Aarón Sánchez merges his passions in a new content series, interview

Aarón Sánchez partners with Quaker State Motor Oil and Daniel Suárez to share how Latin culture connects people on their YouTube Series A Shared Appetite For Cars, Cuisine, & Culture. In this interview, Sánchez talks about NASCAR, oil, and food culture.
Aarón Sánchez
Aarón Sánchez / FOX

Many people in the food world would race to have the opportunity to sit at a table with Aarón Sánchez. His warm, welcoming personality is equally matched with his culinary knowledge. From his successful restaurants, like Johnny Sanchez, to his food televisions appearances, like MasterChef, Sánchez has a way of inviting people to explore the intersection of food and culture.  

As seen in his recent partnership with Quaker State Motor Oil, his conversation with Daniel Suárez, driver of the Quaker State #99 for Trackhouse Racing, shows how Latin culture connects people who might not necessarily cross paths. The two have a deeply rooted passion not only for Latin culture, but also for cars and food.  

In their YouTube Series, Aarón Sánchez & Daniel Suárez: A Shared Appetite For Cars, Cuisine, & Culture, the conversations speed from commentary on NASCAR racing to favorite foods. From the food lover who hopes to learn the secret to a great Latin recipe to the NASCAR fan who cannot get enough of that high-speed racing, the videos are a must watch.  

During a recent conversation with Aarón Sánchez, he graciously offered some insight on this Quaker State Oil collaboration, what it was like to film with Daniel Suárez, and a few food tips that could put that next dish in the pole position with guests.  

Reflecting on filming the YouTube series, Sánchez spoke fondly of the collaboration. Even though the two have different careers, there are several aspects that had them finding a common bond.  

Specifically, he shared, “Daniel is a great guy – he’s very engaging and upbeat and we had a lot of fun working together on set. We have a lot of similarities in how we grew up and what we are looking forward to doing in the future. Thanks to Quaker State, we were able to learn about each other’s respective crafts. We had briefly met back in 2022 at the Quaker State 400 in Atlanta and he was as nice and easygoing as I remembered.” 

Anyone who has had the privilege to attend a NASCAR event understands that it is often a family affair. The passion for a favorite racing team or driver is often passed from generation to generation. More importantly, the love of racing crosses cultures and backgrounds.  

For Sánchez, he has seen those fans firsthand. As he mentioned, “I’ve been to a few races, including the Quaker State 400 in Atlanta, and find them fun to watch and experience. You can really feel the energy when you’re standing amongst the fans. Something I really love, though, is how diverse the NASCAR fan base has become. America is a melting pot of people and NASCAR races are more and more reflecting that. People like Daniel Suárez are encouraging more Hispanics to come out, celebrate, and enjoy the sport, which ties in nicely with Hispanics’ love of speed and cars.” 

While Quaker State might be oil that helps fuel champions on the racetrack, Sánchez discusses another oil in the YouTube series. Just like a racing champion would never compromise on car components, cooks should never compromise on cooking ingredients. 

Sánchez explains, “It’s important to utilize the best ingredients to make great food. Using seasonal produce and local seafood and proteins always yields better results. Of course, it’s important to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, but it’s also important to me to find ingredients that ensure the food tastes great and brings joy. Food serves not only as nourishment but also as a source of pleasure!”  

Even though the oil used for NASCAR is not the same oil using in that 5,000 mile oil change, it brings up an important point about appreciating that not all oil is the same. With cooking oil, it is equally important to appreciate the ingredient differences.  

According to Sánchez, “there are a wide variety of oils and what you use should depend on what you’re trying to create. You shouldn’t be using the same oil to fry food as you would use to dress a salad. Oils range in flavor, have different fat profiles and some hold up to higher temperatures better than others. Similarly, my friend Daniel taught me that it is just as important to choose the right motor oil for your car.” 

Making a better choice can make a big difference for the home cook’s dishes. As Sánchez reiterated, “Use the right oil! There are a lot of reasons why this is important, but a big reason is that different oils have different smoke points. If you’re doing some high-heat cooking – reach for avocado oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil. While many may instinctually grab extra virgin olive oil, it has a lower smoke point so it’s not great for high-heat cooking techniques. If you use extra virgin olive oil for something like deep frying, it will lose its delicious flavor.” 

While oil is used across cuisines, Sánchez is very connected to Hispanic culture. As seen in one of the videos, mole and its nuance flavor are party of his culinary culture exploration.  

Sánchez explained, “To me, mole is a metaphor for your essence, your soul; it’s an expression of your unique cooking style. While there are foundational components to making mole, everyone does it differently and, similar to other dishes, it is a vehicle for true self-expression.  It is about honoring the tradition and people that came before me, while still finding ways to make the recipe unique to me.” 

That food journey is not Sánchez’s alone. Many people have family recipes and traditions handed down through the generations. Even in his own family, Sánchez has learned from the generation before him and is looking forward to continuing that story with his son.  

“I’m so lucky to come from a long line of incredible cooks and chefs including my mother and grandmother. It’s important to me to not only pass those flavors to my son, but also the traditions and stories that come with them.  I always encourage him to try new things, especially when we travel, and always try to make it fun. I’m a realist when it comes to kids’ palates and strive to create an environment and mentality where trying new foods is exciting and fun. Being a chef who is also a parent, I know that sometimes he just wants chicken nuggets, and that’s okay, too!” 

While moms and dads might appreciate that even celebrated chefs might have a few food struggles with their kids, the reality is that food creates a connection. From sense memories to finding a way to converse with others, that meal can be more than just sustenance.  

Sánchez believes, “Food is universal and has the remarkable power to bring people together. It’s a language we all speak, and our best conversations and memories are made around the table. Embracing and celebrating our differences is crucial, and food provides a unique avenue for us to learn from one another. Take rice, for instance. It is eaten in more than half the world, but its preparation differs from region to region. We should always strive to be curious about what we eat and use food as a medium to connect with people from different backgrounds, and to immerse ourselves in and appreciate various cultures.” 

For more flavorful discussions between Aarón Sánchez and Daniel Suárez, be sure to watch episodes of A Shared Appetite For Cars, Cuisine, & Culture on Quaker State Motor Oil’s YouTube page.