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Shows Air This Week for ABC’s ‘The Chew’ at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on October 12th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


For the first time ever, ABC’s “The Chew” left their studios last week in New York City and took their daily “party in the kitchen” to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort to tape five shows airing this week (October 12-16) on ABC.

Hundreds of enthusiastic fans cheered on Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, Mario Batali and Michael Symon on the custom-built set with the backdrop of Spaceship Earth under Florida’s sunny skies. We had a special performance from the cast of Disney’s “Festival of the Lion King” from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They opened one of the shows (airing this Thursday) with a powerful dance – just one of the many “only-at-Disney-World” moments the foursome experienced during their weeklong stay.

Wonder what each of the hosts did just after arriving? Carla said she headed straight for Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Clinton racked up a big score on Toy Story Mania!, while Mario took the plunge on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, both at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And Michael took a leisurely boat ride through the hydroponic growing area at The Land pavilion in Epcot Future World.

As the Emmy-winning hosts created delicious treats on stage and showcased festival marketplace dishes, they also cooked up some fun with Mickey Mouse and Goofy for today’s show. On other episodes, they treated audiences to guest appearances by Iron Chef Morimoto, who just opened Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs; Alfonso Ribeiro (ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos”) and Bellamy Young (ABC’s “Scandal”). They even stopped by for a nosh at the festival’s Rockin’ Burger Block Party, one of the 20th festival’s new premium dining events. Here’s a fun behind-the-scenes look at the production:

Tune in this week to ABC, Monday through Friday (1 p.m. Eastern, noon Central and Pacific) for lots of Walt Disney World fun!

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New Restaurant for Celebrity Chef Art Smith Coming to Disney Springs in Summer 2016

posted on October 9th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


With farm-to-fork cuisine, Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine, Chef Art Smith’s new restaurant concept, opens in Summer 2016 at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.

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You might remember Chef Smith from his years as Oprah’s chef, or for his appearances in “Iron Chef America,” “Top Chef” and “Top Chef Masters.” The James Beard Foundation award winner was born and reared in the town of Jasper, Fla., on the Florida-Georgia border, where his family still raises cattle, pecans and heirloom vegetables. And after 25 years of preparing award-winning meals for celebrities and heads of state and appearing on television, he is making Florida his home once again.

The Homecoming menu will feature Southern favorites like homemade pimento cheese, Church Lady deviled eggs, low country shrimp and grits, kale salad with Sweet Grass Dairy cheese and spiced pecans and a grilled Blackstrap pork chop with sawmill gravy. “Each dish has a little Florida twist and make guests feel like they’re on the back porch with me for every meal,” says Smith. Desserts will be a specialty, with cakes, pies and delectable sweets made daily and shipped from a bakery in Hamilton County, including the restaurant’s signature Mockingbird Cake.

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The “rustic-chic” restaurant has a glass-walled show kitchen and the Southern Shine bar, featuring whimsical cocktails, punches and coolers that celebrate an era where characters might have created some homegrown spirits on their homesteads just beyond the springs.

By the way, Chef Smith attended Florida State University and did a culinary internship with the Walt Disney World College Program. Welcome home, Chef!

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National Pierogi Day Oct. 8 – Make Your Own With This Recipe From Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on October 7th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


These little stuffed dumpling are the ultimate comfort food – and for National Pierogi Day we’re sharing this recipe from the chefs at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. While Poland isn’t one of the World Showcase countries, it’s been a part of the festival with a marketplace since 1996, and there’s always been pierogi on the menu—one of the festival’s top sellers every single year.

For this year’s 20th celebration of the festival, the chefs created this new version, stuffed with sauerkraut and served with a rich pork goulash.

