Danica Patrick Pretty Intense Podcast

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Chef Aarón Sánchez

by Jennifer Cawley
November 26th 2020

Aarón Sánchez is an award-winning chef, TV personality, author and philanthropist. He is chef/owner of Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans, and a judge on FOX’s hit culinary competition series MasterChef... More

I love museums. Go to museums all the time. Love art. Me too. I'm recently single, So me too awesome. Okay. I love it. I love it. I can't think of a better day. You know, that takes somebody Thio museum. What kind of art you like? I like all of it. You know, I'm, like, super nerdy when it comes to, um, like, I'm fascinated with Vikings. God, I love that. I kind of feel like I used to be a Viking because did you know that women women fought with the men? Yeah. Been fun with the men. That's why I love it. I really feel like at some point in time, I was at the front of one of those Viking ships coming across the ocean, like you know what? You know what you called a shield maiden? Hugh meetings is the ladies that fought right alongside their men. How badass is that? And women back in Nordic times can divorce dudes, which was like in the ninth century, That was, like, unheard of. I believe that each and every one of us has the power within ourselves

to create the life that we really want and I want to help give you the tools to make that happen. I'm Danica Patrick, and I'm pretty intense on the show today is chef at own Sanchez Chef and I go back quite a ways. Eso He's such a nice guy. Such a high vibe guy Totally blaze the trail from his mother onto him in the world of Mexican Creole cooking. Um, he has a memoir called Where I Came From. If anyone is interested in reading Maurin depth about his childhood and him becoming a chef, he comes from three generations of women who have wrote cookbooks. His mom has been a huge inspiration for him. We talked about, you know, addiction and his father and, you know, relationships and just all of the things that have taught us lessons over the years and what those lessons have done to create a man who knows how

to balance life better now than he ever used Thio. So please enjoy today's episode with Chef at on. How are you? Oh, look at you. You've got the wine. You bet your you bet your skippy I'm all about this week. Oh, my God, That's so awesome. Where did you I mean, where did you get it from? I can tell you from one of your distributors here in New Orleans, and they sent it to make sure that I'm able to support you. And we can talk a little bit of wine, and I'm excited about that. That's cool. That's cool. That was actually that was the last time we saw each other was in. Yeah, like that is fine. Yeah. Yeah, that was a lot of fun. We need to get a proper hand next time. Okay. We'll go out to have dinner, okay? Oh, yes. Absolutely. You're not cooking, and neither am I. We're gonna let someone else do it for us all about it. Absolutely would love that. You look great

. I'm so happy. Are you having a decent summer with? No, it's absolutely horrible. It's 2020. Look atyou. Just killing it. Absolutely. Well, you sent it to me, so I mean, it's important for me, You know, I kind of understand the juice. Oh, man, you're so sick. Do you love? I mean, do you love wine? I don't even know. I do. Yeah. You know, it's funny. When I was a kid, when I was a kid like my mom would always like. Give us a little taste and just say, you know, start to embrace wine because you don't wanna have a fantastic meal with ice t you know what I'm saying? And it's like they work together. So she kind of always instilled that in me in my my twin brother very early on. And I mean, I know huge chef. So the fact that she introduced, you know, wine as well kind of makes her superhero. Yeah, absolutely. You know, and also there's something to like starting drinking wine really young. And it not being some overwhelming big cool thing where, you know, you just kind of like little dabs here and there

. Tell me more about your mom. Yeah, my mom is just, you know, that's why I think I relate so much. And I admire you so much. It's because I'm just used to having strong women in my life, whether it was my grandmother, my mom on Ben, my sister, who also worked with me in the restaurants for many years. So my mom basically was a social worker and, um, a caterer in El Paso, Texas. where I was born. And then early on, she grew up in a in a Mexican cattle ranch in northern Mexico. And, you know, it was sort of cultivated it and started to flourish there and then moved to a paso. Met my dad on Ben, My mom. My dad didn't have a good run necessarily, but she always wanted to have her name in lights, and she says, I'm gonna have my name in lights. So she went to New York City to chase a dream of being a chef in a restaurant. Or did she get her name in lights? She did. Yeah. How did that how? Well, she

went initially to New Orleans, where I'm at now. I call my home. And she met Paul Prudhomme, the great, uh, sort of iconic American regional chef from Louisiana. And they struck up a friendship. They became dear friends. And then chef Paul said, What are you doing, Salalah? My mom's name is Zarella. She said, Well, I'm divorced. I got twin boys and I'm looking to start this career journey. And he made a call to Warner Leroy, who owned Tavern on the Green in New York City. And then my mom came in the early eighties and started cooking Mexican food, and at that time people didn't. They were just flabbergasted. They never tasted those flavors, and that's how he would see her name started to go out there and be known. And she would invite food critics and writers and all like the movers and shakers of New York at the time. And that's how she started, become known. And then when she opened up her own restaurant in 1987 it

just took off from there. That blows my mind to think that people were only being introduced. This sort of Would it be like Mexican Creole flavor? I mean, what was her? What was her? What was her like? How did she cook her flavor profile? It was just very traditional stuff that my grandmother and they cooked at the ranch. It was straight Mexican food, but you know, you have thio. Remember at that time people's interpretation or perception of Mexican food was gloppy orange cheese and all that stuff, you know what I mean. So I didn't have the sort of nuances in the delicate techniques and flavors that really Mexican food is now. So my mom was a absolute Trailblazer, just like you in your field. Absolute Trailblazer. So you know, that's that's a that's amazing to me. Thio think that on Lee a few decades ago, people were on Lee being introduced thio High quality, fine, refined

