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Chefs Share: "The First Thing I Ever Cooked Was..."

Our favorite chefs weren’t always the culinary masterminds as we now know them to be. There was once a time when they were just kids in the kitchen, mixing up concoctions... some delicious and some not. From sugary treats and traditional dishes to chocolate covered hands and accidental explosions, check out how Aarón Sánchez, Sue Torres, Wilo Benet and more started out in the kitchen.

Chef and busy restaurateur Aarón Sánchez traces his memory back to a favorite dish he made with his mother. And that's no surprise, mama is Zarela Martinez, a famed cookbook author, chef, and restaurateur herself. 

Sopa Seca was one of my favorite dishes growing up, and I would always ask my mom to make it for me,” said Sánchez. “One day she got tired of me constantly asking so she taught me how to make it!” Sopa Seca traditionally uses fideos, which is Spanish for noodle, but Sanchez shared that he sometimes uses alphabet pasta to make the dish more playful. Try Sanchez’s kid friendly tip the next time you make the pasta inspired classic

Puerto Rican chef and restaurateur, Wilo Benet also credits his very first dish to his mother.

“The very first thing I remember cooking was rellenos de papa or fried stuffed potato croquettes,” said Benet, revealing that his mother would hand him the rellenos to finish shaping .

“I must have been ten years old, but stumbling into cooking via dish washing and helping my mom is my earliest memory of preparing any food item,” he said. 

Next, Sue Torres, Roberto Santibanez, and more...

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