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Pork Goulash Pierogi
Serves 6 to 8

Pork Goulash

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced
  • 2 pounds pork butt, diced, exterior pieces of fat trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups sauerkraut, thoroughly drained

Sauerkraut Pierogi

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups sauerkraut, thoroughly drained
  • 2 tablespoons butter

For pork goulash:

  1. Heat canola oil in large braising pan over medium high heat. Add onions and caramelize until lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Season diced pork with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon paprika.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and seasoned pork to onions. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  4. Add bay leaves, caraway seeds, pepper flakes and remaining paprika. Sauté until meat begins to brown.
  5. Add tomato paste and stir until all ingredients are well coated. Dust mixture with flour and stir. Add chicken stock and stir. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  6. Add sauerkraut and continue to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally and adding water or chicken stock if mixture needs to be thinned. Goulash should be thick but more sauce-like in consistency. Remove bay leaves.
  7. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside until serving.

For sauerkraut pierogi:

  1. Combine flour and salt in large bowl of standing mixer. Blend on low speed using bread hook attachment.
  2. Add chicken stock, eggs and butter. Mix on medium speed until dough forms into ball. Add a bit of water or flour as needed. (Dough can also be made in large food processor.) Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for about 30 minutes.
  3. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. On lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into individual pierogi with floured 3-inch to 4-inch biscuit cutter or mold.
  4. Place 1 full tablespoon of drained sauerkraut in center of pierogi. Do not overfill. Moisten edge of half with water and fold over, pressing edges together to form seal. Repeat step with remaining dough and sauerkraut, keeping pierogi covered with damp towel while assembling others.
  5. In large pot, bring 2 quarts salted water to boil. Reduce to simmer.
  6. Working in batches, cook pierogi for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they surface. Remove from water with slotted spoon and place on tray or plate to dry.
  7. Melt butter in large sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat until butter just begins to brown. Reduce heat to medium and add pierogi to pan (number depends on size of pan/skillet). Cook until lightly browned. Remove from pan and keep warm until all are cooked, adding more butter if needed.

To serve:

  1. Reheat pork goulash to sauce consistency, adding liquid (water, chicken stock, or red wine) to thin if necessary.
  2. Place 3 to 4 cooked pierogi on serving plates and top with goulash. Serve immediately.
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New Disney Chocolate Shop Coming Soon to Disney Springs

posted on October 6th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Imagine the unmistakable aroma of rich chocolate, a scent that will draw guests into The Ganachery, a new chocolate shop set to open in The Landing in late 2015 at Disney Springs.

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Walt Disney World chefs traveled the world to research and create a custom blend chocolate with the finest beans for the all-new concept that will feature freshly made ganache (gəˈnaSH). Ganache is a luxurious mixture of chocolate and cream, and every chef has their own “perfect” formula for the indulgent sweet.

Hand-crafted onstage by a chocolatier, the shop will feature fresh batches daily, including dark (65 percent custom blend), hazelnut, chipotle and a custom blend flavored with the world’s finest spices and flavors.

Beautiful custom packaging will make elegant take-home gifts. And you can bet there will be chocolate bars inspired by Disney characters.

Stay tuned for more details!

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Reservations Open Today for Thanksgiving Day Dining at Disneyland Resort

posted on September 29th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


It’s countdown to turkey time, and the Disneyland Resort chefs are planning some extra-special dining for Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26. Here’s where you’ll find the big bird in the theme parks and hotels. For reservations, visit Disneyland.com/dine or call 714-781-DINE.

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The biggest celebration is from noon-5 p.m. at the Disneyland Hotel ballroom, where the annual fall harvest includes Thanksgiving favorites such as carved roasted breast of turkey and prime rib, served with homemade stuffing, sweet potato soufflé, fresh cranberry-orange relish and smashed potatoes and gravy. You’ll also find salads, artisan cheeses, smoked salmon and cured meats, poached shrimp and king crab legs. Desserts include pumpkin and pecan pies, tarts, cookies, chocolate mousse and a chocolate fountain. Fall harvest buffet is $76.99; also a special buffet just for ages 3 to 9, $27.99.

