One of the country’s leading Latina chefs, Lorena Garcia was born and raised in Venezuela. Garcia completed her law studies at the Santa Maria University in Caracas, and moved to the United States to complete her Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies. She traded her law papers for a cutting board and chef’s knife to study culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University. Garcia worked as an apprentice chef in France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and China. Next, she established 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. Lorena Garcia is the owner and executive chef of Lorena Garcia Cocina, located at the Miami International Airport which provides travelers a healthier alternative to Latin cuisine, with her next restaurants set to open at Atlanta International and DFW. She recently partnered with Taco Bell to create a new expanded menu, and has also served as the catalyst to help the leading Mexican quick service chain bring out the flavors of core ingredients such as salsas, guacamole, and marinades.
Garcia has been the host on many nationally syndicated Spanish-language shows, as well as being featured on CNN’s Latinos In America, NBC’s Today, and The Biggest Loser. Garcia was a series regular and one of the investors on NBC’s reality competition series America’s Next Great Restaurant. Most recently, Garcia was a guest chef on Top Chef All-Stars. Lorena is passionate about combating childhood obesity. She developed "Big Chef, Little Chef," 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. Lorena is also working with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a Partnership between the American Heart Association & William J. Clinton Foundation.