Meet Aarón Sánchez
Aarón Sánchez is an award-winning chef, TV personality, author and philanthropist. He is chef/owner of Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans, the host and executive producer of Discovery’s “El Sabor de Aarón”, and a judge on FOX’s hit culinary competition series “MasterChef” and “MasterChef Junior”. He is the partner/creative director of Cocina, the first online content platform dedicated to celebrating Latin lifestyle through its vibrant culinary culture. Aarón grew up in the restaurant business and is passionate about preserving his family’s legacy through food and encouraging diversity in the kitchen. A third-generation cookbook author, Aarón has written two cookbooks – “La Comida del Barrio” and “Simple Food, Big Flavor”. In fall 2019 he published a memoir titled “Where I Come From: Life Lessons From a Latino Chef”. In October 2020, Aarón and his mother, Zarela Martínez, launched their podcast Cooking in Mexican from A to Z. Aarón has won a James Beard Award for Television Studio Program and was recognized by the Hispanic Federation with the Premio Orgullo Award for being a leader in the Hispanic community. In 2016, Aarón founded the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund (ASSF), an initiative empowering aspiring chefs from the Latin community. ASSF provides recipients with full culinary scholarships to schools in New York City and ongoing mentorship.
Q&A with Aarón
Q: What does community mean to you?
I’m grateful to be a part of many communities. I’m part of the parent community, the chef community, and the Latino community, to name a few. In the Latino community in particular, there’s so many different layers that really tie us back to family, culture, and to our language. And there’s a deep pride and dedication that keeps us growing, motivating one another, and also remembering to kick back and enjoy the adventure that is la vida.
Q: Why does it feel important to us as Latinos to spread the good and give back to the community once we’ve achieved a certain level of success?
It’s how we’re built. We push the envelope and innovate. And then once we reach a certain level of success, it’s important to spread the good. Mentorship paves the way for the next generation like my son to follow through even more boldly, in whatever way feels authentic for them. On the chef side, I started the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship fund to empower Latino youth through culinary education, mentorship, and industry experience so they can reach new heights as a leader in the food world. Mentoring and giving back is one of the most gratifying parts of what I do.
Q: What’s the importance of breaking bread with friends and family?
Aarón: One of the best ways to pay homage to your culture is by sharing a meal. For some it’s a block party in your local barrio, for others it might be driving deep into the outdoors to cook and celebrate the richness of our history with stories and good laughs. Each moment preserves the legacy of the generations that came before us. There’s nothing more beautiful.