If you’re a big fan of competitive cooking shows, you’ll no doubt enjoy the latest series from Mexican-American chef Aarón Sánchez. The TV personality and restaurateur’s show “El Sabor De Aarón” is a mad dash through all kinds of Latin cuisines, pairing up Latino chefs to compete against each other.
Exclusive to HGTV’s Hogar Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. EST, the show is everything on showcasing what makes Latin American cuisine so special – and shines a light on incredible Latino chefs who deserve so much more recognition.
It’s no secret that Sánchez is one of the best chefs in the business, coming from a foodie family to create something entirely his own. His both grandmother and mother are cookbook authorsand his mother ran a famous restaurant for 30 years. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, he grew up with a mother who “does a mole from Oaxaca with chicken” or “a dish of snapper from Veracruz”. There is no doubt that Sánchez developed a love for learning about the beauty of food and quickly gravitated towards this career.
Rather early, Sánchez launched his own restaurantthe epic Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans, and appeared as a judge on “MasterChef” and “Chopped”, hosted Cooking Channel’s “Taco Trip”, wrote two cookbooks and a memoir, won a James Beard Award, and even started his own scholarship fund to mentor aspiring Latino chefs. In short, the chef is an icon in his own right, and now he’s using his talents and fame to empower other Latinos on his new show.
Sanchez spoke to Mashed about “El Sabor De Aarón”, explaining that the show aims to bridge the gap between Latino and American cultures. As someone who “is the perfect example of a Mexican-American” and grew up “living in two different worlds,” Sánchez’s show captures “what the current Latino diaspora looks like.” It’s also the perfect place to give emerging Latino chefs the “attention they rightly deserve” in the media.
Each episode of the 10-part contest series has two Latino chefs cooking against each other, but Sánchez says, “This isn’t one of those situations where it’s like, ‘we’re fighting for this sum of money’ or whatever.” The series is much more about Sánchez mentoring these chefs, “teaching them off-camera” as they prepare or go to market. Describing the show, he said, “It’s about recognition. It’s about celebrating food and culture.
While Chef Sánchez did not say at close range what were the best things he ate on set, he said he loved Venezuelan plantains and “amazing ceviches”. Filmed in Los Angeles, the series has a deep Mexican influence, but the chef explains that they believe they have captured the essence of Latin culture through the cuisine. He explains how they wanted to “showcase Latinos from those respective countries, but who currently live in the United States and bring justice and honor to their roots through food.”
Another perk that comes with watching the show? Improve your Spanish skills. As someone who wholeheartedly believes in the importance of speaking Spanish and that “when you lose your language, you lose your country”, Chef Sánchez introduces the Spanish language into the show to establish a deeper connection to the culture. . As he explains: “You will understand when I say carrot, it’s ‘zanahoria’… It’s [a] really good exercise for people to learn their spanish and improve it with food.”
“El Sabor De Aarón” is all about creating “culinary leaders” and showcasing their origins “represented on the plates” – and let’s just say it’s addictive to watch all those amazing dishes, whether it’s tacos or tripas. And although Sánchez will never say no to a Whataburger with this delicious “mustard-based vinaigrette”, his only ingredient he could never do without? Chillis. Agreed!
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