One of the country's leading Latina chefs, Lorena Garcia was born and raised in Venezuela, and credits her many gatherings spent entertaining family and friends as her career inspiration: "Bringing loved ones together to enjoy wonderful food is something that has always fulfilled me." Garcia started off studying law at the Santa Maria University in Caracas, Venezuela. Once she completed her law studies, she moved to the United States to complete her associate degree in paralegal studies. Making her dream to become a chef a reality, Garcia traded her law papers for a cutting board and chef's knife to study culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University.
Inspired by her education and burgeoning creativity, Garcia set out on a world tour of countries known for great cuisine. She worked as an apprentice chef in France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and China; and worked alongside world-renowned chefs such as Pascal Audin. Her next step was to establish the restaurants Food Café and later Elements Tierra, two successful restaurants in Miami's Design District that featured menus defined by an eclectic blend of Latin and Asian-inspired dishes, which she later sold in 2008.
Garcia's charismatic personality and contagious enthusiasm have helped her secure numerous roles as host on nationally syndicated shows, including "Vida Gourmet" on the Gems network; "Co/cine Mun2" on the Mun2 network; "El Arte del Buen Gusto" on MGM Casa Club TV; "Sazón" on Univision Radio; and currently "Sazón con Lorena Garcia" on Utilisima. Recently, Garcia was featured in CNN's "Latinos in America," broadcast globally to millions of viewers. She has also been featured as a guest on NBC's "The Biggest Loser."
Garcia's dynamic appeal has been recognized by global brands. Moving into her third year as a Nestlé spokesperson, Garcia appears on "Cocinando con Nestlé," a weekly segment on the Univision morning show, and "Despierta America," where she prepares popular and traditional dishes from Latin America. Every year, Garcia showcases her culinary talents on behalf of Nestlé brands during a multi-city North American tour of Latin street festivals and fairs.
Garcia has taken on the challenge of combating childhood obesity. She developed Big Chef, Little Chef as a comprehensive program to help children and their families take control of their eating habits and ultimately, their lives. More than simply promoting healthy eating, it is a lifestyle modification plan that educates children of all ages and their families about the benefits of nutrition and of living a healthy, happy, and positive life.
Scheduled to open in winter 2010 is the first Lorena Garcia Cocina Restaurant located at the Miami International Airport, where Garcia teams up with HMS Host Marriott Services to provide travelers with a healthier alternative to Latin cuisine. In the heart of the Miami Design district, the Lorena Garcia Production Headquarters and Studios are scheduled to open in early 2011. Featuring a 5,000-square-foot space, the studio will allow for TV production, brand development, educational workshops and all media relations.
The Lorena Garcia empire continues to grow.