Mexican cuisine. Yeah, and and what was hard for us was to procure the ingredients. I remember being a child and having to, like, come back from trips to Mexico in the summer and bring back bales of Chile's. We were like chile mules. It was awesome way bring spices and all this stuff because we couldn't find it here in the States. And now everything is obtainable and it's It's just Z goes to show you how 30 years changes things. Are there still a few things that you get from Mexico that you can't get here? Mm, Yeah, there's like some of some of the more obscure, obscure chile's. They make these really beautiful tamarin little Candies that air dusted with chili that air like super addictive. And you're just like these little tart little Candies. Um, yeah, there's tons of stuff, but, you know, heirloom corn varieties that you can't get eso I'm like, when I go to make, I'm going to Mexico on Thursday. Um

, because I'm, you know, in the process of launching it to keep the line. So I'm gonna go out there and and taste some tequila and kind of figure out what I wanna do, you know? So I'll bring back some snacks. I mean, I love wine. Yes, that's like I mean, like, I was out on a boat all weekend and I just and I tried to drink wine. It's a little tough. So my like I do. But I do. So the other things that I would drink would pretty much on Lee be tequila or vodka and club soda. So I want to know more about this. Tequila Tequila is one of the its's, the spirit that is emblematic of Mexican culture. Jalisco, where Guadalajara is, which is the capital of Jalisco, is some people consider the most Mexican of states because that's where mariachi music is from. They have a lot of iconic food dishes like Beria and enchiladas and and tortas, Ogata's and all these really kind of very iconic dishes. And then, if you

go about an hour outside of Guadalajara, you find Los Altos and tequila, where they produce all the tequila, and it's like Think of it as a Napa. You know where you would go and just see instead of, you know, vineyards. You just see cactus and agave e on each side. You know what I mean? And eso it's, you know, everyone eyes very, you know, astute about, you know, trying to make it tequila. But there's a lot of crappy tequila, just like there's a lot of crappy wine. But tequila in the last five years has exploded 300% as faras sales and people wanting it. So, um, you know, I've always been a fan, and, you know, it's something that connects me to my culture. So I thought this would be a good time to do it. So what? What makes one tequila better or worse than another? Like I could name ways in the wine business where, you know, you could, you know, adjust the flavor. But I don't know anything about tequila like that. Yeah, well, you

know, a lot of it has to do with the quality of the agave. There's many different styles of cactus or gave me that you can distill the product from just like grapes. Um, and then, yes, there is a certain degree when you when you're talking about aging, you know, the three styles that are most prominent or Plata or silver Blanco. Right? Um, breath Posada, which means rested and then an echo, which means aged. So yeah, so it takes about nine years, you know, 7 to 9 years to actually mature there gave to make the juice. Right? But it just really depends on what you wanna have to go, What the flavor profile you want. Like for me, I like herbal notes are like minerality. I like. I don't You know, I don't like it too sweet, but, you know, American palates tend to like sweetness. So this is the process. This is the point of this trip this week to figure out that flavor profile that we want. So what? So

where does that fall in for you? Is that a silver or is that we're gonna get? We're gonna launch Ah, silver and reposado. We're not gonna mess with an echo is just yet because those are better sellers. I think I like reposado the best. That's my sort of the most. I don't know, taste the most, uh, has flavor without being abrasive. You know, you could tell a crappy tequila when it's hot. You know when you taste it, it's pure alcohol, and it burns. That means it's a shitty tequila, you know. But if it has those nuances on the front palette, you know what I was talking about. You know, the ER basis nous a little bit of Citrus notes. Well, minerality, then you're dealing with something different. So it's just like wine. You know, you have to have a good future. What about mescal? Is that the whole? Is that just like an added flavor? Is that a whole different agave plant or Yeah, well, it's different gods, but the biggest difference is first of all, Moscow All tequila, Zmeskal

. But not all Moskalets tequila, You understand? It's so it's a precursor. Two tequila they've been making. They've been making a scout indigenous people in Mexico for 2000 years, so it actually predates tequila by a lot s o in the biggest difference between the scalpel and tequila. Is that the opinion? Right. So you have the cactus. They take the root of that which is called opinion because it looks like a pineapple. And then they roast that it's fire roasted and the little take like a donkey that we're going circles with, like a big stone crusher. And it just crushes the gab and makes its sap in this in this beautiful juice. And that's how you're making scalp in the old school way. Now they now they modernized. Yeah, they don't still do that, but I mean, okay, but that romantic side of it. But that's the old way that they used to do it. They used to have you just say, a donkey. Yeah

