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Chef Luis Creates a Brand New Dish for the Festival of the Holidays at Disney California Adventure

One of the most exciting parts of attending the annual Festival of the Holidays at Disney California Adventure is trying all of the delicious new food offerings! This year has seen a number of new dishes taking inspiration from the cultures and traditions celebrated during the festival as well as hit Disney films. One of the new dishes to debut this year was recently created by Chef Luis Madrigal, who was thrilled to join the culinary team on this year’s Festival of the Holidays to put a unique twist on one of his favorite dishes, a classic mac and cheese!

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Chef Luis began working for the Disneyland Resort 12 years ago when he took a job at the Mission Tortilla Factory at Disney California Adventure. In the years following his initial run at Mission Tortilla Factory, he worked a stint at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port where he fell in love with the culinary arts and shifted his focus toward becoming a chef.

While sharing his experiences with the Disney Parks Blog, Chef Luis said, “The reason I became a chef is because I had someone who took me under their wing and showed me how to cook [and] the science behind it. You’re in a lab, putting these ingredients together.”

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When it came time to work on new recipes for this year’s Festival of the Holidays Chef Luis and his team took the basic concept of mac and cheese and brainstormed ways to make the dish more unique and interesting. The finished result? A festive dish inspired by the taste of traditional carnitas. The cheddar that is typically found in mac and cheese was swapped out with cotija and Oaxaca cheese, and the whole thing is topped with puffed rice.

Luis continued, “[It was special] bringing those flavors together and being able to provide one thing I love cooking and what I grew up knowing.”

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Dishes like this newly created mac and cheese were inspired by the flavors that Chef Luis grew up around, with items like carne asada and birria. This connection further drives home the festival’s emphasis on family and tradition, and is sure to be a tasty addition to the holiday season at the Disneyland Resort.

The Festival of the Holidays runs through January 9 at Disney California Adventure. Don’t miss Chef Luis’s twist on mac and cheese if you visit this holiday season!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."