Your event venue and location are crucial to the attendee experience. Not only do attendees love to travel to exciting destinations, but they like to experience the local sights, culture, and, of course, cuisine.
With the launch of our new guide, "The Top 100 Meeting and Event Venues in the United States," we're going to share our interviews with premiere chefs and restaurant teams from the country's most popular meeting and event cities. They'll share what makes their restaurant stand out, how their city influences their flavors, and how they can accommodate events.
Jaleo Disney Springs
1486 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Owner: José Andrés
Head Chef/Interviewee: Rodolfo Guzman (pictured below)
Imagined through the creative lens of Chef José Andrés and his team, Jaleo showcases the rich diversity of Spanish cuisine. The menu is inspired by the traditional dishes of Chef José’s childhood and elevated through his experience. Guests feast on a variety of tapas reflecting the regional flavors of traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine. Also on the menu: tasty authentic paellas cooked over a wood fire as well as sangria, wines and sherries. Head Chef Rodolfo Guzman talks more about what makes Jaleo stand out and what makes their Spanish menu special.
Q: What makes you the proudest about Jaleo Disney Springs?
Guzman: "I’m proud of the amazing team we have joined together to deliver a memorable experience to guests through our innovation and passion. Jaleo Disney Springs presents an authentic Spanish dining experience. We introduce guests to tapas-style dining with products directly from Spain and only available at José Andrés restaurants."
Q: How is Jaleo unique?
Guzman: "Jaleo brings alive the spirit and flavors of Spain through the notion of “small plates.” When you dine here, you’re not just having a meal. You’re enjoying time spent in good conversation, eating, relaxing and enjoying the company of others."
Q: What makes your menu special?
Guzman: "The menu and recipes are the creation of José and his team of chefs. Many of the ingredients come directly from Spain. We have a state-of-the-art, wood-burning paella pit. Guests can watch our culinary team prepare paellas and grill meats, as is the tradition in Spain. We also have one of the most extensive selections of Spanish wines, sherries and vermouths in Central Florida."
"I love Spanish cuisine. The cheeses, Jamón, rice, saffron and olives are all unique products, not found in everyday kitchens. When combined, they create beautiful and delicious dishes."
Q: How would you describe the restaurant ambiance?
Guzman: "The design by Juli Capella creates a sensory experience, enveloping guests in the magical spirit of Spain. The exterior features 41 Gold Petals inspired by an artichoke and soaring floor-to-ceiling windows. Inside, guests can feel the excitement and vibrancy of Spain. There are giant murals of a seaside town in San Sebastian and the Bullfighters’ “Suit of Lights,” the lakeside bar, cooking academy, private dining rooms and artwork from Spain. These design elements work together to create a welcoming and adventurous experience."
Q: How do you accommodate groups?
Guzman: "Jaleo serves groups of all sizes, from small gatherings to events of up to 550 people. Our sales and event manager works with groups of 12 or more guests. We offer pre-selected menus, beverage packages and unique options for chef demos and culinary stations."
"Guests enjoy an intimate dining experience – from chefs hand-carving Jamón to our sommelier guiding selections of wine and sherry. Each event is one-a-kind, set in a beautiful ambiance with our staff providing exceptional service."
Q: What’s your favorite thing about neighborhood Jaleo is in?
Guzman: "Disney Springs is a lively dining and entertainment district in the heart of Walt Disney World Resort. It draws travelers and locals of all ages as a world-class destination for any occasion."
Q: Who inspired you to become a chef?
Guzman: "I was inspired by José Andrés. He’s so passionate about food and Spain. When he describes the dishes, you can feel the love he has for the cuisine and his country. José believed in me and sent me to La Académie Cuisine in France and to El Bulli in Spain. Those two experiences changed me, and I knew I was on the right path."
"José often sends his chefs to Spain. He wants us to visit where they make the Jamón, cheeses and wines and tour Spanish markets, tasting the different foods. He also brings in the best chefs from Spain here as featured guests. Once you acquire that deep knowledge, you can create signature dishes of your own."
Read more about what to do in Orlando and what the top venues are for meetings and events in the city by downloading our free guide below!