Raised in St. Cloud, Florida, John DiGiovanni took his first bite of the culinary world working in the kitchens of the Magic Kingdom during Spring Break at Walt Disney World in 1991. Realizing cooking was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life; he began his life-long training to become a chef, starting with apprenticing at Disney’s Culinary Academy and three years of intense culinary training among the world’s best Chefs in the many kitchens of the Walt Disney World Resort. In 1997 John was awarded “Apprentice of the Year” by the Central Florida Chapter of the American Culinary Federation and was a finalist for the national honor that same year.
After graduating among the top in his class, John joined the opening team for Citricos, named one of Esquire’s best new restaurants of 1998. He left Citricos to cook at Disney’s only AAA 5-diamond restaurant,Victoria & Albert’s. In 2000, he went to the Grand Floridian Convention Center, where he learned to cater events ranging from celebrity galas toFairy Tale Weddings.
Chef John returned to where began his career as a Sous Chef of the Magic Kingdom’s Crystal Palace in 2004. Eighteen months later, John assisted in overseeing all quick service operations in the Magic Kingdom.
Ever the avid educator, Chef John worked closely with Disney’s Training and Development Team and was a member of Walt Disney World’s Global Special Dietary Needs Committee. Chef John was recognized for his work with dietary allergies by his guests & his leaders. Currently John is an Advisory Board Member for the Culinary Apprenticeship Program at Columbus State Community College
In 2006, Chef John left Orlando to raise his family and continue his career in Columbus, Ohio. He joined Delaware North Companies Sportservice where, together with his culinary team, he creates special experiences at Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
As Chef de Cuisine, John oversees food preparation for feeding the Columbus Blue Jacket players and coaches, the media, and the exclusive Red Line Lounge, as well as all catered events throughout the building. In 2009, he earned his Chef de Cuisine Certification from the American Culinary Federation and ProChef II Certification from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, California.
In 2013, John returned to Walt Disney World representing Delaware North, Nationwide Arena and the Columbus Blue Jackets as a participating Chef at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival
Check out Chef John's Recipes for:
Grandma Fortunata's Meatballs
Arch City Chop
OYO Whiskey-Braised Pork Cheeks
Ohio Corn Chowder
Sweet Potato Pave from the Black Tie Blue Jackets Style Show