Executive Chef

Suny Martinez-Santana, Chef de Cuisine

Growing up on a farm in Monterrey, Mexico, Suny has fond memories of being in the kitchen and helping his mother make tortillas, menudo, posole and other Mexican dishes. He learned early-on the importance of supporting himself and providing for his family. At the age of eight, he hit the streets of Mexico finding small jobs to begin making money.

Suny moved to the U.S. and his passion for cooking evolved. He took cooking classes at his high school and quickly realized this was his career destiny. He volunteered at catering events, cooked for his church, spent his nights reading cookbooks and watching cooking videos and went on to attend Phoenix College to pursue his culinary degree.

After graduating in 2011, a friend of Suny’s suggested he apply for a job at St. Francis. He did, and went to the restaurant six different times to talk owner Aaron Chamberlin into giving him a job – any job – to start his career. Aaron finally offered to test his cooking skills and after just 10 minutes he was hired on the spot as a prep cook.

Five years later, Suny has climbed the ranks to Chef de Cuisine of St. Francis. Coming from a culturally-rich background where produce was bought fresh from neighborhood farmers and wheat was harvested from his family’s land, has organically shaped his approach to food and made St. Francis the perfect home. Close attention to detail and simple techniques are hallmarks of his food style, with favorite methods including poaching and blanching.

When not in the kitchen, Suny is at The Light of the World church where participates in the church choir, often stopping in at his church at 5 a.m. before starting his workday at St. Francis.