EXCLUSIVE — Scott Hunnel, the much celebrated chef de cuisine at Victoria & Albert’s restaurant, a position he has held for more than 20 years, has been named executive chef for Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. In that position, he will oversee all the hotel’s restaurants, which, besides Victoria & Albert’s, includes Citricos, Narcoossee’s and the Grand Floridian Cafe.
For now, Hunnel is continuing on at Victoria & Albert’s, but sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity say that a new chef de cuisine will be hired. Update: Hunnel says that Victoria & Albert’s will continue to be a focus of his, even if a new chef de cuisine is hired.
Hunnel, 52, has held the position since 1995 when he moved up from the kitchen at Ariel’s restaurant at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort.
He is one of the most respected and talented chefs in the region and has been nominated for a James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef South eight times. In 2008, Hunnel was recognized by Sante magazine as its Culinary Professional of the Year.
Hunnel, a native of Joliet, Illinois, is married to Marianne Hunnel, who is also a chef. She oversees the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. (She is pictured above with Hunnel as they participated in the Field to Feast event earlier this year.)
Hunnel’s move is the culmination of a number of changes among top-tier Disney chefs in recent months. Brian Piasecki left California Grill for another position within the company, as did Phillip Ponticelli, who had been chef de cuisine at Citricos. Tim Keating left Flying Fish Cafe — and the company — when the Boardwalk restaurant closed for renovations earlier this year.