An interview with Chef Deaundra “Dee” Rolle, who is the new Executive Chef at The Edison in Disney Springs.
Have you ever visited The Edison in Disney Springs? Located in The Landing between Maria & Enzo’s and Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas, the gothic-style restaurant features a range of cuisine and all thanks to new Executive Chef Dee Rolle.
Guests have the chance to meet Dee during the Taste of the Bahamas event at the Edison on Thursday, February 5th. Let’s hear from Dee and learn when you can drop by to say hi!
Born in Miami, Florida, and raised in the Bahamas, Rolle has always had a passion for cooking that was inspired by her West Indies heritage.
She even won a scholarship to culinary school at Florida-Keiser University, competed in professional chef competitions, worked at a range of restaurants between Melbourne and Orlando, Florida, and also has a bachelor’s degree in Restaurant and Food Service Management from UCF, to name a few of her achievements.
And now Rolle is breaking boundaries in more ways than one, especially as a female chef. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women only make up about 24 percent of the culinary industry.
Rolle, alongside many other women, is changing the culinary game in powerful ways.
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For the past eight years, and before working at The Edison, Rolle could be found at several restaurants on Walt Disney World (WDW) property, including Disney’s All-Star Resorts, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and in Disney Springs prior to The Edison.
And, of course, taking on her new position as Executive Chef is meaningful to Rolle for multiple reasons.
Being The New Executive Chef
“It’s both an honor and a dream come true to hold this title,” Rolle tells WDW Magazine in a January email interview. “Being able to share my success with my parents and have them watch me grow into the chef that I am today has been incredibly rewarding.”
She adds, “Becoming an Executive Chef has always been my end game, and this opportunity to lead a team of culinary professionals for The Edison has made that dream a reality.
“I’m humbled to be a part of the team at The Edison and I will do everything in my power to continue making it a success for many years to come.”
The Journey Wasn’t An Easy One
Getting to this point wasn’t exactly an easy journey for Rolle. She’s faced many obstacles along the way.
As she explains, “Simply starting out a career as a foreigner in a new country in it of itself is a difficult task. No one will hire you without domestic references and work history. My previous job experience in the Bahamas wasn’t accepted in the U.S. so I began at a disadvantage. It wasn’t until culinary school that I was really able to get my foot in the door.”
While in culinary school, Rolle pushed forward by entering competitions, collecting accolades, and receiving bronze medals as a result of her hard work.
And even though she found more confidence along the way, Rolle was “still continuously forced to prove myself.”
“I’d be asked in every job interview what stations I’d be able to work and my answers weren’t traditional,” she explains. “I love the sauté station, but it is normally considered a ‘man’s place.’ The fact that I wanted to start there instead of in a more female-driven role such as managing a pastry station always astounded my interviewers.”
Rolle’s Advice For Other Women
It’s no secret that we as women are constantly trying to break the glass ceiling and Rolle has proven that the culinary field isn’t just for men.
She even has advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps, including to never take no for an answer.
“Own your position and make them happy to have chosen you,” she says. “Confidence is one thing, but passion is another. Be passionate about your work and let that help fuel your confidence.”
She also wants women to never be afraid to take on the hard job.
“A lot of women get the stigma of being too afraid to take on difficult responsibilities,” Rolle says, “But the delicacy of the way a woman maneuvers is often what is needed to execute tasks quickly in the ever-chaotic culinary world that we work in.”
And she continues to prove just that as the new Executive Chef at The Edison, where Rolle is looking forward to helping “our kitchen welcome new cultures into the mix on our menu while also always paying homage to The Edison’s roots.”
She adds, “ Together, these elements create a one-of-a-kind dining experience for guests and I aspire to work with our staff to keep those pillars of wonderment and creativity alive under my leadership while taking each aspect to the next level. “
Taste the Bahamas with Chef Dee
Want to chat in person with Dee?
Sign up for the Taste of the Bahamas event on Thursday, February 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
This multi-course tasting dinner will be an intimate evening to welcome new Executive Chef Deaundra “Dee” Rolle.
From The Edison:
Chef Dee will present an exclusive menu featuring a masterful mix of traditional flavors from her home country and classic American recipes. Items will be paired with fan-favorite tiki cocktails such as a rum runner, Mai tai, and daiquiri from The Edison’s esteemed mixologists. From appetizers of conch fritters with remoulade to a steamed snapper entrée and benne cake ice cream for dessert, guests will feel transported to the Caribbean with every bite as Chef Dee describes the inspiration behind her creations.
A limited number of tickets are available to purchase for $76++ per person.
- Reserve your seat and meet-and-greet with Chef Dee today by clicking here.
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