Because of his ubiquitous presence on Food Network shows, including Chopped, Heat Seekers, Chef vs. City, Best Thing I Ever Ate and Next Iron Chef, it’s easy to forget that Aarón Sánchez actually operates restaurants. Add to that two cookbooks, a line of cookware and a cooking series on Fox Life, and you’ve got one busy man with lots of irons in the fire. But he is the chef/owner of three outstanding restaurants—Mestizo in Leawood, KS; Paloma in Stamford, CT; and the soon to open Alegre in Manhattan. He also recently teamed up with Chef John Besh to open a taqueria named Johnny Sanchez in Baltimore and New Orleans. We’re glad we don’t have his schedule.
1. Fresh chilies. They’re a great way to add heat and flavor to dishes and there is such a wide variety to choose from. I like to toast my chilies before using, as it really brings out the flavors and aromas.
2. Imusa Tortilla Press. It’s perfect for making authentic corn tortillas.
3. Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America. This is a great cookbook from Maricel Presilla that I go back to time and again. It’s a great reference tool.
4. Food Republic. This website, co-founded by my good friend Marcus Samuelsson, is a great source for recipes, news and restaurant recommendations. It helps keep me current.
5. Sopa seca. I love my recipe for this Mexican noodle casserole. It’s the ultimate comfort food.