MasterChef judge and celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez will be serving up dishes at his AarónSánchez Scholarship Fund dinner alongside legendary chefs Nancy Silverton and Jonathan Waxman tonight. The evening, hosted at chef Neal Fraser's Redbird restaurant, will raise money to help sponsor Latin chefs seeking to attend the International Culinary Center. Sánchez chatted with us about the scholarship and his favorite Los Angeles eateries.
I've seen you at plenty of food events across the country, including the annual James Beard Foundation Chefs & Champagne. Each raises money for the culinary arts and the chefs of tomorrow, but tonight's event is about your own foundation and effort to help. What does it feel like to have so many great chefs working for your cause?
AARON SANCHEZ: It feels amazing to see all this support from my peers and friends. Chefs are very philanthropic people, but when it is your own cause, it feels that much more gratifying to see the reaction we’ve gotten from so many folks.
You'll also be cooking at the scholarship fund dinner, so what do you have planned for attendees?
AS: We are going to be paying homage to Louisiana with a fried soft-shell crab taco. I’ve got my executive chef Miles Landrem here from Johnny Sánchez and Oswaldo, our first scholarship recipient, so it will be really nice to see everyone working together.
Are there any chefs at the event tonight that you've cooked with before? Anyone you find complementary to your own cooking style and food?
AS: Yes, I’ve cooked with basically everyone tonight. Jonathan Waxman is one of my favorite chefs of all time and I’m so happy he could join us. We also have Jose Luis Chavez from Mission Ceviche in New York which is a great example of what a young Latin chef can do when given the proper resources. And Nancy Silverton, Bruce Kalman, Ben Ford, and Jon + Vinny are some of the best in the business. Really thrilled to have such a great line up.
I remember first hearing about your NOLA restaurant Johnny Sanchez back in 2016, but do you have any plans to come to open a spot on the west coast?
AS: I can’t say at the moment, but I am definitely interested in expanding into new markets. Will be sure to keep you posted on any news!
When you're in town, what are your favorite places to eat at?
AS: Basically all the participating chef's places that we invited tonight are my favorite spots here. Nancy’s Pizzeria Mozza, Jon + Vinny’s, and Union are a few of the places that I go to often when I’m out here.
What's next? AS: We’re working on expanding the scholarship fund and MasterChef Season 9 is now airing on FOX at 8/7 c every Wednesday evening!
For more information on the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund or to attend the dinner, visit eventbrite.com.