Disney chefs Gina and Dee start their morning as many couples do – by having a cup of coffee together. As we continue to celebrate Pride Month this June, we’re recognizing and celebrating the contributions of our LGBTQIA+ cast members like Gina and Dee. This dynamic duo has worked together at Disney since 2003, where they quickly bonded over their passion for food and cultures. But it wasn’t until 2006 that their friendship truly began, blossoming into a wonderful life together.
As Pride Month approached, both chefs jumped in to create unique dishes that reflect their true selves. “I always felt that it’s important to have everyone around us know that it is okay to be you and that there is so much support at Disney to create a space where everyone feels like they belong,” Gina shared.
In addition to working together to create these special menu items, both chefs took inspiration from their cultures and heritages to bring these dishes to life.
At Contempo Café located in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Gina made a childhood favorite with a twist – a lemongrass chicken bánh mi – a traditional dish from Vietnam which was inspired by one of her mother’s recipes. Served on top of a baguette with a crisp and airy texture, the lemongrass chicken is roasted to perfection and topped with pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeños, cilantro, and a creamy sriracha aïoli spread with cucumber ribbons and edible flowers.
Celebrating her Greek heritage at Sunshine Seasons in EPCOT, Dee shared a traditional Greek salad – chopped romaine, chickpeas, blistered tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, ladolemono dressing, and whipped feta. Pictured with the salad is a cookbook with traditional Greek recipes, which takes Dee back to cooking with her grandmother, mother and aunts who taught her the passion and history behind Greek cuisine.
“Cooking is such a huge part of our lives and sharing our heritages together as partners is a huge tribute to who we are as chefs,” Dee said. “Celebrating this month and being able to share our story makes me feel like we’ve come a long way to encourage inclusiveness in our world.”
Both Gina and Dee love to share their pride by being their true and authentic selves and surrounding themselves with a loving circle of friends, family and coworkers. “I’m proud to work for a company that celebrates our differences, promotes inclusivity and encourages chefs to create dishes that celebrate their cultures,” Dee said.
Be sure to follow along on the Disney Parks Blog throughout Pride Month and all year long as we share more stories from and about our cast members!