Lake Buena Vista, FL – The evening of Nov. 17 was filled with food, fun, laughter and togetherness. The Walt Disney World Resort teamed up with the Orlando Magic and Second Harvest Food Bank in the first Magic FIT Kid Chef Celebrity Showdown held at Aggressive Appliances in Orlando.
Four students from Second Harvest Food Bank’s culinary program were selected to participate in the showdown hosted by the Orlando Magic. Each student and their child teamed up with a Magic player and his mother. The challenge: Create a healthy and delicious meal in only an hour.
The teams were joined by a panel of celebrity judges – Walt Disney World Chef Charles “Bubba” Dolson; Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins; celebrity chef Emily Ellyn; and Lucille O’Neal, mother of former Orlando Magic player Shaquille O’Neal – who decided which healthy dish was the tastiest.
With 60 minutes on the clock, 16 contestants gathered around a central table as a colorful spread of produce donated by Disney from the greenhouse at The Land in Epcot was revealed. The kids, parents and tall basketball players ran to their kitchens with armfuls of cooking utensils, spices, vegetables and fruits.
As the minutes ticked by, mouthwatering aromas of spiced chicken, shrimp and steak began to drift through the air, leaving stomachs in the room rumbling. When time was called, the celebrity chefs moved from kitchen to kitchen sampling each meal.
Although it was an extremely close tally of points, ultimately Team Harris took home the gold. Magic Forward Tobias Harris, his mother Lisa Harris, Karen Smith and her son, Josiah, worked together to prepare a meal of spiced shrimp and chicken, whole-wheat garlic pasta, a colorful side salad and a tropical kale smoothie.
As a special congratulations, Walt Disney World Resort will host the Smith family at The Land in Epcot, where they will learn about how sustainable produce is grown here. They’ll also have the opportunity to cook a meal alongside Chef Bubba and enjoy a personalized dining experience at a Disney resort restaurant. Chef Mickey even made an appearance and each family received Mickey waffle makers.
“[Winning the Showdown] … is an opportunity for my son to learn about cooking and how to eat healthy,” Karen Smith said. “I learned that [Josiah] is really good under pressure.”
Josiah said he learned about teamwork.
“I learned that everyone has a different role to do and it was a lot of fun to cook with my mom!” he said.
As a company with 74,000 Disney Cast Members who live and work in Central Florida, Walt Disney World Resort is committed to investing in its local community. Disney is focused on improving the quality of life in Central Florida, with a special interest in helping children and families. Disney contributes to the local community in many ways – through the millions of dollars in taxes it generates for local governments, the leadership it provides on important community issues, the cash and in-kind support it provides local non-profit organizations and the thousands of volunteer hours given by Cast Members.