Lorena Garcia, First Latina Executive Chef on the Las Vegas Strip, ‘Dreamed’ of Opening Chica

Chef Lorena Garcia is the kind of woman we need to see more of in the culinary industry. Not only is she talented, Garcia manages to do it all with an air of ease and pleasantness we all wish we could imitate. The energy she exuded on  Top Chef was proof of that.Born and raised in Venezuela, Garcia completed a law degree in Caracas before moving to the United States to complete her associates degree in paralegal studies. The law bug didn’t last long, and shortly after completing her degree, she went on to study culinary arts at the esteemed Johnson & Wales University in Miami.

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Nathalie Raime
Celebrity Chef Lorena Garcia Talks About Making It In Vegas

“You have to be good to be in Las Vegas,” says chef Lorena Garcia. “There is no settling for mediocrity and being good enough is not good enough anymore. You have to be excellent, because the competition is tough.”

When Garcia opened Chica at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Venetian in May, she joined an elite group of female celebrity chefs who have restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. Joining the court of Giada De Laurentiis, Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger and Christina Tosi, Garcia captivates palates both experienced and new with dishes showcasing the flavors of Latin America.

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Nathalie Raime
6 Reverse Road Trips for Late Fall

With culinary influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, Venezuelan Chef Lorena Garcia's new restaurant, Chica, is the hot spot in town for any Latin foodie in need of dinner and drinks, or just a fun brunch spot for your very own favorite chicas. Order the crab and shrimp salpicon, asado negro arepas, and every single ceviche possible.

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Nathalie Raime
2017 Thanksgiving events and specials in Las Vegas

This year there is no need to invest countless hours in planning and prepping, start a new tradition and make a reservation at Chica. New to Las Vegas strip, Chica’s diverse menu draws inspiration from classic renditions of Latin American cuisine with influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Helmed by chef Lorena Garcia, the pre-fixed holiday menu offers innovative dishes, vibrant décor and a curated wine list.Start off with the Sweet Plantain Soup, with the option to add the foie gras supplement. For the entrée, Chica is serving up Turkey Enchiladas, slow cooked and simmered in pumpkin mole and topped with melted string cheese, jalapeño and pomegranate pico.

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Nathalie Raime
2017 Las Vegas Thanksgiving dining specials

New to the Las Vegas Strip, Chica is offering classic Latin American cuisine with a holiday twist. Highlights include Sweet Plantain Soup, Turkey Enchiladas (with pumpkin mole, topped with string cheese, jalapeno, and pomegranate pico) and Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake.

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Nathalie Raime
THE BEST NEW LAS VEGAS RESTAURANTS OF 2017

When it comes to culinary hype and fanfare, our Strip tends to hog all the attention, but the tourist corridor was relatively quiet when it came to new openings in 2017. The real excitement was in the neighborhoods off the Strip -- where most people actually live and chefs have a greater opportunity to call their own shots and take a few more chances. Make no mistake, the era of the celebrity chef is still very much alive, with Gordon Ramsay and Giada de Laurentiis planning new Vegas concepts in 2018, but as the population grows and appetites evolve, the locals are gravitating to restaurants that aren't attached to a hotel or a paid parking garage. More than ever, quality can be found anywhere in Las Vegas, which is the real story of the year when it comes to food.

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Nathalie Raime
How to add a Latin flare to this year's Thanksgiving feast

AS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — Chef Lorena Garcia has really broken the barriers in the cooking industry, as she is the first Latin executive chef on the Las Vegas Strip.

Today, she joins us with how to put a Latin flare on your traditional Thanksgiving meal.

 

Some of the delicious meals include turkey enchiladas, spiced pumpkin cheesecake, and sweet plantain soup with shallot confit, crème fraiche, and espellete pepper with a crispy plantain dust (and the option to add foie gras).

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Nathalie Raime
Young Again: Jwoww Dines at Chica

Jenni “JWoww” Farley and Roger Matthews hit Las Vegas hotspots, Chica and Yardbird Southern Table & Bar with her kids, friends and family, noshing on mouth-watering signature dishes like the famous Fried Chicken, Watermelon & Waffles, Crispy Brussels and Macaroni & Cheese, and gushing about her new talk show, Young Americans, set to premiere early 2018.

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Nathalie Raime
Inventive and Delicious: Las Vegas new and Popular Restaurants

Chica brings together flavors from throughout Latin America, and the dishes reflect influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. You'll find guacamole, as you might expect, but also grilled Peruvian octopus, Brazilian beef tenderloin and porchetta with crispy yuca hash. Latina chef Lorena Garcia's menu at Chica is a Latin Fusion mash-up of flavors and dishes with its roots in Central and South America home cooking, like the Meyer Lemon Rotisserie Chicken, one of Chica's most well-known dishes. Chicken marinated in Meyer lemon is slow roasted and served with Peruvian purple potato salad and chimichurri. A full menu of drinks, including specialty cocktails, is available, and the comfortable, stylish interior sets the scene to enjoy your meal. Chica is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Nathalie Raime
Strip's food offerings getting kicked up a notch

On a recent Sunday morning in Las Vegas, after a sunny stroll down the Strip, I arrived at Eggslut inside the Cosmopolitan. The Los Angeles import is known for its breakfast sandwiches topped with ingredients like wagyu tri-tip and caramelized onions. It's also known for its line. On this particular day, that line stretched down a resort hallway, dozens of visitors hoping to preempt hangovers with two-hander sandwiches hot off the griddle.

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Nathalie Raime
Las Vegas presents an Epic Night in Mexico City

Giving an exquisite advance to the guests of what will be the CHICA restaurant at The Venetian, which opens its doors in March this year, chef Lorena Garcia prepared delicious dishes that the guests, prepared under a vibrant Latin inspiration and who will be in The menu of their long awaited new restaurant. 

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Nathalie Raime
The Biggest Restaurant Openings in Las Vegas in 2017

Chica 

Location: Venetian 

The Players: 50 Eggs’ John Kunkel and Lorena Garcia 

The Situation: Chica takes over the former DB Brasserie space with a construction budget north of $3.7 million, bringing food inspired from countries throughout Latin America. Design melds contemporary and classic elements, taking elements from Colonial Spain using a variety of eclectic textures like wood, bright leather, wrought iron and ornate tile work. The kitchen will include a built-in rotisserie wall and custom Churrasco grill, as well as a cold bar in the center of the restaurant where fresh ceviches and salads will be made. 

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Nathalie Raime
Latin Chica Starts Testing Recipes for a Spring Arrival

Just as Daniel Boulud announces DB Brasserie’s final service at the Venetian, it’s replacement is already testing recipes and sending them out to the Internet world. 

Chica from John Kunkel of 50 Eggs plans to debut in spring 2017 as a neighbor to his other concept, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Chef Lorena Garcia is already pulling out new recipes from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina to feature on the menu. 

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Nathalie Raime