EXCLUSIVE: The story of Aarón Sánchez, one of the judges of Fox’s MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, is set for the small screen after Endemol Shine North America optioned his memoir.
The Banijay-backed production company is developing potential scripted projects with Sánchez, whose memoir Where I Come From: Life Lessons From a Latino Chef was released in 2019.
Endemol Shine North America Chief Content Officer, Sharon Levy is leading development efforts alongside Flavio Morales and Lisa Fahrenholt.
In his memoir, Sánchez shares his personal journey, as well as the story of his mother, Zarela Martinez, who took him and his twin brother from El Paso, Texas to New York City at a young age, while she chased her dream of owning a restaurant in the Big Apple.
After overcoming many obstacles, Martinez rose to success in the NYC restaurant scene and is now credited with bringing sophisticated Mexican cuisine to America. After losing his father at a young age, he was sent to work with renowned chef Paul Prudhomme in New Orleans at the age of 16. He is now the chef and owner of Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans.
He joined MasterChef, which is produced by Endemol Shine North America, in season 8, and also joined MasterChef Jr. as a judge in season 7. He is also creative director of Latin lifestyle online platform Cocina and has starred in series such as Chopped and Taco Trip and written two cookbooks and launched the Cooking in Mexican from A to Z podcast with his mother and is also a partner in tattoo shop and museum Daredevil Tattoo in NYC.
Endemol Shine North America is currently in production on Showtime’s Ripley and previously co-produced Utopia for Amazon
“It’s more important than ever to tell genuine stories of what it’s like growing up bicultural in America. We want to share the nuances that are unique to Mexican-American culture and honor those roots, while also hoping audiences from different backgrounds connect to the similarities we share – the struggles, the celebrations, the food, the comedy, the survival instincts… the relentless pursuit of happiness,” said Sánchez. “I came up at a time when food was making its way into pop-culture and cooking in restaurants was our primary form of creative expression, so having this opportunity to develop in the scripted space is something I’m really looking forward to. And I couldn’t be more excited to do it with my Endemol Shine family.”
“America knows and loves Aarón from ‘MasterChef’ and his myriad culinary accomplishments, but most people don’t know the amazing journey and the obstacles that he and his mother overcame to become pioneers of Mexican-American cuisine in this country,” added Levy. “He has truly lived the American dream and we are excited to now be developing his unique story into a dramatic TV series and exploring additional opportunities with Aarón.”
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