Walt Disney World is a place filled with so many unforgettable experiences beyond riding fun attractions and sharing special moments with characters – it’s also a place where you can taste exciting new flavors and learn about cultures from around the world! As part of this year’s Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month celebrations, cast member Suni Quinones Rivera, an Assistant Sous Chef at the Walt Disney World Resort, brought a taste of her family’s culture all the way from her home table to the tables of Magic Kingdom Park. During this month, Cinderella’s Royal Table is featuring Creamy Plantain Soup inspired by her family’s recipe, and we think it’s “soup-erb!”
Suni’s passion for the culinary arts began stirring as a kid while she watched magic unfold in her grandmother’s kitchen in Puerto Rico. “I remember my grandmother making creamy plantain soup for me when I was sick – I loved it and it always made me feel better,” Suni shared. Her grandmother’s delicious creations were not only flavorful but filled with love – a love for cooking and a love for family. This family tradition led Suni to a simmering dream: one day, her love of cooking would bubble into a lifelong career.
Overflowing with passion to pursue her culinary dream, Suni applied and cooked up a career right here at Walt Disney World, where dreams really do come true! Her culinary dreams already blended perfectly with Disney, but the true secret ingredient to her recipe for success has been the Disney Aspire program! Suni was brimming with delight when she was accepted into the Culinary Management program at Valencia College. “Being part of Disney Aspire has not only taught me culinary skills, it has also helped me learn more English,” Suni says.
Suni’s next dream is also already brewing – to become a chef in one of Disney’s signature restaurants! Her leaders are a key ingredient to her career journey, “my leaders encourage me and want what’s best for me – they are like my family,” Suni says. Her next major accomplishment in her culinary journey is cooking to perfection right before our tastebuds: having a menu offering inspired by her family recipe featured this month at Cinderella’s Royal Table. “My son, mother and sister are all so proud of me!” she shares excitedly.
Here at Disney, we authentically celebrate the vibrancy of Hispanic and Latin American cultures every day, and featuring a dish inspired by Suni’s family recipe is just one of the many ways we are showing our appreciation. For Suni, her family’s heritage means the world to her. “If it wasn’t for my grandmother, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Knowing I can honor my grandmother’s legacy and share my Puerto Rican heritage with the world fills me with a deep sense of belonging and purpose,” Suni shares with pride. “I love that Disney is so inclusive and lets me share my culture – you don’t get to do that everywhere.”
Guests visiting Magic Kingdom can try the Creamy Plantain Soup at Cinderella’s Royal Table through October 15. We’re also “soup-er” excited to let you know that you can bring a dash of culture from our kitchen to yours with this delicious recipe: