What was the initial inspiration for “El Sabor de Aarón?”
I live in a very interesting lens, because I’m bicultural. I’m the perfect example of a Mexican-American in the sense that I was able to maintain my two cultures, American and Mexican. I grew up speaking Spanish as my main language, living in two different worlds. Then I wanted to have that synergy and have them collide, and what better way to do that than through food?
This show is something that really does a great job of capturing what the current Latino diaspora looks like in terms of all the diversity and all these different faces from different parts of Latin America cooking fantastic food and showcasing it , and allow this show to be the starting point for this platform to start getting more attention than they rightly deserve.
This show is in Spanish, and you’ve spoken in interviews before about the importance of second-generation Latinx people retaining their language. Can you explain why this is so important to you?
I have an 11-year-old son who is starting his early years at an immersion school in Los Angeles to try to make sure he’s fluent in the language. I’ll tell you why it’s so important, because we all have family members who are in our respective Latin cultures and countries. Then imagine those summer vacations where you go with your cousins and nephews, and aunts and uncles – you’re the only one who doesn’t speak the language. You feel alienated and you don’t feel part of the group. It’s one of the big points of contact that I wanted to highlight, at least in my family, but this idea of keeping your language is the best way to keep a connection with your culture.
There is a saying in Spanish that goes: “When you lose your language, you lose your country.” There are a lot of young people who claim they are Latinos or Latinx, but they don’t necessarily speak the language. It is extremely important.
Do you think Spanish-language food media will grow in the United States?
Absolutely, because right now we’re living in a very interesting time where you have second-generation Latinos desperately trying to save their roots and come back for those authentic experiences and those authentic moments. What is going to happen more often is that if someone is struggling with Spanish, for example, one of the best ways to learn is either through music or television.
On this medium, I really feel like the food will speak for itself. You will understand when I speak of a carrot, it is “zanahoria”. When I say onion, it’s “cebolla”. It is also a very good exercise for people to learn their Spanish and improve it based on food.