Thursday, July 5, 2012

07/05 Chef Lorena Garcia, Frank Pellegrino

Celebrity Chef Lorena Garcia

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. 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 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, later sold in 2008. Her cookbook “Lorena Garcias’s New Latin Classics: Fresh Ideas for Favorite Dishes” was published in September 2011.

The first Lorena Garcia Cocina Restaurant located at the Miami International Airport opened February 2011, where Lorena teams up with HMS Host to provide travelers a healthier alternative to Latin cuisine. The second restaurant, Lorena Garcia Tapas, will open at the Harstfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on July 2012.

Lorena 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. Lorena will be participating in Bravo’s “Top Chef Master’s” Season 4 This upcoming July 25th as an contestant. This show pits 12 world-renowned chefs against each other to see how well they fare in fierce culinary competition based at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Obtaining and eating fast food is easy. Restaurants abound and we often have our choice of any cuisine anywhere we go in the U.S. But gourmet fast food is hard to come by, and gourmet Mexican fast food often isn’t fast – we tend to sit down and eat in the restaurant - or isn’t gourmet. But now Taco Bell has solved that problem with its new lineup of Cantina Bell offerings!

Celebrity Latina chef Lorena Garcia has worked with the restaurant for close to two years to perfect the menu, which features eight new ingredients: whole black beans, cilantro rice, 100-percent all-white meat chicken in a citrus and herb marinade, guacamole with 100-percent Hass avocado, fire-roasted corn salsa, creamy cilantro dressing, romaine lettuce and pico de gallo.

Frank Pellegrino - Owner of RAO's

Rao's is renowned for its jukebox, its quirky decor, its unmatched hospitality and most of all, the spectacular Neapolitan cuisine. It's also notorious for being one of the most difficult restaurants in New York in which to get a reservation. Year-long waits for one of its ten tables are not uncommon. But what is it about this tiny, charming restaurant that makes it the most in-demand spot in the city night after night, year after year?

For decades Rao's existed as a neighborhood restaurant. Its local customers would fill the tables with such regularity that eventually they were given standing reservations - bookings that persevere to this day. The Rao's phenomenon exploded in 1977, when New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton gave Rao's a gushing, half-page, three-star review, splashing the city's best-kept secret in front of millions of readers.

Since Rao's NYC location only has ten tables, and only one seating per evening, the resulting demand would have been overwhelming even if the tables weren't already spoken for. That the tables were "owned" like a condominium translated to almost no empty seats in the house, night after night