The Truth About Eliott Sanchez From Hell's Kitchen Season 19

Like many young chefs, Hell's Kitchen season 19 contestant Eliott Sanchez is a fierce follower of the late Anthony Bourdain (via Instagram). The 25-year-old force of nature also recently shaved off all his hair in celebration of 2021 to herald in a new "me" for the new year.

But Sanchez's heart is unlikely to change. He's a foodie who appreciates tacos enough to convert to "taco-ism" (think lamb barbacoa, charred corn salsa, crema, and habanero hot sauce). He's all about empanadas and his time in California taught him to make his avocado toast with charred corn. He is a strong believer in the power of food to unite (via Chef Elliot).

But whenever he forgets his calling, the Hell's Kitchen contestant has "Chef Eliott" tattooed across his knuckles. Getting these tattoos was a turning point in his life. "I knew that in order for me to follow through with it, I would have to... decide in that moment that I would never again be anyone other than 'Chef Eliott,' and not just 'Eliott,'" he explained.

Here's what else you need to know about this chef.

Eliott Sanchez has strong Jersey roots

These days, if you order from Eliott Sanchez's catering service, you'll feast your taste buds on fennel and arugula salads, primavera risottos, crispy chicken with curry vegetables, and blueberry crème brûlées. He didn't start his career cooking that kind of food.

The up-and-coming chef, who has Puerto Rican roots, began his career in White Mana Diner on Tonnele Ave. in Jersey City at the age of 14 or 15. "Everyone kind of came together there to have greasy burgers," he recalled to the blog, Lynn Hazan. At White Mana, he did grunge work: peeled potatoes, cleaned, and washed dishes (via Instagram) 

It was because of a chef that he worked with during these years, Kevin Collins, that Sanchez went on to study at the Hudson County Culinary Arts Institute. Since then, and before starting his own company, the Hell's Kitchen contestant worked at New York City's three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Jean-Georges. But Jersey City, N.J. will always be Sanchez's home base. "It's a beautiful place, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else," he gushed to Lynn Hazan in 2016.

If he wasn't a cook, here's what Eliott Sanchez would do instead

In a parallel universe, Eliott Sanchez might have been an actor. Or, if he hadn't gone to culinary school, he might have studied to be a marine biologist. He loves the ocean (via Lynn Hazan). Sanchez has been fishing (catch and release) since he was around 5 years old, and he swears that he'll do so 'til the day he dies. We believe him. Sanchez is capable of working through 36 hours in the pouring rain in the quest for a perfect catch. It's a passion he caught from his father, with whom he's recently started a business, Moontide Outdoors, which makes "lures that fish can't resist."

A catering company, a fishing supplies business, and a Hell's Kitchen appearance all at once? That's the kind of entrepreneur that he is. "One of my favorite [tattoos] is the one that runs along my left forearm," Sanchez wrote, "The writing translates to⁣ 'Living without fear, or excuses.' If you LIVE in a perpetual state of being on PATH with what you believe in, you will soon realize all of the things you need to remove in your life to achieve your goals.⁣"

From the sound of it, Sanchez really is achieving his goals.