Santana Sanchez:
Business, Entrepreneurship & Culinary Arts

If anyone knows that it takes the right ingredients to be successful, it’s a chef. For Santana Sanchez, of Lorain, the right ingredients came together in Lorain County Community College’s Culinar Arts program, creating a network of support that he’ll use to continue his career in hospitality. 

I chose LCCC because the culinary arts major was highly touted by my mentors at the time,” he said. “My instructors gave me a network to help me find the best opportunities for success.” 

This May, Santana is earning his Associate in Applied Business in Hospitality & Tourism Management – Culinary Arts major, and he has big plans to keep that success going.  

“I am going to work at some of the best restaurants in the country, learn under great chefs and entrepreneurs, and eventually open my own food operation,” Sanchez, 21, said.  

Sanchez feels ready to take on these goals because of primarily three factors – the training he has received at LCCC, that network he’s built, and the work ethic he’s developed during that time. And they’re all intertwined. Through connections within his network, Santana landed a job working at Cordelia in Cleveland, run by 2024 James Beard Semifinalist, Vinnie Cimino.  

“This network helped me get the job I have now which has quickly emerged as one of the best restaurants in Cleveland and even Ohio,” Sanchez said.  

Between shifts at Cordelia and hours at a second job, Sanchez worked over 40 hours every week while in school. To stay on top of his coursework, he kept in close contact with his instructors and simply pushed forward each day. No matter what. 

“It was very draining at times, working insane hours and trying to keep up with my college work,” he said. “At the end of the day though, the only thing that kept me going was the idea of quitting something I started. Regardless of how difficult it is or was, I didn’t want to give up on earning my degree.” 

Now that Sanchez’s exhausting work and school balancing act is ending, he’s ready to explore the culinary world.  

“I plan on moving around the country for a few years to learn from different industry professionals, and hopefully find out more about myself in a spiritual and mental manner,” Sanchez said. “I’m excited to get out and learn and explore.”