Sunday, January 5, 2014

Chef Lorena Garcia Shares Her Passion For Healthy Eating

Let's play a game of Jeopardy. The category is "Top Latina Chefs". Here's the question: She is a Venezuelan celebrity chef, restaurateur, T.V. personality and cookbook author; famous for creating the Cantina Bell menu at Taco Bell. Did I hear a buzzer? If your answer is "Who is Chef Lorena Garcia" you're moving on to the Double Jeopardy round.

With Chef Lorena Garcia

San Joaquin Sangria
California Grapes
Right before the holidays, I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Lorena Garcia at a culinary demonstration hosted by the California Table Grape Commission (Grapes from California). Lorena dazzled us with some of her favorite recipes for the holidays using California grapes. We got to indulge in a variety of sweet and savory bites, along with some refreshing cocktails including a delicious San Joaquin Sangria made with, you guessed it: grapes.

Delicious Sweet and Savory Bites Featuring Grapes

Shrimp Ceviche
Flatbread was Amazing
The moment I sat down and started talking with Lorena, I felt as if we had known each other for a long time. She has a golden personality and a winning smile. We talked about her Latin roots and the pivotal point that began her focus on advocating a healthier approach to cooking. "My mother and I started talking about how much childhood obesity has grown. It is impacting the overall health of children, particularly in our Latin culture, and we knew we had to do something. That is where my passion began."

Lobster Rolls

Chocolate Dipped Grapes
Skewered Shrimp and Grapes
Lorena explained that there isn't a need to completely change what we eat or sacrifice flavor, but rather we should be more conscious of our eating habits, use healthier ingredients in the kitchen and practice portion control. For example, keeping nutritious snacks in the freezer, such as grapes dipped in chocolate, and making small substitutions in the ingredients we use, can go a long way to satisfying those ravenous hunger pangs that often lead to no good. 

Chef Lorena Garcia preparing the Brie

Putting the grapes in the Brie
Anxiously awaiting...
As the spokesperson for the California Table Grape Commission, Lorena showcased the difference that this one ingredient can make in everyday cooking. From color, to flavor, to texture, using grapes adds a subtle sweetness and harmony to dishes that the whole family can enjoy. She also shared how these green, black and red delights are extremely versatile and can make meal times colorful and fun. "It's all about creating the perfect bite; a little bit of everything in moderation," she said.

Almost ready

Voila! Baked Brie with Herbed
Grapes from California
Wonderful time with a great
group of foodies
As the highlight of the evening, Lorena showed us how to prepare a Baked Brie with Herbed Grapes from California - one of her favorite holiday dishes. It was easy, quick and totally delicious. I'll let you in on a little secret. I served it this year on Christmas and everyone was impressed. You can learn how to make it in my Recipes Section.  For more information on Grapes from California, visit their website.

No comments:

Post a Comment