Here’s your guide to Thanksgiving Day dining throughout the Disneyland Resort:

Disneyland Park

  • Carnation Café: Slow-roasted turkey with turkey-bourbon gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, apple-cranberry stuffing, cranberry-orange relish, veggies and a dinner roll.
  • Plaza Inn: Slow-roasted turkey with traditional turkey gravy and sage dressing, mashed potatoes, veggies and a dinner roll.
  • River Belle Terrace “Fantasmic!” Dinner: Slow-roasted turkey breast with stuffing, roasted garlic-thyme mashed potatoes, home-style gravy, veggies, cornbread and cranberry relish.
  • French Market Restaurant: Slow-roasted turkey breast with andouille sausage stuffing, Market potatoes, home-style gravy, veggies, artisan bread and cranberry relish. Also pumpkin pie.
  • Blue Bayou Restaurant: Slow-roasted turkey roulade with focaccia stuffing, roasted garlic, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, Cognac turkey gravy and cranberry relish.
  • Harbour Galley: Turkey tortilla soup simmered with roasted corn and black beans.
  • Café Orleans: Slow-roasted turkey breast with cornbread and giblet stuffing, red skin mashed potatoes, veggies, home-style gravy and cranberry relish.

Disney California Adventure Park

  • Mortimer’s Market: Turkey-shaped sourdough bread.
  • Carthay Circle Restaurant: Receive a voucher for “World of Color” preferred viewing with your choice of Carthay Circle Salad with heirloom apples, roasted walnuts, winter greens, bacon, dates and creamy citrus vinaigrette or Cinderella Pumpkin Broth with lemongrass-cilantro grilled chicken, caramelized onion and Tuscan kale. Entrée added: grilled Sierra free-range turkey with a Poblano chile and mushroom tamale, and creamed corn with turkey jus. Dessert, also a la carte, is crunchy butterscotch pie with cashews, holiday Chantilly and caramel.
  • Wine Country Trattoria: Herb-roasted turkey breast with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, herb focaccia stuffing, seasonal vegetables and orange-cranberry sauce. Also pumpkin pie.
  • Boudin Bread Cart at Pacific Wharf: Turkey-shaped sourdough bread
  • Pacific Wharf Café: Turkey pot pie soup in a bread bowl; pumpkin spice bread pudding.
  • Flo’s V8 Café: Rotisserie-roasted turkey breast with mashed potatoes, stuffing, veggies and 0range-cranberry sauce.
  • Ariel’s Grotto: Slow-roasted turkey breast with turkey gravy, apple stuffing, orange-cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and veggies (includes voucher for “World of Color” preferred viewing).
  • Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta: Pumpkin pie.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

  • Storytellers Café: Dinner buffet with salads and fresh fruit, roasted corn chowder, hand-carved turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce, hand-carved beef, pan-seared salmon, pork loin, candied yams, sourdough bread stuffing, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, green beans. Also holiday desserts include pumpkin and pecan pies, bread pudding with vanilla sauce, chocolate pate, dulce de leche pot de crème.
  • Napa Rose: Chef Andrew Sutton’s Four-Course Wine Country Feast (wine flight also available); reservations and information, 714-300-7170.

Disneyland Hotel

  • Steakhouse 55: Starter course – butternut squash soup with crispy shredded skirt steak and maple clabbered cream; Entrée – roasted turkey Wellington, brioche stuffing, cranberry, Swiss chard, wild mushroom gravy; Dessert – trio of sweet potato mousse parfait, pecan cake pop and pumpkin whoopie pie. Wine pairings available. Also available in the Steakhouse 55 Lounge.
  • Goofy’s Kitchen: Turkey and herb stuffing will be added to the buffet brunch, along with turkey gravy, sweet potatoes and tortellini with pumpkin cream sauce.

Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

  • Disney’s PCH Grill: Dinner Buffet – Cold selections include salads, heirloom tomato-mozzarella topped with creamy pesto & aged balsamic reduction, roasted potato salad with creamy mustard dressing. Hot selections include fried chicken, roasted sustainable fish, sausage and herb stuffing, roasted garden vegetables, mini smashed potatoes with cheddar cheese, spice-rubbed pork shoulder. On the carving station, herb-marinated roast and oven-roasted turkey breast are served with beef au jus, creamy horseradish, cranberry relish and brown gravy. Traditional holiday desserts include pumpkin pie, chocolate pecan pie, apple pie, chestnut-apricot flight, vanilla caramel and cranberry jelly, molten chocolate hazelnut crumb cake.

Note: Disney characters will not be in attendance for Thanksgiving meals served at Storytellers Café and Disney’s PCH Grill.

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Morimoto Opens Tomorrow at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 28th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


It’s official – the name change from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, and the opening of Morimoto on Wednesday, the newest venture for Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, and his first restaurant featuring Pan-Asian cuisine.

With everything from pristine sushi to noodle bowls, this cuisine is the real deal. And the knockout dining room includes a private, glass-walled dining space, a lounge, outdoor terrace and a sushi bar sculpted from hand-selected ash wood and hammered copper.

Check out the video for a look at the gorgeous interior. For reservations, call 407-939-MOTO(6686) (reservations through 407-WDW-DINE begin Nov. 1). Open daily for dinner and weekend brunch.

By the time it’s complete in 2016, Disney Springs will double the number of shops and restaurants currently found at Downtown Disney and grow to more than 1 million square feet, including 350,000 square feet of new leasable space. Disney Springs will include four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods with a high-quality, diverse mix of retailers – including premium, affordable luxury and fast fashion options. Sophisticated restaurants will provide experiences for families and convention-guests alike.

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Napa Rose Executive Chef Andrew Sutton Wins ‘Chef of Year’ in Golden Foodie Awards

posted on September 28th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Disneyland Resort is celebrating a big win at last night’s Golden Foodie Awards: Executive Chef of Disneyland Signature Restaurants Andrew Sutton won Chef of the Year!

The red carpet culinary awards show presented by the Orange County, California, Restaurant Association celebrates and honors chefs, bartenders and dishes in chef-driven and independent restaurants in Orange County.

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Chef of the Year is one of three categories (out of 24) that are “Peer’s Choice”: Best New Restaurant, Chef of the Year and Pastry Chef of the Year.

“I am so honored to receive this award from my fellow culinarians,” said Sutton, “and give a big thank you to my supporting cast, and to Disney for their commitment to the highest culinary standards.”

Food Network personality Simon Majumdar hosted the event, and each winner was presented with the Golden Foodie Award statuette covered in 14-carat gold. For a list of all the winners, go to goldenfoodieawards.com.

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Today’s the Day! 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Opens

posted on September 25th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We’ve never missed a single festival since the first one in 1996 at Epcot, and the 20th celebration that starts today and runs through November 16 promises to be the best of the best.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

With hundreds of wine tastings, parties, culinary demos, where to begin? Hosts of ABC’s “The Chew” will be there (October 7-9) to tape five episodes of the show, and two cool new Chew-themed marketplaces stretch the festival into Future World for the first time, with 30 marketplaces for sips and tastes of food from around the globe, two wines celebrating 20 years created just for the festival, whew!

