Disney Surprises Culinary Program with $50K Donation, Preview of Victoria & Albert’s

Tajiana Ancora-Brown

by , Director of External Affairs, Walt Disney World Resort

Here at Disney, we’re always coming up with new ways to empower and invest in local students in our community – like bringing them to Walt Disney World Resort to give them a taste of potential career paths they may one day like to pursue.

Most recently, we invited culinary students from Valencia College – an institution we’ve teamed up with for nearly 50 years – for an exclusive first look and unforgettable experience inside the newly reimagined dining room at Victoria & Albert’s before its official grand reopening later this month. Students were also surprised with the news of a $50,000 donation to Valencia College Foundation to enhance its culinary program’s education experience. A perfect way to celebrate National Culinary Arts Month!

“We’re so inspired by our future storytellers here at Disney and loved welcoming these students for a hands-on learning experience at the ‘culinary crown jewel’ of Walt Disney World Resort,” Senior Vice President of Operations Maribeth Bisienere said. “Victoria & Albert’s is a special restaurant filled with talented cast members, and they were able to give students a real glimpse into the Disney cast life and unique culinary careers across the resort. If we impacted even one student’s journey, we know we’ve made a world of difference.”

Making the evening even more special, students met with many of our food & beverage cast members who are proud Valencia alumni as they shared their own journeys from culinary students to Disney chefs and helped students see how their dreams could become realities.

“Immersive experiences like this help our students reach for and attain goals beyond the program here at Valencia,” said Dr. Wendy Givoglu, Valencia College Provost, Downtown and Winter Park Campuses and Transfer Initiatives. “We were honored to be among the first to dine at this award-winning restaurant where our students could one day see themselves working.”

While the evening was put together specially for these students, the event left the entire culinary team inspired and hopeful for the future … ready to welcome our cast members of tomorrow.

“The investment in our future culinarians is one of the most important things we can do as chefs,” Disney Chef and Valencia College Alumni Nick Walker said. “I love what I do and only want it [the industry] to get better, which means making sure future generations are better than me.”

As we remain focused on supporting education efforts across Central Florida, we’re committed to investing in students at every level – whether through Disney VoluntEARS initiatives like our annual back-to-school supply drive happening now across Walt Disney World Resort or through the Disney Aspire program, the company’s educational investment and career development program that helps eligible cast and employees across the U.S. put their career dreams within reach. Did you know Valencia is part of Disney Aspire?

I’m proud to work alongside cast members and for a company that truly values giving back to the places we call home and our neighbors. To read more about other recent education efforts in the Central Florida community, click here.

Interested in a culinary career at Disney? Visit DisneyCareers.com to learn more.

Comments

  • My husband and I dined at The chef‘s table in February 2008 to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary with Chef Scott Hunnel. It was an amazing meal!!! And I just have to ask, the picture with the chef holding up the fish, is that turbo??? I do not eat seafood and Chef Hunnell prepared this fish and made it an outstanding dish which I could not tell it was even fish! Thank You!!!!