Disney celebrates culinary teacher Matthew Thompson


photo by Brooke Bohan

On April 24, Disney ambassador Raevon Redding and surprise guest Chef Mickey came to Matthew Thompson’s third period culinary class. The class was filmed completing a cooking challenge while Thompson was interviewed for winning the Imagination Campus Disney100 Teachers Competition.

While Matthew Thompson and the culinary students are usually the most energetic ones in the room, this time it was Mickey in a chef hat.

 On April 24, Disney ambassador Raevon Redding visited Thompson’s third period culinary class. Redding’s visit, along with special guest Chef Mickey Mouse, was filmed for national television as a way to recognize Thompson for winning the Imagination Campus Disney100 Teachers Competition.  

“I was so surprised, I had no idea [Mickey] would be here, they said they had a special guest and sure enough he came walking through the door,” Thompson said. “[The students] were super excited, and some were screaming. I guess it is a big deal that [Mickey] is on your campus because he has never been here before.” 

Thompson, voted Teacher of the Year at Hagerty, entered the competition by submitting an essay on how he brings creativity to his classroom. Thompson was one of two chosen to have a surprise filmed visit and interview from a Disney ambassador. 

“I feel really proud of our program and how far he has taken it. I know different schools also have our program but he has elevated it to another level,” culinary student Savannah Nguyen-Meyer said. “He deserves the award just because of the amount of effort and the dedication that he has to [the program].” 

Before the visit, each student in the class filled out consent forms allowing for them to be filmed for the video. During the class period, students completed a mystery box challenge with an “Under the Sea,” inspired by the Little Mermaid, theme. 

Each group’s basket had five ingredients: shrimp, bacon, red pepper, zucchini and banana. Students were then given an hour to create, plate and present any dish they wanted consisting of those ingredients. In the meantime, a film crew went around filming the students and talking to Thompson. 

“I really liked the lab they did because they did not know what was in there so they had an hour to work as a team to create a dish and they could have 1000 different ways,” Thompson said. 

This is just one of the many ways creativity thrives in Thompson’s culinary classroom everyday. 

“You might walk in here in a bad mood, but you will not leave in one,” Thompson said. “All this stuff you see when you look around, all the equipment and the tools they have, there is nothing these kids can not do. It is up to them to be creative.”