A South Korean Disney Chef’s Surprise Honor

Chef Gloria Tae, the chef de cuisine at Club 33 and 21 Royal, was recently recognized as a “woman of the year” by the California State Assembly with a surprise celebration hosted in partnership with her leadership team. This recognition honors her career achievements, including being the first female chef de cuisine in Disneyland Resort history at the resort’s famed Club 33, a storied private dining lounge created by Walt Disney himself. 

Celebrating a beloved Disney chef 

State Assemblymember Phillip Chen shared further details on Chef Gloria’s selection for this prestigious honor: “Chef Gloria Tae is a culinary visionary, barrier breaker, and inspiration to all. Her artistry in the kitchen and trailblazing spirit redefine excellence and empower others to reach new heights. Chef Gloria’s dedication and talent have made her a standout in her field.” 

To further add to the surprise, Chef Gloria’s family and friends secretly joined in the celebration to experience this honor by her side. Fellow cast members from Club 33 and 21 Royal, along with leaders from across the resort and at least a dozen other members of kitchen staff, from sous chefs to stewards were also in attendance – all coming together to celebrate Gloria. 

California State Assemblymember Philip Chen giving Chef Gloria her recognition.

“I am totally surprised, over the moon and happy. This is totally unexpected, so I’m in a bit of a shock, but I feel so honored,” Chef Gloria said. “I’m proud to know that I’ve been able to lead my teams successfully. I always strive to be there for my teams because I know my success is due to them.”

Chef Gloria thanks her family, especially her mother, for instilling a strong work ethic in her and for showing her how to navigate life as an adult. She also shared that her friends and family play an important role in her success by helping her to decompress and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

In addition to her award, Chef Gloria also received a gift from the Club 33 team, bestowed by Operations Manager Christopher Moran. He gave her a special knife with a penny on top of the box and shared that she will need to buy it back to stay true to Irish tradition, which requires recipients of knives to purchase the item back to avoid severing the friendship.

Christopher Moran presenting Chef Gloria with a special knife.

Chef Gloria’s journey 

Before she was chef de cuisine at Disneyland Resort, Gloria Tae was born in Seoul, South Korea before moving to Southern California as an infant. Her passion for cooking started from a young age, inspiring her to leave her undergraduate studies early to pursue her culinary interests. 

Instead of following a traditional path of attending a prestigious culinary school, she opted to forgo a formal culinary education and rely solely on the valuable hands-on experience gained from years working with experienced chefs at the Disneyland Resort to build her decades-long list of skills. 

Chef Gloria’s lasting impact as a

Disney Chef 

Among the celebration attendees was Chef Andrew Sutton, the culinary director of Disneyland Resort Hotel Operations. Without hesitation, Chef Gloria credited Chef Andrew as her mentor, and said she has “learned a lot from him on how to be a great leader.” Chef Gloria also thanked her fellow cast members for helping her succeed. 

Starting at the resort in 2001, Chef Gloria’s resume includes experience working at a selection of well-known restaurants in Disney California Adventure park such as Napa Rose, Carthay Circle Restaurant, and the Golden Vine Winery before joining the team at Club 33 and 21 Royal. 

When asked if she had advice for her younger self, Chef Gloria would remind herself to “just keep on plugging along” during the early days of her culinary journey, adding “the bad days are fewer than all the great days you’re going to have, so always keep at it.” 

Learn more about Club 33 and 21 Royal 

Club 33 and 21 Royal are revered fine dining options at Disneyland Resort known for their upscale ambiance and gourmet cuisine. Club 33, a particularly luxurious offering, is actually a private dining membership club — and Disneyland’s location is one of several around the world. Others are located at Tokyo Disneyland and Shanghai Disney Resort. 

21 Royal, a similarly luxe experience, offers fine dining within a private home nestled centrally within Disneyland Park

Both located in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, Club 33 and 21 Royal offer a luxurious experience, complete with an exquisite multi-course meal with impeccable service. As a crucial member of the culinary team at these prestigious establishments, Chef Gloria harnesses her expertise and passion to serve up unforgettable dining experiences.