Growing up in Venezuela, Lorena Garcia loved to cook. But law school came before culinary arts.
The chef and judge on NBC's "America's Next Great Restaurant," airing Sundays, says, "I finished high school when I was so young, and my mother was an attorney, and her brother was an attorney, and she said, 'Study law. You can always use it.' "
As a girl, Garcia invited friends over after school so she could cook for them.
"I love breakfast," she says. "I love to make eggs, arepas, corn patties that you can fill with chicken, salad, eggs or meat, almost like a tortilla. I am very good with sauces, seafood."
Over the years, Garcia owned and sold two restaurants. She just opened LG Cocina at Miami International Airport and hopes it's the first in a chain.
Anyone who has searched for fresh, healthy food at an airport knows it's tough to find.
"My concept is a grab and go, everything is made on the premises," she says. "I don't have anything fried, all roasted and braised, all salads are made daily, nothing is pre-made. I have been playing close attention to the quality of the food."
She and fellow chefs and judges Bobby Flay, Steve Ells and Curtis Stone try to teach the show's contestants the many aspects of being restaurateurs. An important issue is portions. In her new restaurant, portions "are smaller so you see the portions are much closer to what they should be," she says.
Like so many nutritionists and others who work with food, Garcia is opposed to how supersized American portions have become.
"American portions are completely wrong," Garcia says. "One of the things I see through the show is we have a responsibility to put out a restaurant that shows the right things."
Celebrity Scoop: Lorena Garcia
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