Tampa Bay chef Rosana Rivera made Food Network history on Dec. 26 by being the very first Latina woman to ever win Beat Bobby Flay, a popular cable television show on the Food Network. After winning the first round, it was up to her to bring it with her signature empanada recipe.
"This experience has been one of the highlights of my year. Most importantly, competing against Iron Chef Bobby Flay is an experience I will never forget,” Rivera said. “I have a deep respect for his talent, charisma, and the amazing team that works with him. It is an honor that I was able to cook side by side with him, compete against him, and can proudly say I Beat Bobby Flay."
Sophisticated cuisine is nothing new to Rivera and her husband and business partner, chef Ricardo Castro, whom she defeated in the first round using her secret ingredient, papaya.
The two were owners of the French-inspired bakery Piquant and owners of Xilo at The Hall on Franklin in Tampa, Florida. The chefs also own R2 Provisions, a national catering company, and a high-end food truck.