Calling all fellow foodies! It’s one of my favorite times of the year again: National Culinary Arts Month! Here at Walt Disney World Resort, we’re celebrating by recognizing our talented culinary cast members who work together to create unique, next-level dining experiences all year long. From unique flavor profiles to visually satisfying platings, our culinary cast are constantly dreaming up delicious dishes that are true works of art. Here’s a look at some of these culinary delights and the cast members who masterfully help craft them.
A Menu Inspired by Pandora’s Bounty
What better way to dive into the celebration than by experiencing the art and culture of the Na’vi at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park? At Satu’li Canteen in Pandora – The World of Avatar, you’ll discover beautiful combinations of vibrant colors and familiar flavors from another world that will keep you coming back for more.
Just ask Assistant Sous Chef Albert Gondrez, who began his Disney journey 24 years ago as a participant on the Disney College Program. Working in a kitchen quickly sparked his passion for the culinary arts and kickstarted a career full of creativity that gives him opportunities to make countless contributions to our culinary community.
“What makes working in culinary at Disney different than other places is the passion that we put into everything that we do, every single day,” said Albert. “It’s a great feeling to see guests’ faces as they enjoy all the unique ingredients we put together. I like to think we’re not just feeding their stomachs; we’re feeding their souls, too.”
Guests dining at Satu’li Canteen can enjoy a sweet ending to their meal with unique, themed desserts prepared by Albert and the team, like the Metkayina Mousse — a gluten/wheat friendly flourless chocolate cake made with chocolate mousse, raspberry gelée, mango coulis, boba pearls, and a milk and white chocolate garnish — or the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse with passion fruit curd.
A Unique Rooftop Dining Experience
As we travel from the floating mountains of the Valley of Mo’ara to the top of Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, even more top-notch creations await at Toledo — Tapas, Steak & Seafood. This elegant Spanish haven inspired by surrealist art and the 1930s avant-garde serves up tapas, seafood and steak in style.
Here, you’ll find each menu item carefully crafted by Chef de Cuisine Daniel Sicilia and his culinary team is its own masterpiece, perfectly displaying these cast members’ passion for tasty food and visual art. Savor delectable dishes like the Rioja-Braised Chicken with roasted tomato bomba rice, grapes and crispy potatoes that deliciously top it off or sample several selections with the Flight of Four Pintxos. The pintxos (small plates) selections feature delights like Chilled Mussels ‘Escabèche’, Olive Oil-poached Tuna with Lemon and ‘Tortilla Española’ Spanish Potato Omelet.
Chef Daniel draws his cooking style from his time working in various signature restaurants at Disney and the valuable lessons he has learned from his fellow culinary cast members along the way.
“What separates the good from the great in our field is figuring out how you can inspire others and keep learning from others,” shared Daniel. “It’s a journey to find out who you are as a chef, but it’s pretty rewarding in the end.”
Your Cure for the Common Chocolate
What dining experience would be complete without dessert? At The Ganachery located at Disney Springs, you’ll find happiness in each blissful bite of the beautifully handcrafted ganache squares carefully designed by expert chocolatiers like Sheila Moten.
“Being a chocolatier on Disney’s culinary team is my dream come true,” said Sheila. “To get to work with one-of-a-kind chocolates and make everyone’s wildest chocolate dreams come true is so special to me.”
Special care is taken by all the chocolatiers at The Ganachery to make sure each chocolate ganache square (available in 16 decadent flavors) is crafted with next-level attention to detail. With its ever-changing menu, the location’s expert chocolatiers are passionate about creating delicious new chocolatey creations for guests to experience.
“The personal interactions with our guests are my favorite part of what I do,” said Sheila. “I love to share how each unique ingredient adds to the tasting experience. We put so much care into getting the colors and the flavor profile just right and while it’s fun to explain, it’s even more fun to watch guests enjoy them.”
It takes creativity, passion and talent to cook up and present delicious new dishes in unique ways, all while bringing magic to our kitchens and beyond every day. As we continue to celebrate National Culinary Arts Month throughout July, join us in saying a big thank you to Albert, Daniel, Sheila and all the incredible culinary cast members who help make this place the tastiest on earth!
For more stories celebrating our incredible cast members, stay tuned to the Disney Cast Life blog.
Note: All offerings are subject to change and availability.
Interested in being part of the team that creates next-level culinary experiences at Disney? Visit DisneyCareers.com to learn more!