, with, like, connected to a steel. I mean, like a stone wheel that would crush. It's kind of like with wine when people used to step on grapes, right? You know, back in the day. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So meniscal is just the roasting or smoking of the of the pine out? Yeah, the root of the route. And so if you were gonna Onley make if you weren't gonna make mess how you just wouldn't roast it. Yeah, basically. And then you would you could either put in stainless steel like you would do like a Shibley. Right? Chardonnay. You know, if you want to do that with no oak and then you know, reports Allah would touch oak, you know, like a blank. Oh, you would have put in oak eso tequila Does going, girls? Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, Absolutely. Yeah, well, it depends, you know. I mean, sometimes it z you know, you've got 123 years for rep. Oh, sometimes like 3 to 5 for non echo. It kind of really depends. Yeah, but there's a

new style that's very interesting. That's called crystalline Oh, that is being brought to the market, which is actually an echo. That's clear. So what they do is they There's a filtration system with carbon that takes on all the color of the Nyarko and and renders it renders it clear eso you have the same flavor profile of Vallejo. But it's completely clear, just aesthetic. So it's it's aesthetics, and it also doesn't like, intimidate people. You know, when they think it's like, Oh, yeah, it's like drinking a cognac or annulled scotch. You like it's going to be some big thing in your mouth, so it's kind of, like, a little bit of a perception thing as well. Eso tell me about wine. I want to know why you got into wine. Because you know what? Here we are. First of all, I got to give you some love all your beautiful wines, because I'm all about promoting my friends, making sure they have everything that they need. So this is this'll is your 2016, which you with your distributors

here in town so graciously sent me. And it's so, uh, um I love that s o Somini. Um, yeah, it means dream Latin. That's our new label. So if we just launched So it started with E cabernet, and then we made the rose A um Yep. So we make that what's called Sagnier style. So we bleed off, um, from the cabernet to make the rose a, uh then And then after that, we came out with sap blanc this year, and now we just launched the we just lost launched what I'm calling the Red label, which is through the more accessible price point that we actually we use a lot of a state wine in it, but we buy a little bit of blending grapes. Thio. Sort of like round it off and make it, um, a little more ready to drink right now. Yeah, so we asked him. Are low and really just kind of make this wonderful, wonderful, Much, much, much more accessible Price point wine. So it's all about that portfolio, right? Yeah

. Yeah. Wine. Just we get like, you love tequila, like I mean, kind of fall in love with it. But I think that, you know, there is such a romantic process to making it. Have you been wine tasting much? Yes. Absolutely. My sister, my older sister, is the estate manager off a vineyard in Napa called Hudson on Hudson. And by the way, if you guys wanna buy some grapes down the road, I'm just gonna have to plug my sisters, you know, vineyard and where she works at called Hudson. And for many years, they have been selling grapes to all the big houses in Napa and Sonoma. The gentleman who the owners, namely Hudson. Awesome. Dude, this iconic kind of wine maker in Napa. And so Yeah, So I've loved wine. I've tasted a lot, have gone through and done the whole the tours. I've been to Spain. I've been to France to taste. Yeah, I'm really into it for me. I was so struck by the just

how much labor goes into each vintage and how every vintages rare, you're never gonna have another one. And so hence the reason why you never wanna waste the bottle, because you're not gonna make it again. Uh, but But I just think that for me, it's the the farming of it and the love that goes into it, that's so amazing. And just how much time it takes. I don't think anyone understands just how many steps and levels there are and how much like hands on care there is. So that's kind of, you know, And then you know, of course, anything that anything that joins people together in the in the spirit of connecting and sharing and you might not even be talking about the wine, you might be talking about the food. Or you might just be talking about a bunch of random crap because you're with your friends, like anything that brings people together in this day and age, especially in away from technology and connecting people. I think It's such a great thing, which is, you know, the point for me of making the wine and keeping that going

down, slowing down and creating conversation 100% you know, I agree. I mean, it's so volatile grapes there. So they're on a timetable looking right now, my sister is so busy because it's harvest right now. It's only the beginning of September because of the heat. Eso every year totally changes and you have to be on your toes and ready to adapt and overcome. E love that about wine. I just think it's so fun. It's organic, it's living. I think it's the perfect pairing. Two fantastic food. And that's why I love it, you know? So what goes best with, um, Mexican cuisine? What do you think? Like, what is there? Because obviously, like I mean, like, I've sat down to dinner before and anything that's really spicy, it's tough to pair like red wine with, So help me out. What would I What would I pair with what with the Mexican? Oh yeah, I'm tasting it. Ah, blend like

this is delicious because you think about the blending of Chile's right, so it's very typical. Like if I make a mole, which would have a mixture of maybe 3 to 5 different chilies. So I'm I'm thinking of the chile's like grapes. So a blend like yours right here would be ideal for it because they could stand up to the heat. You know what I'm saying? You don't want something that's very flabby. You don't wanna get may. You don't want a very light Pino, you don't want You don't You don't want even a Granoche necessarily. But I think the food would dominate the wine. So you want something that stands up to it like this and complements it perfectly. So something like this beautiful cab blend that you have that you let's hear that I'm tasting would be ideal for, like, a mole or enchiladas or something with the red chili based sauce. Yeah, on. Then you mentioned you guys were gonna launch a soft blank, right? Yeah, you did. Okay. Yeah. Like for Assad Blank for me. Um, you know, like ceviches. Something with Citrus and chile and herbs

would always be ideal with salt. Blank oysters is probably the most, you know, common thing that you would think of you know, So you know, and I think that's why you're once pay. So go so well with, like, emeralds food. Because animal has a lot of ah lot of seafood in his in his in his style in his in his menus. So I think that would really work. Well, a swell. So I was actually talking to my friend this weekend and she was talking about how kids are, you know, not dating is much even like. I mean, we're talking about young kids, but I'm wondering, just as like an example of what's going on, that they're not really dating as much. But they're super friendly, like their face timing all the time. They're doing social media like they they they've got tons of friends. But like the more intimate connections or maybe fading, like agree what? How do you How do we remedy this? Yeah, well, you know, it's interesting because, you know, I have a lot of, you know, millennials

and young people that work with me at the restaurants and stuff and and they're around me all the time, and it's interesting because in their mind they think they're doing all these things because they? They're perceiving it through social media or YouTube or but they haven't done the work yet. You gotta go do the work, you know what I mean? And so I think it's, I think, every I think this new generation is very idealistic. I think they all have great plans. I think they're extremely smart and well prepared. You better be well prepared as a young person. Now there's no excuses. You have access to information everywhere. It's the biggest thing is putting in the work. You know what I mean is going out there and doing it, and I think that hopefully will happen. And it happens with relationships with business, you know, with life experiences just got to go out there and do it, you know? And I think hopefully, you know, I think this new generation is because there's so much competition, like back in the day, like when I started. If I got in Time Out magazine or New York magazine

