Rosana’s drive to become a successful entrepreneur began as a young girl. A Brazilian native raised in the metropolis of Sao Paulo, she obtained her degree in Family Law at PUC-SP. Believing in education beyond the classroom, she traveled, residing in Cali, Colombia and Angola, Africa. In 1991, Santos moved to Florida. Ultimately, her understanding of different cultures enhanced her knowledge of international business and fed her appreciation of world cuisine.
Inspired by her mother’s accomplishments as an award-winning chef and published cookbook author and her father’s successful attitude and leadership; Santos decided to combine her business expertise and food interest with Calambichis, her partner, restaurant and people experience; leading to the acquisition of BigChef in 2003. By 2004, she obtained an MBA in Global Business Management at UOP in Fort Lauderdale.
“With vision you can succeed in anything you do,” explains Santos with regard to her success. “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.”
Santos firmly believes in integrating with the community. The outgoing entrepreneur has taken on leadership roles and has been recognized in numerous organizations of distinction as well as sponsored several events. Rosana is the President-elect of Women in Ecommerce International e; she serves as spokesperson for American Express’ Small Business Saturday and was selected for the First Pathway to Prosperity in the Americas in Washington DC among women’s entrepreneurs from 14 countries. She is recognized as 2012 “Notable Women–Award Cecilia Meireles” in Minas Gerais, Brazil; as the 2011 “Manufacturer of the Year – Spirit of Excellence” Award by the American Business Women’s Association–ABWA and honored by the Entrepreneur Council with Broward Alliance 2009 Economic Development Leadership Award for her leadership role in touting Women and Minority Businesses throughout South Florida. Santos-Calambichis was a finalist for the South Florida Minority Women Business Owner of the Year 2007 by the National Association of Women Business Owners-NAWBO; she has been distinguished with the Volunteer of the Year 2005-2006 Award” for the Broward Alliance and “Entrepreneur of the Year- 2002” by the Women’s Council of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce”.
In addition to sit on the board of Anchor Bay Club, their home in Hallandale Beach, she is also on the Board of Directors of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Broward County, and the Women in Ecommerce International-WECAI, and is an active member of the Tower Club – Clucorp, Women Executive Club, National Association of Specialty Food Trade-NASFT and Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council-SFMDC.
Regarding BigChef she states “Great part of a food business’ success is the “kept secret” recipes but we recognize our diverse staff as key ingredient. Through diversity ideas and experiences are shared by people from various places and many backgrounds … this makes us unique and yet, powerful.. at Big Chef we thrust in diversity as the strength that generates creativity.”
Under their management, BigChef was awarded “2008 The Best Ethnic Food in the Americas” Food and Beverage Show in Miami Beach, FL; won the “2007 Emerging International Trade Award” by the Hollywood Business Council; was awarded the “Minority Export Readiness Training” by SUSTA aiming to export the proudly “Made in USA” tasty items; won the “2006 Count-Me-In Make Mine A Million Business Award” in San Francisco, CA and was awarded “2005 The Best Ethnic Food in the Americas” Food and Beverage Show in Miami Beach.
Santos-Calambichis’ passion for dining extends beyond work to her personal life, making entertaining guests a favorite past time. In addition to creating tasty treats with her son, Philipe Carvalho, and her husband and partner, Mano Calambichis, she continues to travel, enjoys reading and strolling along the beach. Learn more at www.bigchefonline.com.