Lorena Garcia is the Owner and Executive Chef of Elements, a new restaurant featuring an eclectic blend of Latin and Asian-inspired dishes. Located in the heart of Miami’s design district, the menu and décor at Elements reflects Garcia’s simple and ethereal approach to cooking.
Born and raised in Venezuela, Garcia received a degree in law from Santa Maria University in her native Caracas, Venezuela. After graduating, she relocated to America where she learned English and began work as a paralegal. It wasn't long before Garcia decided she needed a change and enrolled in Johnson & Wales University. Leaving law behind for good, she graduated with a degree in culinary arts and, inspired by her new education and a burgeoning creativity, she embarked on a world tour of great food cities. While in Paris, she landed her first job as an apprentice at the Ritz-Carlton. She would follow this with stints as a chef in several countries including Italy, Japan, Korea, Thailand and China.
Upon returning to the U.S., she came onboard at the Grand Bay Hotel where she worked for three years under acclaimed chef, Pascal Oudin. Following that, she also worked at China Grill and Red Square, all part of the Jeffery Chodorow culinary empire. Garcia opened her first restaurant, Food Café, in Miami's Design District in July 2002.
Because of her Latin upbringing and charismatic personality, she was quickly tapped by the local Latin television stations Telemundo, Gems and Mundo, where she has hosted several shows including "Vida Gourmet", "Cocine Mundos" (the equivalent to "Dinner and a Movie"), and "De Mañanita". Her most recent work includes a regular cooking segment on MGM’s "Casa Club TV" channel, shown both in the U.S. and Latin America, and a weekly segment on Telemundo’s national morning show, "Cada Dia com Maria Antonieta" entitled "Cocinando con Nestle" (Cooking with Nestle). Garcia is also the spokeswoman for SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener.
Most recently, Garcia has put her resource of knowledge to even more good with the development of "Big Chef Little Chef," a program where Garcia teaches children ages 8-12 how to cook. The program is a series of cooking classes designed to enlighten young minds about healthy eating in order to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity.
Garcia's cooking exhibits her international influences, infusing favorite Latin flavors into the dishes she prepares, while remaining health conscious at the same time.