This Was Aarón Sánchez's Culinary Mentor

Chef Aarón Sánchez is a man of many talents. According to a profile on Spoon University, Chef Aarón began his career cooking at his mother's restaurant in New York, called Cafe' Marimba, at age 13, and returned to New York just after graduating college to venture on his own culinary journey, starting at Patria. His website notes that he is the award-winning chef and owner of Mexican restaurant Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans, and his career as a television host includes series for Food Network, Cooking Channel, and two Spanish-language programs for Fox, as well as his work as a judge on "MasterChef."

He's written cookbooks and, in 2019, a memoir, titled "Where I Come From: Life Lessons from a Latino Chef." He launched a scholarship fund in 2016 for aspiring chefs, providing education as well as mentoring. No chef is complete without a mentor, and Chef Aarón is no exception.

A mega-mentor

"MasterChef" notably hosted an episode in which the chefs brought in their mentors. According to Distractify, when pressed, Chef Aarón identified Chef Paul Prudhomme as his, claiming it is "because he was one of the first sort of nationally renowned chefs and he had such an incredible way of thinking about ingredients, techniques, service — things I still use to this day." 

Chef Prudhomme had been teaching Sanchez from a young age, when his mother called upon him to help get young Aarón to behave. According to Sánchez, "He was a big force in my life. I wouldn't be successful if he hadn't taught me to taste food properly," he told Inside Hook in 2019.

As Eater explains, Chef Prudhomme "popularized modern Cajun and Creole cuisine in New Orleans and across the country." He was one of the first American celebrity chefs, the host of five TV series and the author of 11 books; "Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen," from 1984, "is still considered a classic," writes Eater. Although Prudhomme died in 2015, it's little wonder that he was such an influence on Chef Aarón, who has taken root in New Orleans himself. It's thanks to Prudhomme and his influence that one of our favorite chefs is able to continue to grace our screens.