By Ashley Clutter, University of Antelope Valley
If you’re ever at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, stop by the “Big D Café” and say hello to Tatianna Rodriguez. The 2011 University of Antelope Valley graduate landed a coveted position with Disney’s food service company, Bon Appétit, thanks to the lasting impression she left on a former instructor.
Chef Anthony Williams, a Walt Disney Company chef and former UAV culinary instructor, said he recommended Rodriguez for the opportunity because he remembered his former UAV student as talented, willing to learn, professional and serious about the culinary field.
Rodriguez’s passion for the culinary arts developed as a child in her family’s home, where most events centered on food and cooking.
At a young age, Rodriguez also adopted a strong work ethic. She said she was motivated by her parents, whom she described as involved, determined role models working hard to give their children the best life they could.
“My parents set the example for my sister and me…” Rodriguez said.
Never afraid of a challenge, Rodriguez served as student council president, played organized sports, and worked two jobs while attending high school. She even managed to graduate a year early.
With several choices of where she could attend college, Rodriguez said she chose University of Antelope Valley because she wanted a proven culinary arts program with a relatively small class size that would afford her more personalized training.
After graduating from UAV in 2011, Rodriguez worked as a dietary cook in a northern California hospital and then as lead cook at a sports bar and grill in the Antelope Valley before securing the position with Disney’s food service company.
She hopes to set an example for her 3-year-old daughter, La’Reina, on the importance of hard work in achieving one’s life goals.
“I want my daughter to grow up and look at my work ethic, character, and successes and want to emulate what I’ve done,” Rodriguez said.
“My daughter is the definitive reason I rise very early each morning and make the commute from the Antelope Valley to the Disney Studios in Burbank, work hard and try to gain a little more knowledge each day,” Rodriguez added.
This young and driven chef’s five-year plan is to own a pastry shop and bakery.
For more information regarding the Culinary Program at the University of Antelope Valley, visit www.uav.edu.