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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 2 weeks ago

Ormond Beach pastry chef to appear in new Disney+ 'Foodtastic' series

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Alejandra Galan will appear in the series' Avengers-themed episode.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

Alejandra Galan is no stranger to baking TV shows.

A past contestant on shows like the Food Network's "Chocolate Meltdown: Hershey's After Dark" and "El desafío de Buddy: Latinoamérica," the Latin American version of the "Next Great Baker," Galan is familiar with the standard premises of these type of shows. But when an opportunity with Disney arose, the Ormond Beach resident was in for a unique experience.

Galan, who is a pastry chef, will be competing in the Disney+ original series "Foodtastic," which will premiere on the streaming service on Dec. 15. The show is hosted by actress Keke Palmer, and features global food artists creating sculptures and scenes using only food. Produced by Endemol Shine North America, Flour Shop founder Amirah Kassem and NYC's City Cakes founder chef Benny Rivera serve as food experts on the series.

But it's not your average cooking show. Galan said viewers should expect a lot of surprises along the way. 

“I was very grateful to have the opportunity to be chosen as a person from Latin America, and to have the experience to live like a theme park in a baking environment, because that’s what it was," Galan said. "It was magical.”

"Foodtastic," to premiere on Dec. 15 on Disney+, is hosted by actress Keke Palmer. Courtesy of Disney/Endemol Shine North America

Designing moments

A native of Colombia, Galan's love of pastry began when she was young. Her parents own a cheesecake factory in the country, and she said knew early on that she wanted to follow in their footsteps. In 2010, she opened her own bakery in Bogota, Colombia, and nine years later moved to the U.S.

Prior to studying to become a pastry chef, Galan did work as an industrial engineer. But she dreamed of being an artist, and found that with food, she could do both. Plus, Galan said playing with food is much more fun.

“What I love is to design moments," she said. "So if you go to a party — someone’s birthday, or something — and that moment when you give them your incredible cake or whatever you made for them and they don’t believe that is actually edible, that’s completely priceless. And that’s something that they’re never going to forget. It’s a moment you actually design, more than the cake.”

Galan will appear in the Avengers-themed episode, where teams were tasked with coming up with a creative idea to showcase two Avengers saving a city from an attack.

The only problem was that Galan had never seen any of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. So her first order of business was making sure she knew everything she could about the Avengers by watching all of the movies. Her favorite Avenger? Iron man.

'Anything is possible'

The "Foodtastic" set provided contestants with endless ingredients and equipment, which Galan described as "heaven for a chef."

Being on a Disney show was a dream, she said. Growing up, traveling to Disney World from Colombia to visit the theme parks was special, and now as an adult that lives within driving distance of the parks, Galan said she turns into a child every time she visits. Plus, "Foodtastic" is the only show she's ever seen where food of all kinds are incorporated, and she's excited to see the creations made by competitors in other episodes. 

Alejandra Galan and her teammate during the taping of their "Foodtastic" episode. Photo courtesy of Disney/Endemol Shine North America

After all, like Galan, they were all placed into teams with strangers where the only thing they had in common was their passion for food. 

“It was a huge challenge, but I would take from that, that anything is possible," Galan 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 have led to this opportunity. She thanks them, and said she has seen how this community help others grow, especially within the food industry. Though she doesn't have her own bakery here yet, she said that is the future plan. 

“I believe if I was still in Colombia, this opportunity would have never happened.”

See Galan's pastry creations on her Instagram page, @cakefactoryale, or view her youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/alejagalan

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