This Women’s History Month, meet Chef Nakano Lugo, Sous Chef at Morimoto Asia, one of the amazing female chefs working to bring delicious creations to Guests of all ages and backgrounds at Walt Disney World Resort.
It’s no secret that the food at Walt Disney World Resort is pretty incredible! Whether you’re dining in the theme parks or spending an evening indulging in all of the tasty delights available at different restaurants throughout the hotels and at Disney Springs, you have the chance to enjoy some seriously great eats. And many are actually created by powerhouse female chefs like Chef Nakano Lugo, Sous Chef at Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs!
We were lucky enough to interview Chef Nakano during Women’s History Month via email to learn more about her career within the restaurant industry, how she finds inspiration and ideas for her delicious creations, and so much more.
How Chef Nakano Found Her Passion for Cooking
Like many chefs, it all started at home for Chef Nakano. She discovered her interest in the profession at a young age: “My father was a chef, so I grew up watching the passion he had to create delicious meals day after day,” she says. “It inspired me to follow in his steps to create meals that bring others joy.”
Now, as a Sous Chef herself with more than 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Chef Nakano is not only following in her father’s professional footsteps. She’s also helping to inspire future generations of chefs through her cooking and creativity. And that’s one of her favorite parts of the job. “[My favorite part is] being able to mentor new young people and watching them grow, and learning how to manage different aspects of the kitchen,” she explains.
Why Women’s History Month is So Important Within the Restaurant Industry
When asked why she feels Women’s History Month is meaningful, Chef Nakano notes that it’s particularly important because of its focus on history – and all of the women who made the present and future possible for others.
“Women’s History Month is a reminder of all the women before me who paved the way for me to be in the industry that I love,” she explains. “It’s important for me to continue in their footsteps to encourage and empower younger girls to dream big.”
Luckily, Chef Nakano herself never experienced any particular challenges simply because of her gender. However, she notes that mentoring and inspiring future chefs is key in her current role.
Chef Nakano’s Sources of Inspiration (and Favorite Foods!)
We asked Chef Nakano where she draws inspiration – and her sources are super relatable! In fact, you’ve probably pulled your very own home cooking inspiration from her same sources. “I find inspiration by looking at cookbooks and watching shows about food from around the world,” Chef Nakano says. “From this inspiration I’m able to create my own unique dishes whenever my restaurant allows me to come up with new dish ideas.”
She also draws inspiration from her favorite foods. “I love to cook yakisoba,” she says. This classic Japanese stir-fried dish is one that can always be adapted or changed, lending itself to plenty of creativity.
Learn more about the amazing women behind Disney magic in our newest issue of WDW Magazine! In our “Women Behind the Magic” issue, we’re celebrating all of the women who work to bring that magic to life at every level with special features, insights, and so much more.
And don’t forget to celebrate Women’s History Month by reading about more amazing Disney chefs like Chef Nakano! Find more chef profiles below: