If you’re a big fan of competitive cooking shows, then there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy Mexican-American chef Aarón Sánchez’s latest series. The TV personality and restauranteur’s show “El Sabor De Aarón” is a wild ride through all kinds of Latino cuisine, pairing up Latino chefs to compete against each other. 

Exclusively on Hogar de HGTV Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. EST, the show is all about showcasing what makes Latin American cuisine so special — and puts a spotlight on amazing Latino chefs that deserve much more recognition. 

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It’s no secret that Sánchez is one of the best chefs in the business, branching out from a food-loving family to create something entirely his own. Both his grandmother and mother are cookbook authors, and his mother famously ran a restaurant for 30 years. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, he grew up with a mother that “would make a mole from Oaxaca with chicken” or “a snapper dish from Veracruz.” There’s no doubt Sánchez developed a love for learning the beauty of food, and quickly gravitated towards it as a career. 

Soon enough, Sánchez launched his own restaurant, the epic Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans, and has appeared as a judge on “MasterChef” and “Chopped,” hosted the Cooking Channel’s “Taco Trip,” written two cookbooks and a memoir, won a James Beard Award and even started his own scholarship fund to mentor aspiring Latino chefs. In short, the chef is a full-blown icon, and now he’s taking his talents and fame to empower other Latinos on his new show.

Sánchez spoke to Mashed about “El Sabor De Aarón,” explaining that the show is about bridging the gap between the Latino and U.S. cultures. As someone who “is the perfect example of a Mexican American” and grew up “living in two different worlds,” Sánchez’s show captures “what the current Latino diaspora looks like.” It also serves as the perfect place to give rising Latino chefs the “attention that they rightly deserve” in the media. 

Each episode of the 10-part competition series brings two Latino chefs to cook against each other, but Sánchez says, “It’s not one of these situations where it’s like, ‘we’re vying for this amount of money’ or anything.” The series is much more about Sánchez mentoring these chefs, “teaching them things off camera” as they prep or go to the market. Describing the show, he said, “It’s about recognition. It’s about celebration of food and culture.”

While chef Sánchez didn’t say point blank what the best things he ate on set were, he said he loved the Venezuelan plantains and “unbelievable ceviches.” Shot in L.A., the series has a deep Mexican influence, but the chef explains that they believe they captured the essence of Latin culture through cuisine. He explains how they wanted to “highlight Latinos from those respective countries, but who are living currently in the States and are doing justice and paying homage to their roots through food.”

Another plus-side that comes with watching the show? Upping your Spanish skills. As someone who wholeheartedly believes in the importance of speaking Spanish and that “when you lose your tongue, you lose your country,” chef Sánchez brings the Spanish language into the show to form a deeper connection to the culture. As he explains, “You’re going to understand when I’m talking about a carrot, it’s ‘zanahoria’… It’s [a] really good exercise for people to learn their Spanish and improve on it based on food.”

“El Sabor De Aarón” is about creating “culinary leaders” and showcasing their backgrounds “represented on the plates” — and let’s just say it’s addictive to watch all that amazing food be made, whether talking tacos or tripas. And although Sánchez will never say no to a Whataburger with that delicious “mustard-based dressing,” his one ingredient he could never live without? Chiles. Agreed!