Aarón Sánchez, Chopped judge, celebrity chef, and Mexican-American restaurateur took the time to speak with The Daily Meal ahead of his weekend celebrating Latin cuisine with Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card-members in Miami.
The Daily Meal: What are some up and coming trends in the Mexican and Latin food scene?
Aarón Sánchez: The next new trend is people understanding the nuances of South American food at home and making recipes like ceviche. I think people are also paying attention to Argentinian BBQ, which can be challenging to people who don’t know it.
What makes a great ceviche?
The most important thing is to use the freshest ingredients possible. For ceviche, that would be citrus, chiles, and seafood. Those are the keys to making a great ceviche.
Do you think Argentinian barbecue will soon have its heyday?
People love cooking outside and BBQ is a huge part of that. They are always looking for new ways to cook outdoors. Argentinian culture is amazing, and, in addition to the grilling, they are famous for their wines, in particular their malbec, which pairs so perfectly with this kind of cuisine. The cuts of meat are so different that it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced.
What are some stereotypes about Latin-American cuisine that you’d like to dispel?
That all Latino food has to have salsa, or that everything has rum in it and mango and pineapple and all those clichéd dishes. For me, it is important to dispel those myths. Latin food encompasses so much, and I think it’s still a little bit more mysterious to people than Mexican food, which is more homogenized.
What is your favorite dish from your childhood?
I love cooking my mom’s creamy rice. It’s a rice casserole loaded with cheese, roasted poblano peppers, corn, and you bake it. It’s so decadent, cheesy, and fatty. Definitely a comfort food.
That sounds amazing. Can we get a recipe?
Yes, check it out here! It’s one of my favorites from my mom (Zarela Martinez).
We heard you have a new cookbook in the works?
I'm working on it now, so it'll probably come out next year. No title yet, but be on the lookout!