*See all of Ricardo Zarate’s photos, interview, and recipe at  Chef’s Insight.


The Wine Expert

Ann Rabin Arnold

Peruvian food is making it’s way into the food scene and with it is the heat of the aji amarillo chili. The effervescence and slight sweetness of the Pizzolato Moscato IGT  is a perfect pairing for the heat of the chili.  Not only does it cool the mouth, but the bubbles help sooth and balance the palate.

Ann Rabin Arnold is a 3rd generation wine enthusiast, that grew up in the retail wine business, that began with her grandfather in 1938. As Ann reentered into the wine scene, she noticed a niche that was not clearly defined or well represented. This lead her on a path to bring together two of her passions:  wine and organic products.  The dream of representing organic vineyards and wines from around the world is now a reality. On any given day you can find Ann visiting wineries, finding new recipes to enjoy with her family or simply having fun with her 4 year old daughter who may soon be the 4th generation wine aficionado.

You can find Ann on LinkedIn or any of the Organic Wine Exchange‘s social media sites.



Print Chef’s Insight is a raw, behind-the-scenes look at the culinary process and the people behind it. Photographer Bob Hodson shadows the chef—in his or her restaurant, home kitchen, backyard, favorite farmers market, wherever—shooting editorial style and capturing the details and the process… action on the line, scribbled recipes and plating notes, flashes of knife work, the flip of a pan, the beautiful symmetry of the finished mise en place