Interview with Rosana Santos of Big Chef


Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

“Experience and travel – these are as education in themselves” taught Euripides, the Greek playwright.  I can say this doctrine is fundamental to my lifestyle.  I am a Brazilian native, born in the beautiful Rio de Janeiro and raised in the extraordinary metropolis of Sao Paulo, where I attained my Law Degree in Family Law. I have resided in Cali Colombia where I took two years in law also lived in Angola, Africa.  In 1991, I moved to Florida. By 2004, I obtained an MBA in Global Business Management in Fort Lauderdale.


What do you enjoy most about your profession?

The understanding of different cultures enhanced by the knowledge of international business feeds my appreciation of world cuisine.  I take pride on the growth of the business, expanding geographically and diversifying into endless possibilities. South Florida is so diverse and the market is so multi segmented. We live in paradise…we have access to assorted ingredients and we enjoy exploring different tastes. It is interesting. We get inspired and mix ingredients that delight the palate.


What motivated you to change careers?  And how difficult was it to do so?

I managed a South Florida energy conservation company, and represented the transfer of privately held businesses for several years, until the opportunity came along to acquire Big Chef.

We decided to take on this challenge, it was a complete turn around, by combining my business expertise and food interest with Calambichis, my partner, invaluable restaurant and people experience; leading to the ownership of Big Chef in November 2003.  I can say I found my passion.


Tell us about some of the organizations you are involved in and support? What life event or incident made you choose to support them

-The Broward Alliance ( ), I currently chair the minority and/or  women business committee.

-The Count Me In ( ) for women economic independence

We will have a Make Mine a Million Business event in Florida on Dec. 11, 2008

-Women Ecommerce Association – International ( ) South Florida, no description needed.


With access, tools and resources people will better off themselves and their surroundings. I firmly believe that when we assist our community (local or virtual) in providing those ‘resources” there will be progress… businesses will thrive, and people will have better lives. Everybody wins.  


From where do you draw inspiration?

I am inspired by my mother’s accomplishments as an award-winning chef and published cookbook author and my father’s attitude and leadership as a chief engineer of international projects and published “metal structure” book author… Both “frequent travelers”


Furthermore, life is really short. If we take too long to make a decision, many times time will fly and take the opportunity with it. Although, I consider myself a researcher and a planner; the implementation or the execution of the decision already taken is where I focus what I plan. 



What one thing would you like to learn in the coming year?

The tango!


Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I am always “in search” of constant improvement…ways to be effectively efficient … a better promoter … to offer a better work environment… to live a healthier life…


For example when we launched our online store at the idea was for customers to “Fake Like You Made It” award-winning appetizers delivered for “high-energy low cooking stress home parties”. People could customize their package (pick & choose appetizers for their event). Pop up 10-15 min in the oven while they glam up and we offered “free shipping” with the party package.  Then to create the right environment we include a “music chill out cd” with the package. Now we offer a “Party in the Box” adding tips, plates, and napkins.


What do you do for fun, relaxation?

Enjoy traveling very much, since I do not travel every weekend, entertaining guests maybe my favorite past time… even when my guests are my son’s teen friends “daily”. In addition to creating tasty treats with my husband and going out for dinner (checking out new restaurants… I guess we are foodies), I continue to travel and learning about different cultures; loving live concerts and enjoying strolling along the beach.

What do you want to accomplish before you leave this world?

Still so much to be done…

-Travel China with my parents and a” honeymoon” in Bali

-Teach and help improve people’s quality of life

-Share my friends’ success

-Export our proudly Made in USA delicious products

-Applaud my son (12 years old) implementation of his many ideas into the business

-Have many grandchildren

-Ballroom dance frequently

and the list goes on…


Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

“Follow your dream and make the most of the opportunities life presents you with. All you need is perseverance and vision. After all, with vision you can succeed in anything you do; if you have natural talent the journey is easier, but if you don’t, you acquire it along the way and are much better for it.” 


You can learn more about Rosana’s company at

This article first appeared in our Summer 2008 Issue. Since then I had the privilege of interviewing Rosana at the Annual Day of Balance Conference in Fort Lauderdale in April this year. Here’s the video we did: