During a whirlwind weekend in Miami known as the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, esteemed chef and author Aaron Sanchez opens up to Haute Living about the culinary world, his newest endeavors and how Miami’s take on food has evolved.
RA: Happy Wine & Food, chef! Tell us about your book.
AS: My new one is called Simple Food, Big Flavor and it’s really indicative of the way I cook. I think my first book was more of a love letter to all of the Latin neighborhoods that I visited and that I was inspired by, but this one is an approach to cooking where I navigate 15 different flavor bases, and then from there several different recipes spawn from those 15 flavor bases.
RA: How do you believe food has evolved, in terms of returning back to simple food and clean recipes?
AS: When you talk about the word fusion, to me that means confusion. It’s about understanding food for its core essence, and it’s not just happening with food. It’s happening with music, art and fashion, and there is a movement to come back to the basics.
RA: What are some factors, in your opinion, that have caused this evolution?
AS: People are starting to appreciate simplicity.
RA: What brought you to design “kitchen kicks”?
AS: For me, as an artist you are constantly looking for different ways to express yourself, and finding new mediums. I think shoes are something that I have always been very passionate about because everything related to health starts with your feet. My shoes are done with style, functionality and purpose. (Available at www.mozoshoes.com)
RA: How did you develop this shoe and what are the important features that a shoe should have for a chef, or anyone in the kitchen?
AS: They have to be comfortable, first and foremost. And that’s probably because I’ve gotten older, and now I shop for comfort as opposed to aesthetic. It’s a sign of where I am in life. Comfort first, functionality and then durability.
RA: What are the top five essentials that everyone should have in their kitchen?
AS: A good olive oil, sea salt, a sharp knife, good pans and great lighting.
RA: How does your Mexican heritage influence your food?
AS: Everything I do is from a cultural point of view. It has to come from a point of view that makes sense to me and is traditional, and then I put my own spin on it.
RA: What is your go-to 30-minute meal?
AS: Roasted chicken with roasted root vegetables and a little salsa verde, all day long!
RA: What do you admire most about the culinary industry?
AS: I admire how diverse it is. I admire how new cooks are starting to find their culinary voice right now.
RA: Who are you looking forward to seeing during the SoBe Wine & Food festival?
AS: I like Andrew Zimmern a lot, I think he’s really special, but I like all of the chefs.
RA: How influential is the city of Miami in terms of cuisine?
AS: Before it was considered very casual and very laid back, but now the food is taken very seriously.