Celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez is launching a scholarship fund to mentor and guide aspiring Latino chefs. The Aaron Sanchez Scholarship Fund, a joint initiative between Sanchez and the John Besh Foundation, will focus on mentoring aspiring Hispanic chefs and help fund their education at the International Culinary Center, a culinary institute in New York City.
“The idea is to give recognition to the next generation of Hispanic chefs who are often overlook(ed) for high level positions in the kitchen,” Sanchez said in an email. “We want to give them the proper training so they have equal footing when it comes to getting those jobs.”
Part of the program includes a culturally immersive internship to Mexico City and surrounding rural towns, where students will get the chance to visit local markets and restaurants while interacting with and learning from local chefs.
“We’ll have the students cook and collaborate with my local colleagues and friends to show off what they learned in school,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez, who is Mexican-American, grew up in the restaurant industry and says some the major limitations that Hispanic chefs face are the expectations and difficulties with communication.
“Most of their communication skills are a bit different since they come from diverse backgrounds and it can be challenging for restaurant owners to communicate with the staff,” Sanchez said, noting that in the past decade second-generation Latinos are being brought up bilingual, which has improved communication in the kitchen.
To kick off the program, Sanchez is hosting a benefit Mentor’s Dinner on Nov. 3 featuring his mentor, Douglas Rodriguez, and several chefs Sanchez mentored, including Deuki Hong, Jose Colin Jr. and Miles Landrem, who is the executive chef at the New Orleans location of Johnny Sánchez. The five-course dinner at Besh’s event space Pigeon & Prince (129 Camp St.) includes wine pairings and begins at 7 p.m.
Tickets for the dinner are $250 and can be purchased here.
Those interested in applying for the scholarship can apply at aaronsanchezscholarshipfund.com
. The applications will be available starting Dec. 1 and must be completed by Mar. 31, 2017. School at the International Culinary Center starts in May of 2017.