“He told me to never let fear stop me from being great!” These were the words of Disney Chef Antanae Taylor’s teacher in culinary school after her reluctance to enter a cooking competition back in 2019. A more in-depth conversation revealed that Taylor did not believe she was up to par with many of the contestants.
“He quickly reminded me that I had made some of the best dishes he has ever had from a student,” Taylor said.
This boost of confidence was all Taylor needed not only to enter the competition but also to cook at a level that landed her the third-place award out of fifty contestants!
“After that, I always cook with confidence, precision, and skill,” Taylor said. “And I am never afraid to show people what I can do.”
Taylor’s mindset shift proved powerful beyond measure, as today she is a cherished chef at one of Disney’s restaurants, Trattoria al Forno, located in Disney World’s BoardWalk Inn.
Her newfound confidence in her talent has inspired an extraordinary journey, one that extends past anything she could have ever imagined.
“The restaurant I am working at mainly serves Italian food,” Taylor said. “We do breakfast and dinner. I work in the morning, so my daily contribution changes. But I’ve made dishes like tiramisu-style French toast, sunrise breakfast pizza, oak-grilled steak and eggs, caprese omelets, pancakes, and Mickey Mouse waffles.”
Those wanting to enter the culinary industry can look forward to days filled with hard work and great food.
“I would say to anyone entering the culinary industry to make sure that you have passion and strength for what you are about to do,” Taylor said.
A disciplined Taylor awakens at 3:45 a.m. each morning and clocks in at 5:25 a.m., giving rise to a day filled with exciting and successful culinary activities.
“You will spend more time at work and sometimes less time at home,” Taylor said. “But the sacrifice is worth it when you start to level up.”
Taylor is proud to be part of a century-old legacy, one that was born from the vision of a legend.
“Disney is a very generous company to work for,” Taylor shared. “They allow us to have cast member discounts across all Disney parks, resorts, and affiliations, and they try to give us something new and exciting every month.”
Taylor remains true to her Caribbean roots, with one of her favorite dishes being steamed sausage, rice, and corn. Another favorite of hers to make is Thai coconut curry soup, which she favors. She enjoys creating new and innovative recipes and likes to add a Caribbean flare to the dishes she creates.
Taylor continues to shoot for the stars as she continues to set long-term goals for herself.
“In ten years, I would like to be an executive in food and beverage operations,” Taylor said. “I would also like to open a fine dining Caribbean concept restaurant with hopes of obtaining a Michelin star.”
She is an advocate for growth and development and desires to continue to achieve extraordinary goals in the future.
“I am constantly learning new things, finding new opportunities, and bettering myself,” Taylor said.
After adding a good dose of confidence, Taylor is proof that when a dash of fearlessness, a sprinkle of belief, and a heaping cup of hard work are paired with a talent that does not disappoint, glass ceilings are smashed, and growth becomes inevitable.