, I was already a baller before the Internet. You know what I mean? But now people are self made experts and little brands and little iconic people in society because of social media, so you know what I'm saying? So it's like the competition of being recognized and and separate from the pack. It's a lot harder now because everyone has the potential of being somebody because they're all these little damn things all the time. You know what I mean? Isn't that the new work, though, Figuring out how to be like a how to do it on the social platforms, figuring out how to connect in that way. And, you know, I feel like that's part of the new world, though. I'll give you an example. Okay, So when I started cooking, you know, 25 years ago, you would hire traditional publicist, right? A PR person, right? And then they would get you a placement in New York times. I get your placement the l A times and all that, And that was like what you wanted

, you know, on dat was huge. Get your review out there, you know that was it. And now that style of traditional pr is gone Now, in like my team, we all invest in social media. Now I have to two kids that are are my team that just do that 100% So yes, we have a traditional PR person to that does some other things for me. But it's that's where we're at now and and and now you know, like for people like you and I who are you know, we have a narrative. We have a point of view that people want to see it. You know, it's not enough just to do random post. We have to look at our post on Instagram as a business opportunity, and it's hard for people that are fans of ours to be like Oh man, you know, I feel like you know, you're just posting you know, your marketing partners or doing this, that and the other. So that's that balance that we have to figure out how to, like

, do personal stuff, let people into our world but also use it as a business tool. I agree. I totally agree. I think that social media is you have thio. You have toe stick to the stick to the original reason why people pay attention to it, which is that they get a little insight into your life and they see you in a different way than what normally you see on TV, and so they get to know you better. So, like my argument with social has always been that, you know, I you know, I really because that I mean, sharing is something that's not super hard for me. But it's also like, How much do you really want to share? And, um, but it's gotta be. And then there's also people who you know, whether it be Somini, um, or my new label down Aguero's A or whether it be selling my book or whether it be, you know, promoting my podcast or whatever it may be. People get a little worn out. They want you to promote it like all the people

that are involved wanna want you to promote it. But I'm like, you gotta go like I don't know. I think the I think it's like 80 90% like you and then the rest of it, the small percentage has gotta be the little bit things. Yeah, emotional again. I get it, you know, and for you, you're I mean, you know, just because you're again, I'm gonna come back to what my mom and you have in comments like you guys went into a male dominated field and you guys kicked ass Bond. You had to be staunch with the way you handle your business staunch with how much you let people in. So for someone like you, there's a lot of different from me in the sense, because I've done TV for so long, and I think people kind of know me a little bit. But you you've kind of you've been under the helmet, you know, literally, you know, for some a big part of your life. And then now you're out. And people are very intrigued on what you have to say. You know what I mean? Because you just have to be like, boom, boom focused, You know what

I'm saying? So I just think we, you know, way. Oh, a service to people that follow us. And I think that's why you can't be lazy with social media and things like that because we created a platform and we have to deliver. Why did you Why did you read a memoir? You know what, at 45 years old, I didn't think I thought it was too young to do it. To be honest, I thought you did that when you're older, you know? But I lived a lot of life very quickly because my mom and how I just how everything rolled out for me. And I wanted to make sure that the new generation was prepared on. Understand that you can have false. You can have problems with addiction. You can have problems with depression. You could lose one of your parents. You could do all these things, and it's okay. You don't have to be ashamed of it. You know, one of the Dr Oz Show, you know, because Daphne now is a new judge on Master Chef Junior. And she's amazing. And I wanted to show, and I just let it all out. I didn't care

. You know what? I'm not ashamed. And I wanted that this memoir to be more so than anything. An inspirational tale, but also a cautionary one. Don't make the mistakes I made granted, it was a different time, but I wanted to be this this sort of something tangible that that people can sort of get inspiration from, you know, and and and and see if they see some similarities and the way they brought up or who they are. So that was why I wanted to do it. You know, it was very cathartic. It was super therapeutic to, like, purge. You know what I'm saying? And just sit there and let it all out. It was like a big old therapy session. It was awesome. What was the hardest thing to share? I think you know, aspects of my the family dynamics. I think you know everybody. You know, you wanna you know, you want your dad to be your hero and you want to be spotless and not have any

