#FoodieFriday highlights alumni culinary business Sana Sana

Sana Sana co-owners Maria Parra Cano and Brian Cano.

Sana Sana co-owners Maria Parra Cano and Brian Cano.


Every other month, the ASU Alumni Association hosts #FoodieFriday, a virtual food series that invites alumni to start their weekend whipping up a new recipe from the comfort of their kitchen while learning about a Sun Devil-owned culinary business.

On May 21, the association, the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute and Sun Devils across the states prepared plant-based recipes from Sana Sana that were tasty and healthy.

Sana Sana co-owners Maria Parra Cano, a graduate with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies, and Brian Cano, who holds a bachelor's degree in conservation biology and ecological sustainability and a master's degree in secondary education, shared their Sun Devil stories and why they started Sana Sana.

Parra Cano’s passion to pursue a degree in the culinary arts stemmed from preparing and cooking food from scratch with her mother and five sisters from a young age. Her family was used to homemade foods, and it was many years before they began introducing processed and convenient foods into their diets.

When Parra Cano’s parents both became diabetic and she was labeled high risk with gestational diabetes for all four of her pregnancies, she began looking at additional ways to treat their conditions. She learned about ancestral, Indigenous food that would be beneficial and adjusted their diets. Weeks later, Parra Cano said she was cleared of diabetes, hypertension and stage 4 liver disease by her doctors.

From these experiences, Parra Cano and Cano started Sana Sana — a food truck, catering company and cooking classes. The name Sana comes from the verb sanar, which means to heal, and that encompassed their goal for starting their business.

“Our main goal is to heal, and it’s not about solely making money, because for us that’s not the bottom line” Parra Cano said. “The bottom line is to help the community. And so, we ended up focusing our efforts more on certain areas or demographics that we wanted to help support, especially demographics who have low access to healthy food and that are most impacted by disease. So, we focus on South Phoenix.”

During the virtual cooking session, alumni learned how to make plant-based tostadas de ceviche using mushrooms, tomato, jalapeños, cilantro, cucumber and lime as well as a verde smoothie.

Sana Sana is an alumni of the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute’s Prepped program — a free, food business program for ventures owned by women and underrepresented minorities. The program offers immersive training in early-stage food business development including sustainable business operations, food costing and financial literacy, small business marketing and communications strategies, permits and licensing and more.

To order catering or delivery, visit Sana Sana’s website or visit them on Facebook and Instagram.

Did you miss this month’s #FoodieFriday? You can watch the ASU Alumni recording on Facebook.

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