Great food transcends international boundaries, and so do great chefs.
Trained as a lawyer, called to be a chef, Lorena Garcia just wasn’t one to be hemmed in.
Garcia’s been making waves in American cuisine since she moved to the States from Venezuela, law degree in hand, around 2000.
Soon she found that food and entertaining were more engaging than law. By 2004 she had opened two restaurants and was hosting shows on the Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision.
Garcia’s recipes play with classics from all over, igniting Green Goddess dressing with lime juice and mustard, making risotto from apricots and walnuts, using candied red peppers in chimichurri. She doesn’t let tradition stop her from serving picadillo over pasta, drizzling truffle oil over ceviche, revitalizing lentil soup with cilantro and cumin.
Her attention extends to foods from all over, whether she’s grilling Brussels sprouts or transforming traditional spaghetti Bolognese with squid and salmon.
Garcia’s most recent “first” has her partnered with Taco Bell to become the first celebrity chef to put her name on a fast food menu dish. Garcia oversaw development of the Cantina Bell menu items, featuring bolder flavors and more fresh produce.
Sample her flair for international flavor below with recipes from her 2011 cookbook, Lorena Garcia’s New Latin Classics (Ballantine Books, 2011)
—By Nicki Pendleton Wood