Aaron Sanchez Life Lessons

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By: Jacqui Denker | Posted: 3:32 PM, Sep 20, 2022 Updated: 11:18 AM, Sep 21, 2022

Today, a conversation with a major North Star in the Latino culinary world — Aaron Sanchez. He’s a James Beard Award Winning Chef, author, and mentor who you may have seen on Chopped … Master Chef or Master Chef Junior. He spends his spare time giving back and mentoring young Latino chefs — and now he’s sharing some life lessons with us.

There is no ‘i’ in team

Sanchez says you’ll never hear him talk about “his team” or “his employees”or “his assistant” because they are all dedicated to one common goal. As a part of a team, he says it’s essential to respect one another and always look for growth. He loves knowing his team members have done every job from dishwasher and prep cook to sous chef — with people like that, everyone understands how a team works, and you get the synergy and camaraderie that can create magic.

The importance of a mentor

Once you figure out what you want to do and the direction you want to go, think about the people you admire who can teach you things in important areas. One of those mentors for Aaron is Gordon Ramsay. Aaron has worked with the celebrity chef and says the greatest benefit has been watching Ramsay aim high and reach his goals — witnessing how it’s done is a priceless education.

Find your own voice

Although a mentor is a great guide, you still need to find your own voice. Aaron says one of the best pieces of advice his mother ever gave him: develop your own style. Sure, you learn to do the classics, but you should have a couple of dishes that people will taste and say “that could only be an Aaron Sanchez dish!” He encourages all parents to help their kids find their voice by exposing them to many different things.

Embrace our roots

Sanchez says that especially for second and first-generation Latinos, there’s a huge effort to recapture their roots. He believes in the saying “when you lose your tongue, you lose your country.” He is grateful to be surrounded by people who speak his native language but even if you’re not that lucky, remember where you came from, and the many obvious and less obvious ways it’s influenced you.