Our cast members are always cooking up special ways to create memorable experiences for guests from near and far — including local students in our Central Florida community!
Recently, culinary students from the Walt Disney World Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality at Valencia College had the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a Disney chef when they were among the first to step foot in the brand-new kitchens and dining room at Roundup Rodeo BBQ in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which opens to guests on March 23.
To kick off their day, they received a personal tour from some of our very own Disney chefs of locations where culinary magic happens in the theme park, giving these future culinary professionals a close look at real-world applications of the skills they’re learning in class and the chance to ask experts in their industry questions about their own experiences creating innovative dishes.
The students also heard from Ben Van Beusekom, Senior Artisan Specialist at Walt Disney Imagineering about how the story and theming of this immersive, family-friendly table-service restaurant was developed from concept to execution — including elements that were inspired by some of his own childhood memories! Of course, no culinary tour is complete without a taste test, so they topped off their visit with a full sampling of all the foodie fixin’s on the location’s mouthwatering menu.
“These students got to see something very special that few people in the industry ever get to see: the creation of something special and the thought process behind how and why you create it,” said Jay Galbraith, Vice President of Public Affairs and Advancement at Valencia College. “It’s not just about cooking a meal, it’s about making an experience. Walt Disney World has changed the arc of what they can think about for their careers.”
For cast members like Chef Jerry, who played an integral role in creating the menu and preparing the team for this rodeo restaurant, being able to spend time developing aspiring culinarians like these is an incredibly special part of the job. Check out the video below for a first-hand look at their rootin’ tootin’ good day!
We are so proud to help shape the future for Central Florida’s aspiring students through experiences like these. Just last year, culinary students from Valencia College had an exclusive first look inside the newly reimagined dining room at Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa before its grand reopening, where they were surprised with the news of a $50,000 donation to Valencia College Foundation to enhance its culinary program’s education experience. These are just a few of many special moments we’ve shared as we’ve teamed up with Valencia College for nearly 50 years, and we can’t wait to see what these budding culinary professionals accomplish.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ will officially open its doors later this month, inviting guests to experience Andy’s rodeo while enjoying barbecue-inspired comfort foods served family-style with platters of house-smoked meats, a roundup of sides, and perfectly portioned chuckwagon desserts. Be sure to brush up on all the tasty offerings before your next visit!
Interested in a culinary career at Disney? Visit DisneyCareers.com to learn more!