Valentine’s Day is naturally a time we think of love and romance, but at Walt Disney World, love has a magical presence every day as couples come here to celebrate their special moments and create cherished memories. Amid this dreamy backdrop, some of our cast members have even found true love.
When Heather Holmes began her Disney College Program “once upon a time” in 2005, she knew she was stepping into an extraordinary professional opportunity. Her journey, both personally and professionally, has gone far beyond what she could have ever imagined and has led to her dream career as a food and beverage concept development project manager and her very own storybook love story.
Enter Prince Charming: During one fateful evening at a food and beverage work event, Heather crossed paths with Chef Brian Piasecki, and the stars aligned.
“Her personality shined as she took two steps towards me, stuck her hand out, and politely introduced herself,” recalled Chef Brian.
After a few more chance encounters at grand openings or test meals for projects they were both helping bring to life, the two finally decided to go for coffee outside of working hours.
“We’ve been by each other’s sides ever since then,” said Heather. “We’ve been building on a friendship which evolved into this amazing love story that’s so surreal. I’m fortunate to have him in my life every single day.”
Chef Brian began his Disney journey on the Disney Culinary Program, where he discovered a passion for the culinary arts that led him to his current role as a food and beverage concept development culinary director.
Heather and Brian share a passion for cooking up new ideas together as they work on developing exciting new food and beverage experiences across Walt Disney World. Heather’s focus is on overseeing the development of immersive, themed dining environments in Disney resort restaurants. Chef Brian can be found making magic in Disney resort kitchens, where he works with his team on new ways to bring guests into the story with carefully curated menu items.
One of the couple’s favorite projects to work on together was the Dahlia Lounge at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, which is now one of their most treasured spots to enjoy a romantic evening together. The Dahlia Lounge is a magnificent masterpiece of intricate details in a whimsical atmosphere, and Heather and Chef Brian have contributed their own personal touch on some of the dishes which were inspired by their travels to the Dalí Paris museum.
“It’s like a little nod to both of us and takes us back to where we’ve had these amazing memories,” shared Heather. “I love that we get to use those moments to create authentic and impactful dining experiences for our guests.”
Another passion project the couple had the opportunity to work on together was the opening of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Chef Brian admits it took some out-of-this-world thinking to create appetizing dishes for these innovative locations. For example, the iconic blue shrimp served at Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser took Chef Brian and his team months of testing and adjusting to get it just right. The result is visually stunning, uniquely delicious and true to the environment onboard the Halcyon Starcruiser.
“To hear guests say, ‘This is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before’ and know we both helped make that happen in some way, it’s a great feeling to share,” said Chef Brian.
Now is the perfect time to visit Walt Disney World to celebrate your own unique love story with countless experiences and delicious Valentine’s Day delights that are sure to awaken your heart and taste buds all month long.
Interested in taking the first step in your Disney Cast Life journey? Learn more about Disney Programs and apply at disneyprograms.com or visit disneyculinary.com to explore a variety of culinary opportunities available.