MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Award-winning chef, author and TV personality Aarón Sánchez spent part of Tuesday at Adobo Cantina greeting students and faculty.
WVU Dining Services entered into a partnership with Sanchez to provide new food options to student dining facilities beginning in the spring semester.
Sanchez has been featured in several Food Network programs, like Chopped and Chopped Junior, and is currently a judge on the FOX culinary competition series MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. Sanchez also owns the Johnny Sanchez restaurant in New Orleans.
“We’re bringing the flavors of Mexico and a little bit of Louisiana here because that’s home for us in New Orleans,” Sanchez said. “I thought this would be the ideal launching point here in West Virginia.”
Adobo Cantina is located in the center of the dining hall and features traditional Mexican food with a modern approach incorporating the very best ingredients. The entrees are offered at no extra cost to diners using meal swipes at Cafe Evansdale.
“The youth is our most valuable commodity and the fact that now days youths are so savvy when it comes to food and the have really high standards when it comes to introducing new flavors,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez has a team at Adobo Cantina that includes Executive Chef Monica Gaarz. Gaarz comes to Morgantown as an award-winning scholar with nearly a decade of experience at Texas Christian University.
“I’m treating this as a restaurant, not necessarily a food outlet in a dining hall,” Sanchez said. “So, if we come in here with that mentality, I think we’ll be able to do something special.”
The concept also brings cultural aspects to student diners that provide insight into different ways of life. Also, providing healthy, creative meal options allows students to build good eating habits for the future.
“I’m very much invested in the youth and making sure they continue to evolve their palates and understand how to create great food and how to appreciate it,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez has also awarded about $715,000 in culinary arts scholarships through the Aaron Sanchez Impact Fund.