A magical evening committed to community to support Heart of Florida United Way

Filed in: Beyond the Theme Parks, Making a Difference

The 27th annual Chef’s Gala at Epcot was a magical evening committed to community.

While the food and wine pairings were completely Instagram-worthy, the “main course” of the evening was Central Florida’s finest chefs and sommeliers, including many from Walt Disney World Resort, coming together at Epcot’s World ShowPlace to cook up incredible cuisine for more than 800 guests. Tonight’s event raised more than $280,000 in support of Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW).

“We are thankful to influential organizations like Disney who are so generous and have an incredible impact on the success of this event and our mission,” said Jeff Hayward, president and CEO of Heart of Florida United Way. “Chef’s Gala has been graciously hosted by Disney for the past 27 years, and we appreciate Disney’s strong commitment to our organization in order to help bring change to 600,000 deserving local children and families.”

This year, the chefs paid tribute to HFUW’s mission of home being more than a house by incorporating what home means to them into their creations to help amplify HFUW’s mission and support a wonderful organization.

“Though I was born in the Midwest, I’ve called Florida home for quite some time now. Being able to contribute to a special evening like this one that directly betters the lives of so many of my neighbors here in Florida is unlike any other feeling. It’s the best honor a chef can ask for.”

In addition to Epcot serving as a backdrop for the elegant affair, guests enjoyed cuisine from local restaurants and Disney favorites like Sanaa, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Ale & Compass Restaurant, Tiffins, Narcoossee’s and Amorette’s Patisserie. No matter the guest’s taste bud preferences, the event had it all. Thank you for all who went above and beyond to make this a truly spectacular event!

Attendees were immersed in the magic of community as everyone left fulfilled knowing they helped contribute to HFUW’s mission to help make a difference in the Orlando community.

Walt Disney World Resort has supported Heart of Florida United Way since 1973, and we are proud to be the largest corporate contributor to the Heart of HFUW. Team Jedi and Team Guardian came together during the 2018 United Way Games to help contribute to Disney’s overall donation of $3.5 million to Heart of Florida United Way.

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