His Mother Encouraged Him To Follow His Culinary Dreams. Now He’s A Judge On MasterChef

Celebrity chef, philanthropist, restaurant owner and MasterChef judge, those are just a few titles used for Aarón Sanchez. The chef opened his first restaurant in 2000 and has been spreading his food and expertise since then. Not only does Sanchez give aspiring chefs tough critiques on MasterChef, he also provides a scholarship for aspiring Latino chefs. Sanchez spoke with mitú about his time as a chef, growing up in a non-machismo home and what he hopes his successes could mean for other Latinos trying to follow in his footsteps.

You might recognize Aarón Sanchez as one of the judges on MasterChef.

The chef has lent his expertise and tough critiques to contestants on season 8 and season 9. He was also a guest co-host during season 7. All this has come after a long career as a chef spreading his food and appreciation far and wide.

As a child, Sanchez was surrounded by strong women who made their own marks on the culinary world.

#TBT Mama's little helper #MexiCAN

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Sanchez says that machismo was not something that he ever experienced in his childhood. In fact, his mother and grandmother nurtured his interest in food as they themselves made their names in food.

“My mom had a restaurant for 30 years in New York City. She’s an author of three cookbooks,” Sanchez recalls about his upbringing. “My grandmother also wrote a cookbook. All the women in my family were absolutely essential in my formation and my love for food. Without them I wouldn’t be the man I am today.”

But the one bit of advice his mother did stress was finding his own culinary voice.

“I told my mom I wanted to be a chef and all she said to me was ‘to continue to go through your craft, make sure that you find your voice, and don’t be a retrogradation of me,'” Sanchez says. “That was the biggest piece of advice she gave me when I told her I wanted to be a chef.”

As a chef, his career began and grew alongside Anthony Bourdain’s.

In 2000, Bourdain published his infamous “Kitchen Confidential” book. That was the same year that Sanchez opened his first restaurant.

“We used to run into each other a lot in social settings and at the farmers market and we kind of ran with the same crew,” Sanchez remembers about his friendship with Bourdain. “He was someone that I considered a great friend.” He added: “I remember his unbelievable wit, I remember how smart he was and how grateful he was to have his opportunity, to touch so many people through television. He was a self-proclaimed mesa.”

Sanchez admits that his career and experiences were shaped by his friendship with Bourdain.

“One thing he would always say was, learn the culture and make friends along the way and open yourself up and make sure you’re not just there to extract recipes from them,” he says. “You’re there to make friendship and bonds.”

“Food has done a lot [for me],” Sanchez explains.

It is something so important to his life that he can’t imagine himself doing anything different.

“It’s allowed me to be able to inspire others, it’s allowed me to maintain my culture, stay close to my family,” Sanchez says. “It’s given me an unbelievable lifestyle and it’s allowed me to travel the world.”

Food has been so pivotal to his life that he set up a scholarship fund to help other Latinos become chefs in their own right.

The idea for the foundation came to Sanchez because he wanted to make sure he was recognizing the next generation of talent.

“I wanted to create the next executive chefs and [restaurant] owners of Latino descent,” Sanchez explains. “That was really the goal behind it, and education is the most important [part].”

And even Sanchez has been touched by the students who use the scholarship, like Oswaldo Rios.

“He was the first one and I remember giving him the scholarship. His grandmother and mother came to the actual unveiling of him winning and all of them were crying,” Sanchez remembers. “No one could believe that he had gotten to this point. It was one of those things where you could tell it was something that they didn’t think was attainable. So that was a very touching moment.”

The one piece of advice Sanchez has for new chefs and restaurant owners: develop your voice.

The Mexi-Cans have arrived in Oxford!! Watch out @johnnysnack @tiomarioog

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“Make sure that you have developed a culinary style and voice,” Sanchez says. “Whether that’s working 10 years with different chefs or traveling. Continue to refine your cooking ability. Through that you will find the style that you feel will be engaging enough to sustain a restaurant.”

You can catch up with Sanchez on MasterChef every Wednesday 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST.

READ: This Blind Latina Didn’t Just Become a Chef, She Also Opened Her Own Restaurant in Chicago

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These 9 Arroz Con Frijoles Recipes From Latin America Will Change Your Nightly Dinner


These 9 Arroz Con Frijoles Recipes From Latin America Will Change Your Nightly Dinner

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One of the most iconic dishes from Latin America is arroz con frijoles. The mix of rice and beans is a smell and taste that sends every Latino back to their childhood. Mami and abuela always know how to make beans better than we ever can. However, practice makes perfect. Just try these recipes until you finally land on the flavor and texture you remember from childhood.

1. Casamiento Salvadoreño

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Casamiento Salvadoreño is a beautiful marriage of rice, red beans, peppers, and onion. The four different components get added at different times slowly building up until you hit the perfect balance in the flavor and consistency. If you like a savory breakfast, pair it up with some eggs and maduros and enjoy a Salvadoran breakfast.

2. Arroz Congri

Arroz Congri is one of the most quintessential dishes of Cuban cuisine. The mix of the rice and black beans is something you can find in any Cuban home or restaurant. The dish relies on the rice, bell peppers, and beans cooking together with spices until the water is absorbed. The method of cooking is how you can plate it in the iconic thick disc shape that we all know and love.

3. Arroz Com Feijão Preto

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Sometimes, I cook at home in my kitchen. Here is a comforting and ridicously delicious Brazilian Black Bean recipe These black bean beauties are cooked with onions, garlic, and seasoned perfectly with coriander, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, next garnish with a lime wedge and sprig of cilantro to brighten it all up. They make a great side dish to enchiladas and more. Ingredients: 2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed 1/2 Tbls cooking oil 2/3 cups diced, white onion 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced (I use a microplane zester) 2/3 cups chicken stock or broth 1/4 tspn cumin 1/4 tspn coriander 1/4 tspn mexican oregano salt &pepper to taste 1 lime and sprig of cilantro for garnish Instructions: In a small bowl mix together the cumin, coriander, and mexican oregano and set aside. In a saucepan on the stove, heat the olive oil to med-high heat. Saute onions for about 3 minutes or until they just start to become translucent. Add garlic and saute abut 30 seconds more. Add beans and broth, and seasonings then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and simmer for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. When they are done cooking, remove from heat and add in a few squeezes of fresh lime juice. Then use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to lightly mash some of the beans. You don’t want to pulverize all of the beans. The beans will thicken more upon resting. You can add more broth/stock if, they get to thick. Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites I've been making this recipe since 2009. It is my absolute favorite black bean recipe. @utahanaskitchen @ourbestbites #blackbeans #brazilianblackbeans #sidedish #semihomemade #cooking #homecooking

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Arroz com Feijão Preto is Brazil’s answer to the regional love of rice and beans. What really sets these beans apart is the use of bacon to add some flavor and substance to the dish. Of course, there are still some veggies included but the true magic of this Brazilian dish comes from the smoky and salty bacon flavor.

4. Tacu-Tacu

Peru is known to be one of the best food destinations in the world. Tacu-Tacu is just another example of Peru’s superior food status in the world. The most unique, and fun, thing about this arroz con frijoles dish is the shape. To achieve the texture for this you have to remember to let the rice sit in the bean mixture for 15 minutes so that the rice absorbs enough liquid to be malleable.

5. Gallopinto

Gallopinto is another version of arroz con frijoles that requires properly layering and add the ingredients. The rice does cook for a brief moment with the onion until it is coated with the hot oil before adding the water. After the rice is done you add the beans and let the delicious dish cook to perfection.

6. Arroz Con Habichuelas

Olives go a long way it making this Dominican dish really stand out. Arroz con habichuelas is a classic Dominican dish that brings together chicken bouillon, olives, rice, and beans together to create something you won’t forget.

