LA Chef Walter Adrianzen

(Originally published June 4, 2016 on Examiner.com).

The dining scene in Lima, Peru today offers a broad array of dining experiences from street food and traditional dishes to some of the world’s top ranked restaurants. There are plenty of places to have sanguches, ceviche and anticuchos as well as more avant garde hyper local ingredient driven fare prepared by some of the world’s top chefs. Like here in the United States, and more specifically Los Angeles, many of Lima, Peru’s top chefs have also opened more accessible concepts with a la carte menus. Chef Virgilio Martinez of the fourth ranked restaurant in the world, Central, opened up Nos. Chef Pedro Miquel Schiaffino ofMalabar opened up Amaz. Plus, of course, Gaston Acurio, whose Astrid y Gaston is currently ranked number fourteen in the world, has opened La Mar, a concept he’s exported to other countries including the United States

Though Acurio’s location of La Mar slated for Los Angeles back in 2009 never materialized, Los Angeles has its own chef driven similarly inspired Peruvian cuisine from Lima born chefs. Obviously Ricardo Zarate comes to mind as one of those chefs. Though another, not nearly as well known, is Walter Adrianzen who currently is the chef at the very unpretentiousLonzo’s Bakery on the west side.

 Chef Adrianzen moved to the United States from Lima when he was eleven years old. Following in his father’s footsteps, he started working in restaurants when he was sixteen. When he turned twenty, he decided to get more formal training so he got a degree from the Santa Monica Culinary Art College. In 2013, in a small food court on the Venice boardwalk, he conceived the menu and opened El Huarique with another Peruvian ex-patriot. After leaving that location, he opened the since closed C-V-CHE in East Los Angeles, consulted at Misky Misky in Covina, and then spent a few months as chef at Picca on West Picco Blvd after Zarate’s departure.

Chef Adrianzen started working at Lonzo’s Bakery back in November of last year. Here he installed the menu he had at C-V-CHE in East Los Angeles. Not going unnoticed, both Garrett Snyder at LA Weekly andJonathan Gold at the LA Times recognized Adrianzen’s efforts and especially his ceviche. Now more recently after a quick front of house remodel, Chef Adrianzen has just introduced a new menu which he describes as, “In-between traditional and upscale.” Adrianzen additionally noted, “Time is changing and Peruvian food is evolving so I created a menu where I can present Peruvian cuisine at another competitive level with other cuisines without losing its richness and flavors.”

The remodel includes a new ceviche bar. So Adrianzen will continue to serve the various ceviche dishes that have gotten him recognition thus far. He’s sourcing his seafood from Santa Monica Seafood which comes from all around the world. Interestingly as a side bar, early every morning restaurants in Lima go to the Terminal Pesquero de Villa Maria del Triunfo to get their seafood. All of this seafood comes from the coastal waters, rivers and lakes of Peru. Seafood sourcing and distribution is very different here in this country. Despite the locavore movement in the US, and California in particular, where sourcing local produce is so important, very little of the fish eaten at restaurants in the US, or even in California, is local.

Nonetheless, sidebar aside, what chef Adrianzen is doing in many other ways now at Lonzo’s Bakery in Culver City is not unlike what chefs like Acurio are also doing in Lima, Peru. Adrianzen draws upon Peru’s long history of creativity that fused what’s indigenous with the food culture of immigrants plus now, also like other Peruvian chefs, Adrianzen has taken it up a notch by making traditional dishes more modern yet still accessible at more affordable price points..

Be forewarned, though, Lonzo’s Bakery is very small and, even though they take reservations, they don’t have that many seats. So if you want to try Adrianzen’s new menu get there early. Lonzo’s Bakery new hours are from 7 AM to 10 PM Monday through Sunday. Breakfast ends at 11 AM, and lunch starts at 11:30 AM. Dinner has a separate menu. Lonzo’s Bakery is located at 10804 W. Washington Blvd in Culver City.

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