Recently I wrote a book review of Disney Eats, a colorful cookbook that is Disney themed. With a budding cook in my home (Kiki) it’s gotten a ton of use. I had the opportunity to interview Joy Howard, the author of Disney Eats on how she got involved and advice for BIPOC’s with an interest in the food industry!
Hi Ms. Howard, thank you for taking the time to chat with me today! Disney Eats is such a fun and colorful cookbook. Can you tell me how you got involved with this project?
I was first approached about the project by Pat Van Note who is the Editorial Director of Disney Publishing. I knew the project would be a good fit for me based on my experience as a former food editor and my work as a freelance food stylist and recipe developer. I also have a secret obsession with making cute food projects which I’ve done now for years— for publishing clients and on my own just for fun.
One thing I love about Disney Eats is that there are photos that show Brown hands creating food designs, something I would have appreciated to see as a kid! What advice would you give to POC children who want to make food styling or writing their career?
I am so glad you asked this question, because it’s a topic that’s incredibly important to me personally and professionally. Unfortunately like most creative industries, publishing and the culinary world are both sorely lacking in diversity, and BIPOC are underrepresented in every role. You shouldn’t allow that to discourage you, but it is something that you should be emotionally and psychologically prepared for. Invest time and energy connecting with other BIPOC with similar goals or who’ve already achieved the types of things you’d like to pursue. Having role models, mentors, and peers with similar backgrounds and experiences is invaluable. And NEVER sell yourself short! Know your worth and be fearless about demanding the consideration, respect, and when it’s time, compensation that you deserve.
For beginning cooks, what Disney Eats recipes would you recommend they start with? For those that want a challenge, what recipe provides that?
The book has a whole chapter on easy treats which are a lot of fun to make. For simple savory dishes, I would recommend trying the Royal Roast Chicken which is a whole meal in one recipe. And Tink’s Chicken and Stars soup is another dish that’s simple and cozy. For a more challenging treat I’d suggest the Sleeping Beauty Doughnut cake. It’s more assembly than cooking, but its topsy-turvy construction is an ambitious creative project.
Disney Eats reminded me of some of my favorite Disney Parks snacks. Do you have a favorite Disney snack?
I haven’t been to the Disney Parks in quite a few years, but I did a lot of research about park snacks for the book. There are so many good ones—especially the Mickey-shaped sweets—that I’m not sure I could name a favorite!
Can you tell us what what you are working on next?
I don’t have any other book projects in the works at the moment, but I’m keeping busy with my regular styling and recipe development assignments. I’d love to write another book for Disney. I still have lots of ideas to share!