HOLA, CHICA!

LORENA GAR­CIA BUSTS INTO THE BOYS’ CLUB (AGAIN) TO OPEN HER RESTAU­RANT IN VENE­TIAN.

Vegas Magazine - - Contents - BY JIM BE­G­LEY

Lorena Gar­cia busts into the boys’ club (again!) to open her restau­rant in Vene­tian.

In Fe­bru­ary, Vene­tian added a 21-foot-tall photo of Top Chef Mas­ters alum and Mi­ami, At­lanta, and Dal­las chef and restau­ra­teur Lorena Gar­cia to its Wall of Chefs—the first woman in the mix, hold­ing her own be­tween Mario Batali and Emeril La­gasse—in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the May open­ing of her restau­rant Chica. Her plans, too, are un­like any other on the Strip: South and Cen­tral Amer­i­can fare blend­ing the cul­tures of Peru, Mex­ico, Ar­gentina, and her na­tive Venezuela in the for­mer db Brasserie space. She’s dubbed the food “fresh, modern Latin.” “Modern be­cause it’s my in­ter­pre­ta­tion of what new Latin clas­sics are about to­day,” she says, “and Latin be­cause we have all the fla- vors of Latin Amer­ica rep­re­sented in these amaz­ing dishes.” Owned by the Mi­ami-based 50 Eggs, which also owns Vene­tian’s Yard­bird South­ern Ta­ble & Bar, her de­cid­edly fem­i­nine restau­rant will be push­ing out a ro­tat­ing selec­tion of ce­viches from the cold bar, chur­ras­caria grilled meats, and Venezue­lan arepas, all of which you can wash down with wines from a menu high­light­ing South Amer­i­can vine­yards.

Re­flect­ing on her place on the testos­terone-laden wall, she sug­gests to young fe­male chefs, “Be a mas­ter in what you do. Pre­pare your­self. Work. Learn from the best. Find your men­tor. Ded­i­cate your time to travel, to study, to cook, and to learn.” The eter­nally op­ti­mistic Gar­cia notes that it “doesn’t mat­ter if you’re a chica or chico. If you know what you’re do­ing and you’re pas­sion­ate about food, I’m sure that suc­cess will be right there.” We sug­gest you re­flect on this wis­dom over a glass from her col­lec­tion of wines by fe­male vint­ners from every coun­try in South Amer­ica. Vene­tian, 702430-1235; vene­tian.com

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT: Chef Lorena Gar­cia in her kitchen; Vene­tian and Palazzo pres­i­dent Ge­orge Markan­to­nis and Se­bastien Sil­vestri, vice pres­i­dent of food and bev­er­age, wel­come Gar­cia to the Wall of Chefs; spicy tuna ce­viche; braised pork plan­tain leaf tamales; wa­ter­cress and chicken av­o­cado sal­ad­stuffed arepas.

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