Justin Aprahamian entered the culinary world at the age of 12 helping out with his uncle’s catering company. In his teens he worked his way up from dishwasher to garde (refrigeration) manager at Steven Wade’s Café.
Justin began his formal training in Culinary Management at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) earning an associate degree in culinary management.
"The labs and equipment are up to date, and the instructors are great. The value for your dollar is a huge benefit," Justin says. "You can spend a lot more, but you’d be hard pressed in this profession to get a return on that investment. WCTC’s program stresses both the technical cooking and the management aspects of the culinary business, such as calculating food costs. You leave [the program as a] very well-rounded chef."
Shortly before graduation he joined the staff at the world-class Sanford Restaurant in Milwaukee. He climbed the ranks and in 2008, was named Chef de Cuisine. Justin purchased the restaurant from his mentors in 2012.
In 2010 Justin was a semifinalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year Award. He was nominated several times for Best Chef Midwest and in 2014 won the award.