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.
Fernandez, a native New Yorker of Dominican descent, just became the first kitchen warrior to beat out Bobby Flay with a Latin dish on Flay’s literally-titled Food Network show “Beat Bobby Flay.’
After defeating Chef Chris Kobayashi on a shitake mushroom dish challenge, Fernandez was given the opportunity to select a signature dish of his preference for his face-off with Flay. He picked his acclaimed Arepa dish – made with steak, lime-scented sour cream, creamy guacamole, pico de gallo and Cotija cheese. Sadly, this is not on the menu at La Marina – but Chef Fernandez, if you’re reading this please hook it up. Below, you can see him talk about the dish from his days at restaurant Blend on the Water.
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.”
To celebrate his win, he reportedly turned up at a Hennessy party with fellow Quisqueyanos Dascha Polanco and Henry Santos.
Correction: Peruvian-Cuban Chef Victor Albisu was actually the first Latino chef to beat Bobby Flay on “Beat Bobby Flay,” winning his episode in January of 2015. However, Chef Fernandez is the first to win with a dish from Latin American cuisine.