Imagine being asked to create a new menu item for Taco Bell. That’s just what happened to Chef Lorena Garcia. If her name sounds familiar, it’s because you probably saw her as a top three finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.”
At Taco Bell, she created a new steak to all menu items, including the Cantina Bell Steak Burrito priced at $4.99. This burrito features a tender-braised thick-cut steak marinated in Chef Lorena’s signature recipe in addition to premium Latin rice, flavorful black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, roasted corn and pepper salsa, Romaine lettuce and a creamy cilantro dressing, all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.
“About two years ago, Taco Bell asked me to come in to see what recipes I could bring to the table,” Garcia said. “I understand their business model and price point so it was really having an understanding of their business model and price point. One of the pillars for the Cantina Bell menu is the balance in flavors and contrast in textures. There are so many components that need to be right to make it the best possible steak. When I started working on perfecting the steak, I knew we had a long way to go. Sometimes it was too deep, too spicy or overwhelming. I really wanted to find that flavor that is so unique to the Latin culture. We went back and forth on many things from consistency and tenderness, to the cut and marinade. After nine rounds, we got the steak just right and are excited to introduce Taco Bell’s best steak ever!”
Cantina Bell provides Taco Bell customers with an expanded menu of quality options at a great value—plus with the convenience of a drive-thru. The complete menu includes a Cantina Bowl or Cantina Burrito with either the all new marinated thick-cut steak or 100 percent all-white chicken, guacamole, cilantro rice, fire-roasted corn salsa, cilantro dressing, black beans, romaine lettuce and pico de gallo. Side combinations include: chips and pico de gallo or fire-roasted corn salsa, or chips and guacamole.
Garcia said competing on “Top Chef Masters” was one of the hardest things she has ever done. “It was a fantastic experience because I was competing with the best in the industry,” she said. “I left the competition knowing my skills.”
Don’t miss the Taco Bell commercial, which will be appearing before Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII game, which features the New Cantina Bell Steak Burrito and uses a Spanish version of the 1994 hit song "Big Poppa." The spot that will air during the Super Bowl is a "Live Mas" commercial: http://www.youtube.com/user/tacobell/featured?v=KvxZcULxfKw.
Here is a link to a YouTube video to see how Chef Lorena Garcia and the Taco Bell team tested nine different versions of the steak in order to bring out the best balance in flavors and texture.