SBCC Promise alumna Ava Engle actually started at SBCC while she was still a high school student at Carpinteria High School. Through a special grant from the SBCC Foundation, she was able to take classes at the college in her senior year, and then came to SBCC full-time to pursue her associate degree in culinary arts. She is passionate about learning, and loved the culinary program at SBCC.

“The SBCC Promise allowed me to get the uniforms, chef knives, and the books that I need, which are really expensive,” Ava said. While attending college, Ava worked at the Carpinteria-based Food Liason, which offers catering services, cooking classes, and a lunch counter.

After graduating from SBCC in 2021, Ava and fellow SBCC student Marcelo Chacon had the opportunity to work abroad as interns for two months at the Regent Hotel in Porto Montenegro, in the city of Kotor, which is a sister city to Santa Barbara. Ava and Marcelo had roommates from many different countries and got to experience new cultures and languages. They worked hard, got experience in a professional kitchen, and made the most of their free time by exploring the area with friends. Their internship was recently featured in an article in the Montecito Journal.

“It was an amazing experience,” Ava said. “I learned so much, and am still in touch with the friends I made. I definitely plan to go back again at some point.”

Ava is now a pastry cook at the very popular Helena Avenue Bakery in the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara, a full-service bakery that offers breakfast and lunch, and breads and sweets baked daily. The eatery is part of the successful Acme Hospitality family of restaurants. She added, “I am excited to be working in the culinary world, and thankful for the education I received at SBCC.”

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