Other things you won’t want to miss:

  • Chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern kicks off the first Rockin’ Burger Block Party tonight at World Showplace (you might still snag a ticket); “The Chew” celebs will be there on Oct. 8, and Cake Boss Buddy Valastro will welcome guests on Nov. 6.
  • Party for The Senses – five in all this year, including a “Yelloween Masquerade Party” on Oct. 31, with up to 50 food and beverage stations and show-stopping entertainment.
  • Free Eat to the Beat concerts – David Cook this weekend, coming up Chaka Khan, Wilson Phillips, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Pointer Sisters and more!
  • Celeb chefs doing all sort of fun demos – Cat Cora, Robert Irvine, Jamie Deen and more – John Ash, who was at the very first festival in 1996, is back for the 20th. More than 250 chefs in all during the 53-day festival.
  • If you’ve got a Chase debit or credit card, check out the Chase Lounge at the American Adventure pavilion for free refreshments (and a spot to take a break from the Florida fall sunshine).
  • The Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog is back, a floating carpet of 900 pounds of red berries that’s fun for all ages.
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt is aimed at little ones, but fun for any age. Details at the Festival Center.

Pick up a free Marketplace Discovery Passport that features pages with all 30 festival marketplaces that you can have stamped as a cool souvenir (make notes of your favorite dishes on the pages, too).

Included with Epcot Admission: Back to Basics series, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and attractions and park entertainment.

Special Programming by Reservation: The Party for the Senses grand tasting events, and other special beverage and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) and get details at EpcotFoodFestival.com.

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New Backstage ‘Flavor Lab’ Opens in October at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 24th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Ever wonder how a new dish makes it on the menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Or how a cocktail comes to life? A new, behind-the-scenes “Flavor Lab” brings the Walt Disney World Resort chefs, front-of-house managers, sommeliers, mixologists and more together in a state-of-the-art research and development facility.

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The 7,000-square foot Flavor Lab serves as a hub of new product, packaging and equipment innovation for food and beverage programs across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

While it’s not open to the public, Disney guests will be the ultimate benefactor of all the testing, measuring and collaborations that will happen in the expansive new space. Before Flavor Lab, Disney operated a small test kitchen, but most of the culinary operations were spread across the Vacation
Kingdom.

“With increasing new projects, we needed space,” says Jean-Marie Clement, director, Food & Beverage Concept Development. “This new facility will provide a professional, creative and collaborative workspace for sharing and showcasing new ideas, concepts and best practices.”

Nearly three years in the making, about 18 culinary, front of house and project design team members will work there full time, but the building will be bustling. “When we open a new concept, we’ll be able to train cast members on new equipment,” says Jean-Marie. “We can test a new equipment and keep up with trends and technology.”

“From product testing and cast training to food photography and vendor presentations, “we’ll have the best-of-the-best Disney talent under one roof,” says Jean-Marie.

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Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Now Open at Disney Springs

posted on September 22nd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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It’s a real wow when you walk through the door at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, opening at 11:30 a.m. today and daily at Downtown Disney. Its eclectic décor includes everything from spare airplane parts to nostalgic postcards and antique maps tacked to the walls, all a nod to the “Indiana Jones” films in which Jock Lindsey was Indy’s pilot and sidekick. We guarantee you’ll discover something new every visit.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Opens Today at Downtown Disney Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Opens Today at Downtown Disney

Located on the waterfront between Paradiso 37 and the BOATHOUSE, the interior has a cozy feel and features light bites and drinks inspired by Jock’s globe-trotting. We got a chance to try some of the opening menu bites: crispy calamari flatbread with a kick from harissa and peppery arugula; Dr. Elsa’s She-Deviled Eggs; “Good” Dates stuffed with goat cheese, and Snack of Ra for a taste of Africa with salads and dips served with injera (bread) and naan crisps. And mixologists are having fun with the cocktails, from the Cool-Headed Monkey to The Scottish Professor. (We’ll let you guess the ingredients.)

The real architectural showstopper is the outside lounge that was Jock’s old canvas-covered steamboat named Reggie (now in dry dock). Stretching out into the water, it’s a spectacular spot for lunch or for sunset-watching.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is part of the largest expansion in Downtown Disney history, which will transform the area into Disney Springs, a lively shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Guests at Disney Springs will have a unique Disney experience amid beautiful open-air promenades, flowing springs and waterfront charm.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. No reservations.

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