Celebrity chef Lorena Garcia is gearing up to see if she can stand the heat on Thursday’s episode of NBC’s high-stakes cooking competition Food Fighters. Her rivals: miniature amateur cooks — aka kids. Armed only with recipes for their best signature dishes, the teeny boppers will square off against Garcia, who will have to cook the same dish but with no advance notice of what it will be. If the home cook wins, he/she earns a cash prize of up to $100,000.
We spoke to the Venezuela native who specializes in Latin cuisine and lives in Miami about her experience on the show, hosted by Man v. Food’s Adam Richman:
What is the hardest aspect of cooking during this type of showdown?
I’m just hoping that either I tried the dish, or I know what I’m sitting there talking about because you walk in, and you have no idea what you’re making. The first five minutes you can gather in your ingredients, so you only have 18 to 20 minutes to really make something. Being able to work under pressure and figuring out the piece that you’re being presented with are the toughest for me.
What is the difference in dynamic between competing with child chefs as opposed to competing with adults?
Well, I don’t want to give away much of what happens, but one of the things that’s being showcased is the importance of the home cooks and the knowledge and the attention that they pay to detail. It’s not an easy task, but you’ll be amazed at what they come up with.
Which ingredient is the most challenging for you personally?
If it is a dish that I have never heard before, I think I could be in trouble because I’m a master at Latin cuisine. That’s what I do: fresh, modern Latin. It’s about having a pretty good understanding of different dishes from different cultures and doing your very best, not so much one particular ingredient.