7. Arroz Con Queso

Okay, so this isn’t an arroz con frijoles recipe. However, who doesn’t like trying new things. Arroz con queso is a famous Bolivian dish and it is always worth trying something new. Cheese is one of the greatest and most important food groups, tbh so rice with cheese is just…. *chef’s kiss.*

8. Arroz Con Gandules

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Another rice dish that doesn’t use beans but is still just as delicious. Arroz con gandules is a Puerto Rican dish with pigeon peas that every rice loves needs to try at least once. Just one bite will transport you directly to the Caribbean island and will make you scream “WEPA!”

9. Arroz Con Frijoles Refritos

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These Vegetarian Enchiladas @lasmargaritasbc were AMAZING. You can definitely get one of the protein enchiladas (they have a variety) but I really wanted to try this one. It's Two corn tortillas rolled with cheese, green onions, olives, green peppers, tomatoes. Covered with a mild red enchilada sauce, melted cheese and topped with sour cream. Served with refried beans and mexican rice ($14.95). You honestly, don't even miss the meat! You also get complimentary chips and salsa. I love mexican rice and beans and this definitely hit the spot. Would 10/10 recommend. – – – – – #foodgram#instaeat#eatinvancouver#foodie#foodadventures#instafood#instalike#instafollow#followforfollow#foodgram#foodie#foodphotography#foodcoma#eeeeeats#instafoodie#girllikestoeat#604foodie#enchiladas#vegetarian#mexicanfood#mexicanriceandbeans#vegetarianrecipes#healthyfood

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It’s all about the beans here. They have to be cooked more than once and in more than one way. After all, they are called refried beans so they aren’t just cooked once and done. These are a classic around the world and you have definitely had them whenever you went to a Mexican restaurant.

READ: This Iconic Mexican Food Won The Twitter Battle To Be Named Latin America’s Best Street Food

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Mountain Dew Margaritas Are Apparently A Thing At Red Lobster Now?


Mountain Dew Margaritas Are Apparently A Thing At Red Lobster Now?

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We’ve seen all kinds of takes on the timeless classic that is a Margarita. From frozen Margaritas to ones with cranberry juice and dashes of blue curaçao and twists of basil and ginger beer we’ve literally seen it all. Or so we thought.

Recently, Red Lobster announced that they’re doing a Mountain Dew-take on the beloved and salty tequila cocktail.

Red Lobster’s DEW-Garita promises to set you aglow.

The drink is the first official Mountain Dew cocktail and of course, it is bright lime green. While the cocktail’s recipe is being kept strictly under wraps, like everything at Red Lobster’s, it’s supposed to pair “perfectly” with Red Lobster’s iconic Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

“Red Lobster is thrilled to work with PepsiCo, not only because it has a great portfolio of brands, but specifically because of the food and beverage innovation possibilities,” Nelson Griffin,the Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Red Lobster said in a statement about the drink.

Red Lobster’s DEW-Garita is due to debut at Red Lobster locations nationwide in September and by the end of 2020.

The Margarita is an iconic Mexican drink related to a drink called Rhe Daisy.

The classic Tequila sour cocktail is one of the most beloved cocktails in the world. According to Wine Enthusiast “One story claims that the drink was created in 1938, as Mexican restaurant owner Carlos (Danny) Herrera mixed it for gorgeous Ziegfeld showgirl Marjorie King. Supposedly, Tequila was the only alcohol that King would abide, so Herrera added lime juice and salt.”

To make your own classic Margarita check out this recipe below


  • Coarse salt
  • Lime wedge
  • 2 ounces white Tequila
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce lime juice


Shake out coarse salt on a plate. Wet the rim of a glass by using the lime wedge. Press the rim of the glass in the plate of salt to coat. Add ice to the glass.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the rest of the ingredients. Shake well, and pour into the prepared glass over ice.

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