EXCLUSIVE: Chef Lorena Garcia Talks Healthy Eating On-The-Go, Venezuelan Cuisine, And More!

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Venezuelan-born Lorena Garcia has her hands in many different pots (literally). The world-famous chef, restaurateur, TV host, and author just took on a new gig -- spokeswoman for Colgate Total Mouthwash.

Garcia, who originally wanted to pursue a career in law, is now one of the most successful Latina chefs on the planet. She's opened two restaurants (located in Miami International Airport and Atlanta International Airport), authored a cookbook, launched her own line of kitchenware with HSN, and appeared on countless TV shows -- including Top Chef All-Stars, the Biggest Loser, and America's Next Great Restaurant. 

We chatted with Garcia about healthy eating on-the-go, her recommendations for eating light while traveling, her favorite Venezuelan dishes, and her advice for learning to 'refine your palate.' Check it out:  

So, we just learned that you initially wanted to be a lawyer -- not a chef! 

That's correct! I went to law school, and I remember that I got a job offer at a huge law firm. I almost went into a panic attack. I feared that I would be in an office all day. So, you know, it was fantastic attending law school. I think it helped me to think logically. But, my passion was not in law. I always loved entertaining and cooking. So, I traded my books for a set of knives, and started cooking! 

Wow! What was your family's reaction?

Well, my mom thought I was crazy! She said, "How can you want to be peeling potatoes, cutting onions, and smelling like food all day?" That's exactly what I wanted! I knew that if I had any chance at being successful, it would have to be with something that I absolutely loved and was passionate about. 

What inspired your love of cooking? 

My mom! I mean, my mom is an amazing cook! I remember making her a surprise when I was six-years-old, and I did this picnic on the floor of my living room. When my mom woke up, my kitchen was, of course, a disaster. But, I had the most beautiful picnic in the middle of the living room. I remember that was my first meal. So yes, I've always loved to cook. I would always find an excuse to invite my friends from school to the house, so I would make a big feast for everybody. My mother was an amazing cook. Some of my great recipes I stole from her.

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Cristina Arreola, Associate Editor

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