|Born||February 12, 1976 (age 37)
El Paso, Texas, United States
|Education||Johnson & Wales University|
Aarón Sánchez (born February 12, 1976) is an American chef, the executive chef and part-owner of the restaurant Centrico. He has appeared on Iron Chef America, and is one of the few chefs whose battles have ended in a draw, tying with Masaharu Morimoto in "Battle Black Bass" in Season 2. He was a contestant on The Next Iron Chef, eliminated in the sixth test, "Creativity Under Pressure". He currently appears on the show Heat Seekers with Roger Mooking, and is a recurring guest judge on the show Chopped on Food Network. He has also been featured on Chefs vs. City with Chris Cosentino.
Aarón and his twin brother Rodrigo, an attorney in New York City, were born in 1976, in El Paso, Texas, three sons of Zarela Martinez, a restaurateur and the author of several cookbooks and the late Adolfo Sanchez. He began cooking at an early age, helping his mother prepare traditional Mexican foods for her catering business. In 1984, the family moved to New York, and his mother launched the acclaimed Café Marimba, and Sánchez began to cook in a professional kitchen. At age 16, Sánchez was cooking at a level that earned him a place in a Masterclass with chef Paul Prudhomme. In 1994, Sánchez graduated from high school, and began to work full-time for Prudhomme in New Orleans. Aarón has a son named Yuma.
In 1996, after working under Prudhomme, Aarón returned north to study culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1994, he returned to New York, and worked in the kitchen at Patria under nuevo-Latino chef, Douglas Rodriguez. Sánchez met his future business partner, Alex Garcia while working there.
Garcia left Patria in 1996 to open Erizo Latino, taking Sanchez to help open the restaurant. Reviews were positive, referring to the restaurant as "casual" and "earthy," and "the fare is enticingly wholesome, and the kitchen's best dishes make a fine introduction to the cooking of Central and South America."
Sanchez moved to San Francisco, working under Chef Reed Hearon at Rose Pistola, before returning to New York to be executive chef at L-Ray, which specialized in foods from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. This was followed by another executive chef position at Isla , a restaurant inspired by pre-Revolutionary Cuba.
Eamon Furlong hired Sánchez in 2000, to open Paladar, a pan-Latin restaurant on the Lower East Side. It opened in February, 2001, and won Time Out New York's award for Best New Lower East Side Restaurant that year. It went on to be named the Best Latin American Restaurant in their 2002 Eating and Drinking Guide. Paladar had been reviewed as being "colorful, lively circus of a restaurant that’s equal parts serious cooking and serious partying," and was named a Critic's Pick by New York magazine. Sánchez sold his interest in the Paladar restaurant in 2010.
- Melting Pot - co-host with Alex Garcia on Food Network.
- Boy Meets Grill - Guest on episode "Latin Style Sizzle"
- Iron Chef America - against Masaharu Morimoto in "Battle Black Bass" in Season 2.
- The Next Iron Chef - eliminated in Episode 4, "Creativity Under Pressure".
- Chopped - recurring judge; First Runner-Up on Chopped All-Stars
- Throwdown! with Bobby Flay - Puffy Taco episode. Gave Bobby tips on the puffy taco.
- Chefs vs. City - co-host with Chris Cosentino on Food Network
- Heat Seekers - co-host with Roger Mooking on Food Network
- Aaron loves New York - host on Utilisima
- La Comida del Barrio: Latin-American Cooking in the U.S.A., 2003, ISBN 978-0-609-61075-6