Erik Ramirez didn’t always want to cook Peruvian food. He was raised in New Jersey by Peruvian parents, and even though he wanted to cook for a living, he stayed away from his native cuisine. His first formative jobs in New York City found him developing classic French and American skillsets at Eleven Madison Park and Irving Mill, respectively.
One trip to Lima and a life-changing ceviche later, Ramirez returned home with a newfound love and appreciation for Peruvian food. At the time, he was cooking nuevo Latin at Nuela with mentor and Rising Stars alum Adam Schop. But when Nuela closed and turned into the Peruvian Raymi, Ramirez seized the opportunity to embrace his roots. Working his way up the hierarchy, he studied the techniques, ingredients, and flavors of Peruvian food, absorbing them on an even more subtle and intimate level.
In 2015, with the help of business partner Juan Correa, Ramirez opened the brilliantly branded Llama Inn in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Before opening, Ramirez spent more time in Peru, hanging with the godfathers of modern Peruvian cuisine Gastón Acurio and Virgilio Martínez. Llama Inn has received two stars from The New York Times, and a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Ramirez’s food is a delicious sucker punch to authenticity, but still captures the spirit, warmth, and vivacity of the traditional Peruvian kitchen.