Aarón Sánchez at ICE

Chef Aarón Sánchez Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month at ICE

The celebrity chef demonstrated two dishes and a cocktail for students.

Aarón Sánchez, the chef and owner of Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans and “MasterChef” judge, hosted a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the 51's New York campus.

Chef Aarón Sánchez says food is a beautiful way to honor one's heritage and family legacy.

On Sept. 14, he shared that passion for food culture with ICE students to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place through Oct. 15. Chef Aarón demonstrated bluefin tuna tiradito and beef cheek sopes while talking about his passion for Hispanic cuisine.

He explained how the Spanish colonization of Mesoamerica brought ingredients like wheat, cattle, olives and vitis vinifera, or grape vines, that forever changed the palate of the region. He credits his mother, cookbook author and restaurateur Zarela Martínez, as his example for pursuing a culinary career. Chef Aarón demonstrated how to add unique touches to traditional dishes, like using Asian fish sauce in the tiradito or working with his French-trained partner, Chef Miles Landrem, to “do something cool” with the beef sopes.

“Food is a language we speak,” he said. “I know it's a cliche, but it really is.”

Bluefin tuna tiradito and beef cheek sopes
Bluefin tuna tiradito (left) and beef cheek sopes (right)

Chef Aarón said it’s important for the next generation of chefs to find mentors who will help them learn and facilitate their career moves. The Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund is meant to do just that for young, aspiring chefs from Latin communities, offering the opportunity to attend a career program at ICE.

“The fact that our students are going to chase their culinary dreams here alongside all these wonderful faculty and all the great talented teachers, it's an absolute dream for us,” Chef Aarón said. “I know our students coming in from the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund are really excited for the opportunity.”

Watch a recording of the demonstration, which was streamed on Facebook Live, below.

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Recipe

Tuna Tiradito with Creole Tomato & Crispy Hominy

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces bluefin tuna, sliced thin
  • 1.5 ounces Creole tomato, medium dice
  • 1.5 ounces English cucumber, seeded, medium dice
  • 2 ounces avocado, medium dice
  • 1 ounce jalapeno, sliced in thin rings
  • 1 ounce pickled onion
  • 1 ounce crispy fried hominy, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chive
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro
  • 4­5 radish slices
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tiradito liquid (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • Sea salt, to taste
Tiradito Liquid

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup yuzu juice
  • 1/2 cup white soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce

Directions

  1. Combine the ingredients of the tiradito liquid in a small bowl and set them aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl add the sliced fish, tomatoes, cucumber and avocado. Season with just a touch of sea salt and toss together with 1 tablespoon of the tiradito liquid and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  3. On a plate or in a wide shallow bowl, nicely and evenly arrange the fish, tomatoes, cucumber and avocado. Garnish with jalapenos, pickled onion, radish and cilantro.
  4. Dress the tiradito with the remaining tablespoon of tiradito liquid, olive oil and lime juice.
  5. Finish the plate with another small pinch of sea salt (if needed), crumbled hominy and chive. Enjoy with plantain or tortilla chips.

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