, and he shortcomings and any any dark sides of them. And that just wasn't me. So that was a big you know, that wasn't my that my dad had a lot of things he had to deal with, you know? So that was that was very difficult for me to share, because everyone, you know, I have a nine year old son. I want my son to look at me and the Superman, you know, and I kind of understood some of some of the things he did that was hard to mention, So that was hard. And then I guess the other part of just like the Depression, you know, you know, being having way too, too much responsibility, too young. I took on too much too young, and I just had to kind of deal with it. So then I kind of retreated, you know, personally. And, you know, I needed more mentoring. I needed more life experiences, but I just took it on and dealt with it. And then I think I suffered a little bit just from a happiness standpoint, because I was so involved in my craft, that was just That's all I did. And I didn't

know how to have any balance. So what's the what? What? What was your recommendation, then? To slow that down to get How would you How would you redo it? And, you know, repackage that for them, For someone that was listening that, you know, is on this super fast path. Maybe. And, you know, you just it's a slippery slope. And what happens with athletes all the time? You know, you know, you would become a prodigy, right? And you've got people telling you what to do all the time. And you know how to live your life. What to eat. You know and all that kind of stuff. I mean, for me, I just think you gotta You gotta schedule personal time for yourself. Like you were scheduled business. Right? So that's what I've done. Like, I schedule my family Time e scheduled time for me. Like when I wanna work out, or I wanna go away and, you know, on a retreat with no one around. So that would be a one recommendation in another recommendation is just, you know, figure out, you know, just have all your goals written down. You know, for me, I didn't

have, like, I didn't have goals. Like I knew I wanted to own my own restaurant. That was my dream. But at the end of the day, just gotta, you know, put everything down. Like I have my board back here where I write things down. And that's helpful. Because when I get up and have coffee in the morning, I know what we need to attack what's on it. Well, I mean, e I have all these proteins and stuff like this, all these different flavor combinations and I have here, especially, you can see I just don't wanna break e have a ground beef positive black beans, fennel. So you know, all the different sauces. So it just reminds me of all the different flavor combinations. So, like, that's something I did the other day and, you know, just trying to always have a goal and be productive. Like, you know what? I've taught my son. I said, we're gonna how we're gonna attack every day because we're gonna wake up. We're gonna do something physical, right? So we go to the gym or we work out, we

go to the park, we have to do something physical, feed our body. Then we're gonna feed our minds. So we're gonna read, or we're gonna go to a museum or we're gonna try to feed our mind and get right. Then we'll feed our bodies by eating something, and then you can have free time. Do which one? Wow. Where did you learn? Like, where did that just came up? Just came up with it. But this is a quarantine rule or yeah, it's a quarantine Ruth Conniff. But yeah, I was just like because I'm just a person that has to be working all the time, So I've had to become creative to have that kind of take this energy and put it somewhere, you know? Mm s. So this is with your son, right? What does? And you said he's nine. So this is such good lessons for someone that's nine years old to just understand that, you know? Oh, wow. I should do something for my mind. Okay. Wow. How does he was he Was he receptive to it, or

won't I mean enough that goes with the flow? Well, I mean, but, you know, he much likes the Nerf gun. War will have, you know, he likes, you know, he likes the other stuff, but, you know, But we have to sit him down. He has to read for 45 minutes, you know? So you know he knows what time it is. We'll have a you know, not in this home, but my l a house. Um, you know, I have, like, a whole little library area, and I just leave the book turn, he goes, I know E no, e gotta read. I'm like, Yeah, bro. Sorry. So that was good things, you know? Yeah, that's amazing. What? What? What do your some What are some of your things. What do you do? I like to do it yourself. Other than making sure you plan some, you know, downtime. And yeah, what else do you dio? I like to be out in the open and in the woods. You know what I mean? Like Thio being nature, you know? So whether it's fishing or hiking and doing all that cool stuff

, like, I love that I love being outside. Um, yeah. You know, I do the typical workout stuff and all that. I played basketball when I was young, so I go out there and shoot some hoops. You know, I I did the NBA Celebrity All star game a couple of years back here in New Orleans, and it was hilarious, You know, like playing basketball in the Superdome. You know what I mean? In front of all these people And, you know, it was a trip, so yeah. So basket my big sports guy. Obviously, I love racing. I love that. Yeah, just kicking back. I love museums, museums all the time. Love are really Yeah, Yeah, I'm recently single. So, like, for me to go Awesome. Okay. I love it. I love it. um, but, you know, for me, it's, you know, I can't think of a better date. You know, that takes somebody to, uh, to

museum, you know, have a little late lunch. What kind of art you like? I like all of it. You know, I'm, like, super nerdy when it comes to, um, like, I'm fascinated with Vikings. I mean, I watch all those Viking shows. I love that. I kind of feel like I used to be a Viking. Because did you know that women women fought with the men? Yes. Men fought with the men. That's why I love it. I really feel like at some point in time, I was at the front of one of those Viking ships coming across the ocean, like you know what? You know what you'd be called a shield maiden. Hugh meetings is the ladies that fought right alongside their men. How badass is that? And women back in Nordic times can divorce dudes, which was like in the ninth century. That was, like, unheard of divorce. The dude you could have a lover on the side like it was cool, man. Like so my mom is 100% Norwegian. So the girl s so there's a real chance that maybe there's some Viking blood

in me. I love it. Well, that's the reason that you're such a badass. And then the other thing that I feel is like the more like Mayan Aztec culture. Like, you know, there's there's a chance that I also was, you know, running the show as a Mayan queen or something like that. I mean, why do we make ourselves out to be these superheroes? I don't know. Nobody ever said nobody ever said, man, you know, I saw myself as, uh so I myself is a plumber and nothing wrong with right? You know, nobody said, like I saw myself. We're gonna have a fast food joint, you know, like nobody ever saw them. So they only see themselves as, like, Viking Queens And, you know, like somebody that ran the world, right? Yeah. And that's so hard. You know what I always tell people? Because I have a lot of friends that air from Mexico and from abroad, and they always tell me like we'll have wine and we'll like we'll have, like, deep talks. And they say, You know, you Americans. You define yourself

