HOLA! USA wants to empower the Latinx community with narratives about the contributions that Latinos have made in the U.S. across the full spectrum — music, fashion, entertainment, business, health, beauty and wellness. It is time to celebrate our Latinidad in all its glory. These are our stories; this is Latinx.
Chef Aarón Sánchez is a chef to the stars. He's appeared on every great cooking show—Iron Chef America, Chopped and Masterchef to name a few. He's also become a big name amongst foodies around the world for his hotspot restaurant Johnny Sánchez, where he is Executive Chef and provides delicious and perfectly plated Mexican cuisine. He's clearly mastered the art of cooking, but now he wants to take that knowledge and serve it to the next generation of Latinxers who want to become the next great chef.
Aarón, who is from Mexican descent, is fully aware of the importance of fusing cooking with culture. In his upcoming memoir Where I Come From: Life Lessons From a Latino Chef, the 43-year-old chef opens up and shares details about his personal life and how he came to be the chef and person he is today. His mother was also a restaurateur and happens to be the chef that is credited with bringing Mexican cuisine to the New York City food scene. So you can say that being one of the greatest Latino chefs is in his blood. Keep scrolling to read Chef Aarón's words on food, culture and the future of Latinx cooking...
As I write this I am less than a month out from releasing my first memoir. It is a surreal moment to have your life story translated to the page. I decided now was the time to write a memoir because I am in a place in my life where I can truly reflect on my past successes, obstacles and failures alike. So much has happened since I found myself in the kitchen at the young age of 13 years old. I want my story to serve as inspiration for the next generation of Latino chefs. I am fortunate enough to have a platform from which I can uplift and empower others and feel it my duty to pass along what I have learned along the way.
I have worked in the culinary industry in some form or another for almost three decades and learned that no matter the cuisine, food connects us all in an incomparable way. Food is the universal language and the way people cook and commune is such a beautiful window into other cultures. Through that lens, "Where I Come From" strives to communicate my Latino traditions and deep-rooted desire to champion the cuisine for generations to come.
No matter where you look in the hospitality industry, Latinos are the backbone of the of the establishment. When I started cooking, Latinos were not running the kitchens or [were] the owners of restaurants. They were found back of house, washing dishes, prepping food and busy with other behind-the-scenes tasks. This does not stand true today. My family has a rich history in the culinary world and my mother, for example, was a driving force in the kitchen who paved the way for not only Latinas, but women at the helm. There has been great positive change for Latinos in the industry and I hope to help continue the positive momentum.
My goal is to continue to give young Latinos and Latinas every opportunity and to give back to an industry that has been so gracious to me. One way I am able to do that is through my Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund, which empowers aspiring chefs from the Latin community to follow their dreams and attend the best culinary school in the United States, The International Culinary Center. Latinos will always be instrumental in this industry and we need to ensure that the next generation of Latino chefs will be leaders in the kitchen.
Where I Come From: Life Lessons From a Latino Chef hits shelves on October 1.