Updated to clarify staff at Flying Fish
It’s been a newsy week for Disney chefs, but I have one other bit of business to share.
Dennis Thompson has been named chef de cuisine at the California Grill, the popular restaurant on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort overlooking the Magic Kingdom. Thompson replaced Brian Piasecki, who left CG in February to accept a new position within the company with the cumbersome title of Executive Chef WDW Resorts, Moderate, Value and Standalone DVC Properties. He must have the biggest business cards in the company.
For Thompson, the new job is a return to Grill. He began his 16-year career with Disney in 1997 cooking at California Grill under opening chef Clifford Pleau. He moved on to Jiko — The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge and then to Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian Resort, just across the lagoon from his new office.
A native of Worthington, Ohio, Thompson, right in photo with Piasecki, graduated first in his class at Columbus State College in 1991. His training included a three-year program in an American Culinary Federation apprenticeship. He has acheived the first of three levels of the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Thompson’s wife, Victoria, also works in food and beverage at Walt Disney World Resort as a front-of-the-house manager.
California Grill is one of the restaurants considered to be among the resort’s top three best, along with Citricos and Flying Fish Cafe (now known simply as Flying Fish). Dominic Filoni was named chef de cuisine at Citricos in November after longtime chef Phillip Ponticelli moved to Golden Oak. Flying Fish is still searching for a Tim Majoras has been named the replacement for Timothy Keating, who left the kitchen and the company earlier in the year when the Boardwalk restaurant was closed for a planned multi month renovation.