by your jobs, you know, we live toe work, they work to live. You know what I'm saying? In other countries, we're so defined with our work, and I'm this and that. People just want to be happy. Work is just a means to your happiness. You know what I'm saying? So that's why they take holiday for a month and a half in Europe and all those kind of things, because it's important to have family time and in a long time or whatever, so I think that's important. But for me, people like you and I, we're screwed because we're just I think we wanna just always approve upon and find that next goal and get it done because we built something and you want to continue to build it. You know, it's not gonna be happy with how many layers you have. It has to get bigger. You know, there is some because there is some joy in that right? I don't determined and accomplishing thing means that you're disconnected from yourself in a way that

, um you know, you're not happy at all. There is some joy and accomplishing. There's some joy and doing something that you love. But I think that's the trick, right? That's the trick. Is finding something that you love to do instead of, you know, just something that makes you a bunch of money is actually really loving to do it. So, you know, I think you for I mean to me like there's no question that you found it, would you? Do you question whether or not you found that I can't even imagine myself doing anything else? And I know it's a cliche, but I don't feel like I really work. I just love what I do, You know what I mean? And that's allowed me to pay more attention to other things that are important, like relationships like family, you know, giving back. You know, that's why I have my scholarship where I put Latino kids into culinary school. Uh, you know, and currently I have, like nine kids enrolled. They go to culinary school in New York City, and it's been one of the most grateful things that I've done in the last last few years

since is planting seeds for that next generation? You know, the lifestyle that I've afforded now and the things I have is because I'm cooking. You know what I mean? Which is a humble job. You have to remember, in just 20 years ago, chefs were for gotten people. We were in the back. Now chefs are brands now, chefs or this that and the other, you know. And you can thank emerald or Buddy. You can thank Gordon for that. Ramsey you can, you know, for they've literally changed the pastry. Me? Thank you. Thank thank you. We've We've literally changed the pay scale for chefs. We've given more. We've given. We've changed the marketplace. You know what I mean? A sfar us how we should be compensated how we should be recognized and treated. All those things are now different now. Yeah, And this is the other thing Danica was like in my book. I was there at the inception of the celebrity Chef

. No, that that shit before I was there when it was happening. Where we get this E. I mean, it's it's like, right when food network with Food network, early nineties, like 25 years. Yeah, mid nineties. Mid nineties, 25 30 years is How about how old is that about how money in 20 years since it's been really popping where chefs and beginning like they're just do you know what I mean? And so it zig crazy to see what's happened. You know, like I know I'm no longer just a guy that cooks, You know, I'm like like a cultural person that changes opinions and people look up to me and I mentor people on that. There's so much going on now, you know? A supposed It's just simple cooking when you say that and say like mentoring and inspiring. Um, what was your relationship with that at first? You know, I

mean cause I lost my daddy when I was young, and I needed to have older people toe guide me, you know? So I really needed mentoring when I was very young, like, 16 17. I was in a very volatile time, and I you know, I was resistant at first. But then I now and now I'm so thankful of it. Um, and the biggest part about mentoring is making time. You know, like my kids. We try to set up a weekly call, call my kids, but there's my scholarship. Resist the scholarship recipients, you know that are in my program. I try to make sure that I speak to him once a week. And just what are you guys doing? Like talk to me about your cooking? Do you miss your family? You know, whatever. And that's mentoring. That's giving them a little hug and being like, Hey, I got your back. I'm thinking about you. You know what I mean? S Oh, it's so important in the restaurant, business is mentoring and just, you know, finding somebody that could take you one

stop and then you find another mentor. And then they could do that because, you know, being a part of being a successful chef is developing your own style. Identical. It's not about regurgitating the lessons from your mentor because then you just become a clone. So the rial ki and being on this captains in any facet of art, in my opinion, you take all of those lessons that you've learned from the people that have influenced you. And then through that process, you develop your own voice. You know what I'm saying? Your own identity through those mentors that you've had And that way you separate yourself from them, but still pay homage to them. You know what I mean? How did you do that? Well, it was to travel. And through being a rebel, I'm a I'm a tough son of a bitch. You like? I don't like people telling me what to do. Since I was young, I was like, my mom used to say, I'm like, there's a great word that you should learn. It's called, um, on sado, and it means to

season eso like my mom grew up in a cattle ranch. So you would have a bronco or a horse that no one could ride that horse because it was such a pain in the ass. But it was strong. You would have toe I'm inside the horse. You'd have to break it in. S e needed to be broken in e. I was like, I had all the talent. Yeah, I was wild, and I had all you know, I had all the strength and all the ability, but I just didn't know how to listen, you know? So once you get broken in and you get right, you know what I mean. It's something really beautiful. So I just needed to start toe. Listen, you remember? Do you remember when that happened? Like, was there a story of like, you were like, Oh, yeah, I get it now. Yeah, well, the biggest one. Eso I worked at K Paul's chef Popper Dome, arguably one of the most recognizable chefs in the country. We used to do book signings, like at a fancy food show or whatever they'd be 500 people waiting to see him

