Celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez, together with the John Besh Foundation (www.johnbeshfoundation.org), is launching the Aaron Sanchez Scholarship Fund to mentor aspiring Hispanic chefs. It will support their training 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 overlooked 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."
Cultural immersion internships in Mexico City and surrounding rural areas will allow students to visit markets and restaurants while learning from local chefs.
Sanchez, who is Mexican-American, grew up in the restaurant industry and says some of 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, many second-generation Latinos have been brought up bilingual, which has improved communication in kitchens.
To kick off the program, Sanchez is hosting a mentor's dinner benefit at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 featuring his mentor, chef 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 Sanchez (930 Poydras St., 504-304-6615; www.johnnysanchezrestaurant.com). The five-course dinner is at Besh's event space Pigeon & Prince (129 Camp St., 504-553-6738; www.pigeonandprince.com) and it includes wine pairings. Tickets for the dinner are $250.
Those interested in the scholarship can apply at www.aaronsanchezscholarshipfund.com beginning Dec. 1. Applications must be completed by Mar. 31, 2017. School at the International Culinary Center starts in May 2017.