Aarón Sanchez

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For the baseball player, see Aaron Sanchez (baseball).
Aarón Sánchez
Aarón Sanchez.jpg
Born February 12, 1976 (1976-02-12) (age 39)
El Paso, Texas, United States
Education Johnson & Wales University
Spouse(s) Ife Sanchez Mora (m. 2009–12)
Children Sofia Piana, Yuma Sanchez
Culinary career

Aarón Sánchez (born February 12, 1976) is a chef and television personality. He is the executive chef and part-owner of the restaurant Paloma in Stamford, Connecticut, the restaurant Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the (now closed) Mexican restaurant Mestizo in Leawood, Kansas. 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 was co-host 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, to Zarela Martinez, a restaurateur and the author of several cookbooks, and Adolfo Sanchez.[1] He began cooking at an early age, helping his mother prepare traditional Mexican foods for her catering business.[2] 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' mother sent him to New Orleans to spend the summer working with chef Paul Prudhomme.[3] In 1994, Sánchez graduated from The Dwight School, and began to work full-time for Prudhomme in New Orleans. Aarón has a son named Yuma[3] and a step daughter Sofia Piana.


In 1996, after working under Prudhomme, Aarón returned north to study culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.[3] 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."[4]

Sanchez then became 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 [1], a restaurant inspired by pre-Revolutionary Cuba. Sanchez then moved to San Francisco, working under Chef Reed Hearon at Rose Pistola.[5]

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.[6] Sánchez sold his interest in the Paladar restaurant in 2010.

Sanchez went on to become chef of Mexican New York eatery Centrico. Centrico closed in 2012.[7]

In July 2014, Sanchez opened gourmet Latin restaurant Paloma in Stamford, Connecticut.[8] He followed that up by opening the taqueria Johnny Sanchez in Baltimore with fellow chef John Besh in August 2014. The pair opened a second Johnny Sanchez location in October 2014 in New Orleans.[9]

Television appearances[edit]



  1. ^ "Zarela Martinez". Thirteen. WNET. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  2. ^ Beccaglia, Fernanda (November 29, 2013). ""Chopped" Judge Aaron Sanchez Gets Personal About Food and Life". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Walker, Judy (October 25, 2011). ""Chopped" chef Aaron Sanchez in New Orleans to revamp House of Blues menu". The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  4. ^ The Dining in SoHo Is Snug but Worldly
  5. ^ Terrero, Nina (August 16, 2012). "Chef Spotlight: Aaron Sanchez on cooking for his kids and making Mexican cuisine easy". NBC Latino. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ New York Magazine - Paladar - Lower East Side
  7. ^ Morabito, Greg (August 29, 2012). "Nieporent's Centrico to be replaced by Distilled NY". Eater. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  8. ^ Gorfain, Lou (July 20, 2014). "Chef Aarón Sánchez Gives CTbites Preview of Paloma Restaurant, Opening in Stamford July 21". CTBites. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  9. ^ Price, Todd A. (October 7, 2014). "Johnny Sanchez brings Aaron Sanchez back to New Orleans to team with John Besh". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 

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