, you know, £400 in a buggy. Women throwing themselves at him, throwing themselves at them like here's my number, Chef. Call me later. I'm like, Holy shit, like, you know, crazy stuff, you know? So I worked there and I did a job where I had to, like, work six in the morning to 6 p.m. And I had to make big things of chicken stock like 50 gallons of chicken stock and do all this and you would have to taste anything you made. You have to get into the chefs and they would approve it. They would say, Oh, that's good or needs this and that. So I met this girl the day before on my day off on Canal Street here in New Orleans. And this is pre cell phone. So I'm like, Hey, baby, I get done a six tomorrow. Meet me here at 6. 30. We're going to date, right? So I'm like, hauling ass at work that day because I needed to go meet her. And at four o'clock, I brought this jalapeno vinegar, three ingredients vinegar, sugar and jalapenos. I messed it up, of course, because I was rushing the chef tasted, he

tasted goes Oh, man, that's not right, boy. Do it again. I'm, like, sure to clean up, bring them back the same shit, the same vinegar, um, in front of all my colleagues. And I'm 16, by the way. So I'm like, I'm like a knucklehead, you know? Or I might have been 18 because I came back when I was 18. Regardless, I was still a knucklehead. So I bring it back and he sees it and he goes, You must think I'm a needy. It, huh? It was so, so embarrassing. Everyone was walking away from me. They're like, you messed up. I don't. And then, without missing a beat, he goes, What's your name? He goes, What's your name I go. Oh, Chef. Her name's Christina. She's really hard. And he's like, Well, say goodbye to Christina because you working tonight, So I never had a chance to go, You know what I mean? So it was a great lesson, and that was, like, the last short could I ever took, you know, because it's gonna come

out at the end, You know what I mean? There's no use fighting. Are there any other things that you feel like You've had to learn the hard way that have really changed your life, Like the most influential things in your life to get you to where you are now. Um, well, you know, I think being honest with my marriage that didn't work out, I think was a big part of like who I am now. Just you know, when you when you that's like when you put your prioritized work and then you know you're not you're not present, and you're not there. You know, that was something that I took for granted. So now I'm very much more present. Now. You know I'm Aquarius, so I'm very aloof. Oh, I looked up and saw your birthday. Is in February, I was like, Oh, no wonder why you have all the tattoos. No wonder why your chef, Because you're super creative, your eclectic, you're you're just You're just like Aquarius. People are just, you

know, they march to the beat of their own drunk. Exactly on one of the biggest things about being Aquarius is that you're aloof. So you always like in my mind, I always think people I know what people are thinking of me, but I've become better. E. I'm just glad my dogs have embarked yet one of them sleeping on the other side of this desk, and then the other one is sleeping somewhere where it's cold. So do you guys have older dogs or younger? They're five and six. So do you live with your family? No. I live by myself. Remember? We talked about this newly single? Yeah. I've been single in 16 years. And where do you live? In California? No, I'm in Scottsdale. Scotts. Still, You know. You know Scott Scott? Yeah. It's got CO. I saw I ran into him at the grocery store a while back. They call him Scottie. The Hottie, by the way. Okay

, but He's very much marriage, marriage, marriage, very much married. I love it, but yeah, that's funny, anyway, like someone standing as little lessons, you know? I mean, I think that, you know, you talk about like, you know, marriage and prioritizing work, but that's it. There's so many people's story That's not just e think that, yes, do I think it's probably harder for someone who's, you know, in a partnership with someone who is in the world of, you know, in the restaurant business and working weird hours and long hours. And the harder you work, the more you make kind of thing, I mean, but that's that. There's a lot of business. I mean, that's that's a lot of people story. Yeah, I agree. I agree, and it's good to say it, you know, it's there's something really special about just being like This is where I'm at in life. The coolest part about getting older is knowing what you want. You know what I mean? Being like all right, you know, I'm looking for this, or this is what you know makes me happy and

but still being open at the same time, so you kinda have to be, like, play that game. You know? What are those things that you've come to realize more recently that make you happy? Mm e think meeting new people. E think having people like having exchanges with someone that were something, uh, where they're vulnerable. And you have the the honor of getting to know that the privilege of getting to know someone's heart. I think that's something so special. You know, my mom told me a great piece of life. She goes, never mess with a woman's heart. You'll be in trouble, Boy. You know, just be honest. If you treat people with honesty and respect, you'll never go back. Just tell them, you know, this is who I am or this is what I'm about. Like, if you don't, it is not for you. Then whatever, you know, move on. But just be honest and be respectful, you know that. Has that been easy and natural for you all along? Or is that more something that

do you think that takes age to do that? Or is that just just take the parent the right parent, to tell you to do that? Yeah. It takes agent experience. You know, like, yeah, I've been married once. Um, yeah, I've been in some relationships, but I think a lot of great lovers to in between, you know, the difference between relationships and lovers is that Is that not lovers what the kids call hooking up now. But people in the States and you're in Europe, you call it a lover. You know what I mean? But I don't think there's nothing wrong with saying that. You know what I mean? I'm gonna Shanda. Yeah, but they they would they would view the ladies were viewed me the same way, you know? But I'm talking about throughout my life, like I've been with, like, five women that are just absolute keepers in my time that we're that should have been, you know, and they're they're married now, and they're doing their thing. But at the time, I didn't realize it. You know what I'm saying? E

