Faces of CNM: Jerome Aragon

Jerome is a Culinary Arts student who also has a budding career in the movie industry
December 02, 2021

Flaming Hot Cheetos—they’re one of America’s favorite snacks. Turns out they also have a great backstory that revolves around Richard Montañez, the Mexican American immigrant who invented them. A movie about Richard was recently shot here in New Mexico and directed by Eva Longoria. If you watch the film, you’ll also see a CNM student playing one of the other chef roles. 

That student is Jerome Aragon, who’s studying Culinary Arts and is set to graduate this term. 

“The opportunity to be part of the movie industry has been amazing,” Jerome says. “Every day is a new challenge, and I love that I get to mix it up.” 

Jerome started working in the industry after CNM told him and other Culinary students that shows and movies were looking for actors and background characters. In addition to the Flaming Hot Cheetos movie, Jerome has also been part of the TV show Big Sky and some upcoming productions he can’t talk about yet. 

Jerome is often cast as a chef, but he’s also played other roles including one as a poker player.

For now the film industry is a fun side gig, and one that pays pretty well. Jerome says one day on set pays just as well as several days in a restaurant. 

Jerome Aragon

As a chef, Jerome has nearly 28 years of experience. He’s worked everywhere from Dion's here in Albuquerque to a steakhouse in Hawaii, to Afghanistan where he was able to serve the troops. His long-term plan is to go into culinary education, and after graduating from CNM he’ll be enrolling in a program at Eastern New Mexico University where he can get a bachelor’s of Career and Technical Education. 

“I want to bring all the years of experience that I have in the restaurant industry and share that with the people coming up,” he says. “It's been a really good opportunity to be in the restaurant industry and now I want to pass on my knowledge.”  

Jerome also wants to give back because the college opened a lot of doors for him. CNM not only connected him with the movie business but also gave him a solid spot to land when he was ready to add onto his chef career. He says everyone at the college has been completely supportive and he hopes to eventually come back to CNM as an instructor. 

“My time here has been great and I really look forward to hopefully helping CNM move their program forward,” he says.