Bren Herrera is a multi-talented artist with an endless passion for all things art. Bren is a professional singer/songwriter, classically trained cellist, self-taught chef and published writer, that, simply put, loves to entertain!
A Renaissance woman in spirit, Bren was born in Havana, Cuba and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Bren grew up in a very Latin home, speaking almost only Spanish with family. She realized at an early age she wanted to entertain people. She started singing at the age of 5 in church and later professionally as she toured in Europe. Her bilingual skills have afforded her ease in connecting with both English and Spanish speaking audiences in such realms, especially overseas. Stateside, Bren has performed in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Miami and Atlanta, to name a few. In 2007 she began recording an album where she fuses her Latin roots and classical training to create a unique and soulful sound. It can be described as an eclectic fusion of Latin soul rhythms with raspy and versatile vocals like that of Joan Osborne. Her first single, titled “One Day” expresses the hope of ending all destitution and separation suffered as a result of Cuba’s political state. Her music writing and production caught the attention of critically acclaimed Atlanta-based artist Ken Ford who collaborated with Bren and featured one of her songs on recent album, “Right Now”.
Bren’s connection to record labels led her to start freelance writing covering music trends and interviewing artists and celebrities. Bren has enjoyed interviewing Grammy Award- winning artists such as Paquito D’Rivera (11-time jazz virtuoso Grammy winner and frequent guest judge on Food Network’s “Iron Chef”) Chrisette Michele, Anthony Hamilton, Raheem DeVaughn and the late Jazz saxophonist Frank Morgan (Duke Ellington, Billy Holiday). Her equal talent for creative writing positioned her for a frequent spot as a writer with Odyssey Couleur Magazine, Atlanta’s Finest Dining, “How Stuff Works” (Discovery Network), and has contributed to The Washington Post, among others, where she covers travel, lifestyle and culinary trends and festivals. Her assignments have taken her to Europe and the Caribbean. Until recently, Bren penned a weekly food column in LATINA Magazine and fancy food purveyor, Dean & DeLuca’s ‘Gourmet Blog’.
Bren also realized at a very early age she had a love and natural talent for cooking. She started mirroring her mother in the kitchen when she was only 8. Her first job was waiting tables at a Latin restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area. She later helped run her parents’ “cantina”, a personal chef delivery business and subsequently a highly popular Cuban food street truck serving the Immigration & Naturalization Service, both in Northern Virginia. Today, with 18 years of cooking experience, Bren is a private chef to notable clients in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York and L.A. She cooks and introduces Cuban and Latin fusion cuisine to those looking to diversify their palate. Her approach and philosophy are unique. Using fresh ingredients and lots of herbs and spices every time, challenging herself and teaching her clients to step outside the frozen food box, are her goals. The use of pressure cookers as her main culinary technique has drawn attention, as it is a lost art and generally associated with older generations. Incorporating her chic fashion sense, she will come in style always wearing killer pumps and always with a brief lesson on the menu’s history. She believes it is important to connect the food she prepares to its roots. If you understand where the dish comes from, she believes you will be able to appreciate it that much more. Chef Bren is very passionate about what leaves her kitchen. She’s always looking to infuse flavors from places she’s traveled to with the cuisine she grew up eating. She’s not afraid to try something new. Cuba’s palate, which includes African, European, Spanish, and even some Chinese, coupled with modern flavors and textures will create a perfect fusion menu. Bren also caters to small and intimate parties looking for something exciting and different.
Her love of food and journalistic endeavors as a writer inspired her to launch her award-winning food blog called Flanboyant Eats™. The interactive blog named after flan, her favorite Latin dessert and one of her acclaimed specialties, offers traditional Cuban and Latin fusion recipes, recounts of her international travel jaunts, restaurant reviews, chef interview podcasts and a TV section where she airs cooking demo’s and live TV appearances. The blog has garnered worldwide attention and has won awards for excellence in content and design.
Being a natural born entertainer, the pursuit of being a TV personality wasn’t a stretch for Bren. She has been a featured guest, cooking alongside celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse on his show “Emeril Green”, formerly on Discovery Network’s Planet Green. Emeril describes Bren as “a regular dynamo in the kitchen!” Her relentless passion has landed her a private staging with “Chef of the Century,” Joel Robuchon in his NY Atelier. Chef Robuchon has said of Bren’s flan: “This is a dessert that appeals to both young and old; and that’s a perfect dessert!” She has also appears regularly on several local network’s including Fox 5 “Good Day Atlanta” and CBS’s “Better Mornings.” Bren was a semi-finalist on Food Network’s 5th season of “Next Food Network Star” reality show. She was featured on Verizon Fios TV in March ’09 as a personality chef and is appeared for 18 months as the Latin resident chef on ‘Daytime’ TV a nationally syndicated talk show, where she appeared twice monthly. Of exciting note, Bren produced a commercial for I Cant’ Believe It’s Not Butter’s “Turn the Tub Around” campaign, featuring celebrity actress Megan Mullaly. Bren’s commercial was among the winning submissions and aired on American Idol’s 9th season premiere to a phenomenal audience of 33 million.
When not singing, cooking or writing, Bren is diligently working on being philanthropic. She is currently working on her third CreativeCause™, an annual charity event she founded in 2006, which showcases art, music, food and fashion and benefits world hunger organizations and music preservation foundations. If that were not enough, Bren launched in July 2009, “One Comment. One Eats.,” a web-based hunger campaign. For every comment left on her culinary blog, Bren will personally donate one food item to needy families or food banks. In February 2010, Bren raised $5,000 for Haiti relief efforts, through a culinary benefit she organized. 100% of the proceeds went to two non-profit organizations that are aiding Haiti directly. Bren is a Board member of G-Pan, a non-profit organization that fosters good health and active lifestyles among children and adults living in Georgia. Through that affiliation, Bren is a volunteer chef for “Cooking Matters”, an arm of Share Our Strength.
A natural fashionista and dreamer of one day designing her own shoe line, Bren opened in 2005 and runs B So Chic!™, an on-line boutique featuring unique designer and vintage apparel for women. She also runs and co-designs for C.B. Herrera™, her mother’s designer jewelry line, as seen on Vanna White and other notable TV personalities. Bren also spends a significant amount of timing documenting her street style on her fashion blog “Chronicles of a Hat & Shoe Queen,” two of her accessory obsessions!
Bren is writing her first cookbook, and working on collaborating with a national publisher. Paquito D’Rivera is writing the Introduction. Bren is currently the host of her own online show ‘Dine Out w/Bren‘ on the first, all female, on-demand network Chic Rebellion. In her show, Bren eats her way through the streets and refined and hole in the wall restaurants around the U.S. She also writes a weekly food column for MamiVerse and contributes to NBC Latino’s food section and Cuisine Noir’s food and travel columns.
Bren attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Comparative English Literature. Bren lives in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, GA
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