If you recognize chef Aarón Sanchez, it’s likely because you’ve seen him judge Chopped on the Food Network or battle to the rare tie against chef Morimoto on Iron Chef America. Now, it’s time to taste his food.
The New York-based chef recently partnered with House of Blues to give its Crossroads restaurants an infusion of energy and flavor. Classics like the jambalaya remain, but the rest of the menu now bears Sanchez’s stamp. He cites dishes like shrimp and grits in a garlic chipotle sauce and meatball sliders among his favorites.
Pay special attention to the Latin flavors on the list. Sanchez, after all, is the son of well-known Mexican chef Zarela Martinez and took up the family business at age 11. To this day, he’s never worked outside the kitchen, and the cuisines of Central and South America have emerged as his calling card, with Sanchez combating the “Mexican is Mexican” stereotype. “Latin food suffers like Chinese,” he says. “You can do marginal Chinese and be successful. You can do crappy Mexican and be packed.” But, hey, that just wouldn’t be his style.