Since Lorena Garcia has been cooking professionally, she has focused on bringing the flavors of Latin cooking -- one of the great cuisines of the world -- to a wider audience. Her global, fresh and highly flavorful take on Latin Cuisine offers a modern fusion of classic techniques with Latin ingredients. Her life as a chef, entrepreneur, cookbook author, media personality, cookware designer and restaurateur has been a celebration of the cooking and passion for food that she grew up with in her native Caracas, Venezuela with the international flavors and culinary techniques she amassed as a young chef working in some of the world’s finest restaurants.
As one of the nation’s top celebrity chefs best known for her television roles on Top Chef Masters, America’s Next Great Restaurant and two time Emmy winning morning show Despierta America on Univision. Garcia has published two bestselling cookbooks. Though she originally went to school in Venezuela to become a lawyer, she soon realized she had a different calling and enrolled in cooking school in the United States. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University and received an honorary doctorate in the same field. Garcia took her first job as an apprentice at the Ritz Carlton in Paris, and then worked her way through different regions of the world including Italy, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and China, picking up techniques and inspiration along the way.
In July 2002, Garcia took the leap and opened her own restaurant, Food Café, and then Elements Tierra, two successful restaurants in Miami’s Design District that featured an eclectic mix of Latin and Asian-inspired dishes (both sold in 2008). Recognizing a need for great comfort food for stressed-out travelers, in February 2011, she brought her talents as an executive chef to Miami International Airport (in the American Airlines terminal) with the opening of Lorena Garcia Cocina, a healthier take on traditional Latin cuisine. She opened her second traveler’s restaurant in August 2012 at the Atlanta International Airport (Delta International) with plans for Dallas/Ft. Worth (American Airlines) in 2015. In addition to Garcia’s restaurants, the Lorena Garcia Culinary Loft, located in Miami, FL is available for private events and television productions.
In 2017, Garcia embarked on her most ambitious restaurant project in collaboration with the award- winning international hospitality ground 50 Eggs Inc., landing her on the worldfamous Las Vegas Strip. CHICA by Lorena Garcia located at The Venetian hotel is a stunning celebration of Latin American cooking and hospitality showcasing flavors, influences and techniques from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, combined and reimagined in Garcia’s distinct global style. With CHICA, she has joined the ranks of the world class chefs on Restaurant Row at The Venetian including Thomas Keller and Emeril Lagasse – and now her photo proudly lives between them as the first woman chef on the “Wall of Culinary Titans” outside the property.
The expansion of the CHICA brand brought Garcia back home to South Florida when the concept opened its second location in Miami’s historic MiMo district in late-2019. The Miami incarnation of CHICA by Lorena Garcia will appeal to both locals and visitors alike, featuring the robust and vibrant flavors of authentic Latin and South American dishes, inventive cocktails and an unparalleled dining experience guaranteed to elevate the local culinary landscape..
In addition to her success as a chef and restaurateur, she has also been featured on the CNN special documentary “Latinos in America” and as a guest on such talk programs as The Talk, The Chew, Today and Good Morning America.
Her recipes have been featured in publications such as People Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Saveur, and she has been profiled in business magazines for her significant role as a strong female Latina chef and business-owner including Kiplinger’s and Entrepreneur.
When she is not growing her personal brand or expanding her culinary footprint, Garcia always finds time to give back, particularly with her own non-profit organization aimed at combatting childhood obesity, “Big Chef, Little Chef.” The comprehensive program helps children and their families take control of their eating habits and, ultimately, their lives.
You can find information on Chef Lorena Garcia at www.ChefLorenaGarcia.com and follow her on Facebook (LorenaGarciaOnline), Twitter (@LorenaGarcia) and Instagram (@ChefLorena).