LANCASTER – At age 44, University of Antelope Valley Culinary student John Delgado will tell you he still feels young at heart. It’s a good thing, because he’s about to spend six months at the Happiest Place on Earth. As John nears completion of his Certificate in Culinary Arts, he and his family prepare for his August departure to the Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, Florida.
John was recently selected to participate in the esteemed Disney Culinary Program, a six-month paid internship program that will allow John to travel the culinary world that exists inside the park. Covering more than 47 square miles, the Walt Disney World® Resort is one of the largest vacation destinations in the world. The property features more than 300 food and beverage locations, spanning all types of dining experiences. For John Delgado, it’s a dream come true.
After serving 9 ½ years as an EMT, the downturn in the economy found its way into the Delgado home, and John soon found himself unemployed. After conferring with his wife of 11 years and his four children, John decided he was going to pursue a career where he felt he could put his passion and creativity to work. With four kids in house, John had developed a self-taught talent for cooking, delivering homemade pizza and pasta to his toughest culinary critic, his five year-old daughter Catie. With her blessing, John enrolled in the University of Antelope Valley’s Certificate of Culinary Arts & Restaurant Management program, and has not looked back since.
John regularly volunteers in extracurricular activities at the University, and can be found assisting Instructor Chef Rick Royal in the Baking and Pastry Program on his own time
While in the Disney Culinary Program, John and his family will be separated by thousands of miles for six months, a daunting strain for any family to bear. To offset this, the family is looking to technology to help keep them close, and is brushing up on their knowledge of programs like Skype and web chatting.
Despite these difficulties, his family is fully behind him, and John plans to maximize his time in Orlando, moving throughout Disney’s network of eateries and working along-side Disney’s stable of experienced chefs.
John will be the second student from the University of Antelope Valley to attend a Disney program.
Kimberly Tenuta, a Business Management student, is currently participating in the Disney College Program, where she attends Disney designed college courses and works in various positions throughout Disney’s immense California operational superstructure.
“This is a great opportunity for both our students and the University,” states Marco Johnson, President and co-founder of UAV. “We hope that as more of our students find their way into these stellar programs, we can develop partnerships with groups like Disney and other international, domestic, and homegrown industries to provide a continuous stream of qualified, eager individuals to fill vital roles in their organizations.”
(Information via press release from the University of Antelope Valley.)