Most people hit up sprawling Washington Heights venue La Marina to hear reggaeton cuts, turn up with los tigueres in the summer, and navigate the thirst traps. But now there’s another reason to go: to eat Executive Chef Kelvin Fernandez’s food.
This year, Fernandez, a native New Yorker of Dominican descent, became the first kitchen warrior to beat out Bobby Flay with a Latin dish on Flay’s Food Network show “Beat Bobby Flay.’ He made his acclaimed Arepa dish – made with steak, lime-scented sour cream, creamy guacamole, pico de gallo and Cotija cheese. Flay’s arepa stuffed with pork didn’t stand a chance.
“This opportunity is one that you dream of. I grew up watching and knowing of Chef Bobby Flay, and dreaming to be in his shoes one day,” Chef Kelvin Fernandez said of the experience. “I never thought I would be beating him in a kitchen battle with my signature dish that represents my Latin culture. The entire experience is definitely one I can cross off my bucket list.”
With the win under his belt, we caught up Fernandez to see how his life has changed and what the future holds for the La Marina chef.