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Chef Mo Brings the Flavors of Colombia to Disney Festival of Holidays

Dani Ganley

by , Internal Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort

With the much-anticipated “Encanto” from Walt Disney Animation Studios now in theaters, Disney Festival of Holidays is celebrating with flavors of Colombia, the setting for the new film. 

Chef Moises “Mo” Carranza and team started dreaming up ideas for dishes months ago, and landed on an arepa, a popular street food in South America. “The arepa is basically a corn cake… I can compare it to the American burger, Mexican taco or the Italian pizza… You can fill it with anything you want,” Mo explained. Typically, this is topped with some sort of chicken salad, but the team decided to give it a twist, making a sofrito using Impossible™️ brand plant-based meat and using dairy-free cheese for the filling of the Impossible™️ Arepa Encantada, making it a great plant-based option.

Impossible™️ Arepa Encantada

Mo started at the Disneyland Resort in 1981 as a steward at the Plaza Inn. “I have that very Disney story where it was just a summer job, and it really was,” he said. Forty years later, he has built a career as a chef. “I always think, ‘Man I’ve been here a long time,’ but I enjoy every minute of it.”

“A lot of my friends outside of work, they wonder if I’m done, if I’m tired… No, never!” Mo said, laughing. “I come in every day with the same energy I had back in ’81 and ’82 when I thought I was blessed to have this job, because it was really the American dream.”

Now in theaters, “Encanto” is also being celebrated in “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!,” the park’s festive holiday favorite that features authentic dancers, musicians, costumes, with authentic Colombian music from the band El Sabor Bueno and the opportunity to greet the film’s young hero, Mirabel.