An Ormond Beach pastry chef appears in the new Disney + “Foodtastic” series
Alejandra Galan is no stranger to baking TV shows.
A former contestant on shows like “Chocolate Meltdow: Hershey’s After Dark” and “El desafío de Buddy: Latinoamérica,” the Latin American version of “Next Great Baker,” Galan is familiar with the standard premises for this type of show. But when the opportunity with Disney came along, the Ormond Beach resident had a one-of-a-kind experience.
Gallan, a pastry chef, will compete on the Disney+ original series “Foodtastic,” which premieres on the streaming service on December 15. Hosted by actress Kiki Palmer, the show features international food artists creating sculptures and scenes. Using only food. Produced by Endemol Shine North America, Flour Shop founder Amira Kassem and New York City-based chef and founder of City Cakes, Benny Rivera, serve as food experts for the chain.
But it’s not your normal cooking show. Gallan said viewers should expect plenty of surprises along the way.
Gallan said, “I was so grateful to have the opportunity to be chosen as a Latin American, and to have the experience to live as a theme park in a baking environment, because that’s what it was. It was magical.”
A native of Colombia, Galan’s love for sweets began when she was young. Her parents own a cheesecake factory in the country, and she said she knew early on that she wanted to follow their lead. In 2010, she opened her own bakery in Bogota, Colombia, and nine years later she moved to the United States.
Prior to studying to become a pastry chef, Jalan worked as an industrial engineer. But she dreamed of being an artist, and found that she could do both with food. In addition, Galan said that playing with food is more fun.
“What I love about designing moments,” she said. “So if you go to a party — someone’s birthday, or something — and that moment where you give them your perfect cake or whatever you’ve made for them and they don’t believe it’s actually edible, that’s absolutely priceless. And that’s something they’ll never forget.” It’s a moment where you’re really designing, more than just a cake.”
Galan will appear in the episode titled Avengers, where the teams are tasked with coming up with a creative idea to showcase two Avengers saving a city from an attack.
The only problem was that Gallan had never seen any of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. So her first order of business was making sure she knew everything she could about Avengers by watching all the movies. Her favorite avenger? Iron Man.
everything is possible
The “Foodtastic” kit provided contestants with endless ingredients and equipment, which Gallan described as “a chef’s paradise.”
She said being on a Disney show was a dream. Growing up, traveling to Disney World from Columbia to visit the parks was a special thing, and now as an adult who lives within driving distance of the parks, Galan said she transforms into a child every time she visits. Plus, “Foodtastic” is the only show she’s ever seen where foods of all kinds are incorporated, and she’s excited to see competitors’ creations in other episodes.
After all, like Galan, they were all put into teams with strangers where the only thing they had in common was their passion for food.
“It was quite a challenge, but I will take from that, anything is possible,” Gallan said. “That was actually the name of my team – anything is possible.”
Since moving to the area in 2019, Galan said people have welcomed her and opened doors for her which led to this opportunity. She thanks them, and said she’s seen how this community helps others grow, particularly in the food industry. Although she doesn’t have her own bakery here yet, she said this is the plan for the future.
“I think if I were still in Colombia, this opportunity would never have come true.”
See Jalan Pastry’s creations on her Instagram page @cakefactoryale, or watch her YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/alejagalan