Why Disneyland Chefs at Goofy’s Kitchen are Creating Festive Plant-Based Menu Items

Chef Kameron Trevino, who works at the Disneyland Hotel, is one of three Disneyland Resort chefs selected to take part in the first-ever Sustainable Culinary Fellowship program created by the environmental sustainability team. The year-long program focuses on menu development, sourcing and partner engagement as well as waste reduction. 

The chefs are working toward the company goal of net zero emissions for direct operations by 2030. Imagine everything it takes to grow and harvest a vegetable or raise an animal before it is ready to be served. All the farming, processing, and transportation along the way is a large part of what is known as the value chain, and those activities release greenhouse gas emissions. By creating plant-based dishes and processes that reduce waste, chefs can help reduce emissions. 

Chef Kameron admits he was a bit skeptical on what he would gain from the experience, but realized he was selected for his desire to innovate, willingness to try new things and share his learnings with teammates. 

“I came into the fellowship with an open mind and the more I learned about sustainability in the food chain I realized that we have an opportunity to make a significant impact,” Chef Kameron said. “And, you know what? The food doesn’t have to be boring or the same old, same old. We’re Disney! We can innovate like we always do.” 

chef in kitchen
Chef Kameron prepares plant-based dishes for Goofy’s Kitchen dinner buffet.

Plant-based items reduce environmental footprint 

For Halloween season, Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel not only debuted a seasonal overlay for the first time, but Chef Kameron and his fellow chefs created an amazing 50% plant-based buffet. And for the current holiday season the magic continues with a holiday overlay and a variety of memorable plant-based items on the buffet to delight guests’ taste buds and create less greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Our Korean fried broccoli is one of our most popular items on the buffet and I’ve had many guests tell me that they would order this as a standalone dish,” Chef Kameron shared. “It’s a take on a tempura broccoli with a with a Korean glaze. It’s almost like candy on a plate, but healthy candy that is very tasty.” 

Korean Fried Broccoli
Buffet items like the Korean Fried Broccoli have become a favorite at Goofy’s Kitchen thanks to Chef Kameron.

For the chefs, part of the Sustainable Culinary Fellowship program includes attending seminars and expos to educate them on best practices they can implement at the Disneyland Resort. During a trip to Napa, California for a seminar, a dinner inspired Chef Kameron to create a plant-based option for the carving station where guests might expect to only see meat options.  

“We do a vegan butter, cinnamon and brown sugar rub on top of these pineapple halves and bake and roast them until they’re caramelized,” Chef Kameron said. “All guests can enjoy the pineapple dish. It really accompanies your meats as well.” 

Chef slicing caramelized roasted pineapple.
Chef Kameron slicing caramelized roasted pineapple.

Culinary fellowship program delights guests and inspires chefs 

The fellowship program efforts are paying off and easily noticed with the guests’ enjoyment of the new menu items. 

“Oftentimes, you’ll see one or two pieces of protein on guests’ plate, but a whole heck of a lot of broccoli or the Japanese sweet potato hash and people going for seconds and thirds of the pineapple,” Chef Kameron shared. “The corn cake really goes like hotcakes. We run out of that every night and that was an ‘aha’ moment, for me where I realized this is working. The learnings that we have had this past year are coming into fruition, and it’s in full effect here at Goofy’s Kitchen.”  

Chef Kameron
Chef Kameron

Beyond what he learned during the fellowship, Chef Kameron is committed to sharing his knowledge with his team to see what they can accomplish by encouraging them to get creative in the kitchen with plant-based foods. 

“I’m proud seeing my teammates also be passionate about this effort,” he shared. “They’re taking the learnings and trying to go and make it their own, and that is the whole point of the program. It’s to share the knowledge and inspire others.”  

Through programs like this, we are working to reduce our environmental footprint, care for wildlife and their habitats and create stories that inspire action. We call our collective efforts Disney Planet Possible – tangible actions we’re taking to put possibility into practice and inspire optimism for a brighter, more sustainable future.  

Holidays at Goofy’s Kitchen runs through Jan. 1, 2024. Visit Disneyland.com for more details and to make dining reservations.