? Yeah, we just you know, we were kicking it, having a good time, but I just didn't You know what I mean? And it was just like so you know. So a relationship person I'm like, wow, I've never even crossed my mind like thio lover toe like It's not It's not serious. Yeah, everyone know it might be a great Yeah, it's just It's I mean, for me. It's just because the e I mean, I traveled 200 days a year, You know what I'm saying? You know, back before all this went down, like so it's not like I'm anywhere at one time for a long time. So, you know, you find yourself in these places, you know what I mean? So E no, Chris. Well, so but yeah, but now you know, as I'm getting older, you know? E don't know. You know, just what else makes you happy? What do you do for fun? What do you do for fun? Well, you know, we I like to ride horses

. I'm into that. I think that's really cool, because my family grew up in a cattle ranch. I dig that, um what else? Like, you know, I like to tour vineyards. You know, I think I love doing that. Museums. I said that earlier, and I work all the time, So it's like for me. Like when somebody asked me what my hobby is, what I have to do. Fun. It's shit. You know, I don't really think about it. You know what I mean? I just find myself in, like, with friends, Mostly swimming, going to the ocean. I love being in the water, you know, fun stuff like that, You know? What about you? Yeah, um, you know, the older I get the more on especially being done with racing and, you know, kind of really realizing that something that I loved about it waas putting myself in uncomfortable situations and overcoming it and facing it. So now, as I'm away from racing, I find myself doing things

like jumping off of a cliff for, you know, learning how toe learning how to awake surf or something like that. Are you know, back when I when I hosted the Espy is like saying yes, the things that are kind of scary or different? Um, more so so. Yeah. Kind of pushing myself, challenging myself. But you're an adrenaline junkie. I'm not. That's not it. No, it's not about the adrenaline. In fact, adrenaline scares the shit out of me and Maura about new things. It's about knowing that if I have to push the if I have to push my comfort zone to a place that it's not been before or a place that's just not comfortable that I know I could do it. Yeah, I understand what you say. Like I'm afraid of heights. I hate heights. So I went so I went bungee jumping. I am no less afraid of heights. I'm still afraid of heights. But I like to know that if I need to jump, I could still jump. Yeah, I hear you, man. We went. We shot this show I had in Mexico. We went on

air balloon with Yeah, I mean, how dare balloon with the chef, my co host, And we fulfilled someone's dream because they have never won. They never could afford to go onto a hot air balloon. I was scared shitless, but there was one point when you break the cloud line and you see all the other hot air balloons going around you. And it was something so special, you know? And that helped me calm. A little bit of that fear. You know what I mean? So, yeah, there's things like that that need to happen in time. It's easy just to be insulated, you know? Yeah, is that so? Is that something that I mean is that I feel like, ah, lot of people are more brave than I am. I don't know if people think that I'm brave because I drive a race car. But, you know, I think there's a lot of people that just are much more brave and like, they just do. They say yes and do random stuff all the time, but maybe not Corporate zone. Do you find that you do You? Do you

find that you stay in your comfort zone most of the time? Or do you like, do you get out of you? Do you push? You have Thio. You have Thio, man, like I'm a big home body before covert shit. Like like watching all those shows And like my little forensic files and all that And then, you know, there'd be times it would be a Friday night, You know, by myself I should be out. You know what I'm saying? And just interacting with people, you know? But I just wanna kick back on the couch or whatever. So, like, things like that and, you know, not not finding excuses to go visit a friend, you know, in another city and be like, Hey, man, let's catch up. You know I miss you, you know? So those were things that I've gotten better about just being more spontaneous and random and just jumping on a plane and getting somewhere and you know, Hey, man, what's up? I missed you, you know, Let's go eat. Let's go. Have a good time. What are you most looking forward to doing when all of the sort of restrictions and quarantine

stuff is over? Music festivals. I love music festivals because I cook at a lot of them bottle rock along all the big all the big ones that, uh, yeah, the city limits all the voodoo fest here in New Orleans. So I missed music. I miss live E. I miss being out just going from one little field to the other and having another you know, stage there where someone's playing music and then running over here. That's the thing I miss the most and going to live sporting events, you know, that's the other one. I miss a lot, of course, and of course, restaurants that are packed you got even stick of cooking at all like I love cooking too, I think. I mean, like I was saying before my producer, I feel like I know a lot of chefs because I've done a lot of, you know, cooking shows and things like that, and I just truly love cooking. Um, but even I get you know, I mean, I get sick of cooking. No, I don't ever get

sick of cooking. It's like it's like, you know, they told you know, a lot of have a lot of friends and musicians and they always ask me, Are you sick of playing that song? And they go if I get sick of playing that song and I'm gonna stop playing songs, you know? So like, it's just something you always love, You know? I never get tired of it. I love it. So Mm. Well, that's when you know that you're really doing what you love. I gotta gotta go, baby. I have something. Todo I'm sorry. No, it's good. You know, I could see you and talk to you all night. No, I think that's a perfect way. I think that's a perfect way to end your living. You You probably ought to go. Cook? Yeah, e just wanted to say thank you so much. Absolutely special. You're like a big beam of light. I really have to say that you're a wonderful e. No, no, you're You're the example of the epitome of a strong woman that is continue to redefine themselves to make people happy

. You should feel really great about yourself and what you do every day. Okay? Thank you for a wonderful school. And I hope I see you again soon. If I have to come to New Orleans and bring my wine and you bring your tequila way Got it all day long. All right? Thank you. Hi, sweetie. Thanks, everybody, for listening to the pretty intense podcast today. I hope you enjoyed it. If you like what you heard today and you want to hear more, please click on the subscribe button.

Chef Aarón Sánchez
Chef Aarón Sánchez
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