Before OC discovered Amar Santana, he had been discovered by ABC’s Nightline, featured in a meaningful segment on C-CAP narrated by George Stephanopoulos. The date of the national broadcast was January 18, 2005 and Santana was then sous-chef at the highly acclaimed Aureole in Manhattan, owned by chef Charlie Palmer. It honestly gave me chills to watch and see the young Amar and how has passion thrived under the mentorship of those who believed in him and saw his potential.
Stephanopoulos commented on Amar’s success–and you can’t help but think….fast forward 12 years later to Orange County, California. Amar Santana has two successful restaurants under his belt, Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca, and was runner-up on Bravo’s Top Chef in Emmy-nominated Season 13.
Amar’s success didn’t come easy–as he entered high-school he became involved with C-CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program. The founders took the old “home ec” courses and redesigned the concept to create a foundation where teens might enter the workplace through hospitality training. Amar’s time in C-CAP provided the foundation for him to receive a scholarship to the CIA, and the rest is pretty much history.
Chef Amar Santana truly believes in giving back. On February 8, at James Republic at Courtyard by Marriott in Long Beach, he will be the featured chef in C-CAP’S Winter Harvest Benefit dinner where 150 lucky diners will experience a memorable multi-course feast including cocktail and wine.
Funds raised will help students–many from under-served communities–reach their highest potential in the hospitality industry.