Before becoming the face of Latino cuisine on national television, Aarón Sánchez stirred the pot of life from El Paso to New York to New Orleans.
The 43-year-old celebrity chef tells of his upbringing in the Sun City to his life-changing move to the Big Apple and his settling in the Big Easy in his new book, “Where I Come From: Life Lessons from a Latino Chef.”
His memoir, published by Abrams Press, debuted Oct. 1.
“I can feel my heritage in a palpable way when I am there,” Sanchez told El Paso Inc. about coming home to the Sun City. “Not only because it is home, but because most people there have a similar story to mine and my family’s.”
His book – although sprinkled with recipes like mixed seafood ceviche negro, pumpkin ravioli, shellfish étouffé and sautéed hominy – is truly about his journey to find his place and identity in the world.
In his memoir, Sanchez talks about the moment his “cultural and personal identity” collided, about not wanting to be cornered into being known only as a Mexican food chef, and how he landed on cooking television to become a celebrity chef.
Sánchez has appeared on the Food Network’s “Master Chef,” “Chopped” and “Chopped Junior.”
He now lives in New Orleans where he’s executive chef and part owner of the restaurant Johnny Sánchez.
But at the heart of the book are stories about his mother, renown chef and restaurateur Zarela Martinez; his late father Adolfo Sánchez; the mentors and role models who over the years took him under their wing; and the legacy he wants to leave for his 8-year-old son, Yuma.
It’s filled with heart-felt, straight-forward and humorous stories of his rebellious years, his inner demons, fighting anxiety and depression, finding peace through Buddhism – and coming full circle to understand that where he comes from is not necessarily a place, but a heritage.
Sánchez is on a book tour, and while no El Paso date is set, his marketing company, FoxGlove Communications, told El Paso Inc. a stop is in the works.