The Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida Culinary Training Program is blessed to receive support from several community partners in the hospitality industry. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is one of our loyal partners, having hired several of our graduates over the years. They also support our students by providing us with guest instructors of the highest caliber. Recently, Chef Bogdan Sonta joined our classroom kitchen to teach our students how to sharpen a knife.
Chef Bogdan Sonta is the Executive Sous Chef at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Chef Sonta oversees several of the resort’s casual dining venues, including Picabu, Splash Grill, the Fountain, Cabana Bar and Beach Club and room service for the Walt Disney World Dolphin. A native of Szczecin, Poland, Sonta has undergone extensive training in the culinary field and he has also been trained to work as a professional butcher.
Chef Sonta has more than 20 years of experience in the culinary industry. Before joining the resort in 2001, Sonta developed a diverse and extensive background by holding positions in various five-star hotels and restaurants throughout Poland, Germany, Israel, the Mediterranean and the U.S. He also had the opportunity to serve as a chef on a luxury cruise liner in the Mediterranean. Sonta attended the Im.Mikolay Rej.Memorial Charring School Complex in Szczecin, Poland to obtain his chef and butcher training. Along with cultivating his culinary skills, Sonta has also devoted time to develop fluency in four languages, including his native Polish, German, Russian and English.
Sonta has held several notable culinary positions at the restaurants in the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin, including Gulliver’s, a casual-themed restaurant, and Todd English’s bluezoo, the resort’s signature eatery serving coastal cuisine and was the executive chef of Fresh Mediterranean Market, the resort’s market-style dining venue emphasizing cuisine from Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Morocco. Chef Bogdan Sonta’s passion for the culinary arts coupled with his unique and cultured culinary background has helped him to become the accomplished culinary professional he is today. Our students are truly lucky to learn from such an expert in the culinary field.
Knife sharpening may sound like a simple thing to a home chef, but Chef Bogdan explained that it’s of the most essential skills for a chef. He demonstrated several different methods of knife sharpening, including a system that costs thousands of dollars. With his years of experience wielding a knife, Chef Bogdan’s sharpening tool of choice is the whetstone. He brought along several whetstones and demonstrated the precise hand movements necessary to obtain a perfectly razor-sharp blade.
Each student was able to try the whetstone and receive personal feedback from Chef Bodgan. It was one of the first days of class for this group of students and they hadn’t even received their student chef coats yet. But they paid close attention and followed directions exactly, and by the end of class, each student was able to confidently transform a dull blade into a sharp instrument for their kitchen creations. This skill, learned from the best and brightest in the industry, will serve our students well in their future culinary careers. We’re so grateful to Chef Bogdan Sonta for his dedication to helping our students succeed.
Read more about the many graduates who have benefited from our Culinary Training Program at http://www.feedhopenow.org/need_stories_culinary.