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Behind the Scenes: Food Network Hosts Cruising on the Disney Dream

posted on March 27th, 2015 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


Back in January, I had the unique experience of cooking with the hosts of Food Network’s “The Kitchen.” If you saw the episode, you may remember their excitement when I invited them to sail with me on a Disney cruise. Not only did Jeff Mauro and Katie Lee take me up on that offer, they brought two other Food Network stars – Amanda Freitag (“Chopped”) and Melissa d’Arabian (“Guy’s Grocery Games”) – along with their families and friends for three nights of fun, sun, and delicious food.

Host Jeff Mauro and His Family on the Disney Dream Host Melissa d'Arabian and Her Family on the Disney Dream

Tonight, Food Network is showing a one-hour special featuring this crew’s Disney Dream cruise. Onboard we took them behind the scenes to see the inner workings of the ship’s galleys, slightly larger than the kitchens where they are used to cooking! Now, you can get a glimpse at their backstage experience and learn more about the culinary masterpieces our talented chefs prepare every day.

Here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect:

Check it out tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Be on the lookout for some familiar faces, including Cruise Director Christiaan, Remy Executive Chef Patrick and a few Disney pals!

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Disney Cruise Line Recipe: Palo Eggs Benedict

posted on January 13th, 2015 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


If you watched “The Kitchen” on the Food Network this weekend, chances are your mouth is still watering from the eggs benedict I made with the show’s hosts. (A really fun group, by the way!)

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Today, I want to share with you the recipe for this special dish served during brunch in one of our adult-only fine dining restaurants, Palo. I’ve included the recipe using either smoked salmon or ham. Now that I showed you how to create it, it’s your turn to make it at home. Try it this week and let me know how it goes!

Palo Eggs Benedict

Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh tarragon
  • 3 large free-range egg yolks
  • 1 cup melted and skimmed (clarified) unsalted butter, warm
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Poached Eggs:

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • 10 eggs

Toasted English Muffins with Smoked Salmon:

  • 5 English muffins, split
  • 5 ounces salted butter, softened
  • 15 ounces sliced Scottish smoked salmon
  • 2 ounces American caviar

Toasted English Muffins with Ham:

  • 5 English muffins, split
  • 5 ounces salted butter, softened
  • 15 oz thinly sliced, cooked rosemary ham
  • ½ bunch chives, finely sliced

  1. For the hollandaise sauce: Place the white wine vinegar, peppercorns, sliced shallots and tarragon into a pan, bring to the boil and reduce by half. Strain and reserve.
  2. Place a large pot filled partway with water to the boil, then lower and keep at a simmer. Place the egg yolks in a bowl that will fit over the pot of simmering water but not touch the water. Add 1 tablespoon of the reduced vinegar to the eggs and place the bowl on top of the pot, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Beat the eggs with a balloon whisk, occasionally removing the bowl from the heat so the mixture does not become scrambled, until the eggs thicken and double in size.
  3. Remove the bowl from the pot, then whisk a small ladle of the warm clarified butter into the eggs. Continue to gradually add the butter while whisking. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a small amount of warm water. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  4. For the poached eggs: Mix the white wine vinegar, some salt and 5 cups water in a pan, bring to the boil and then bring down to a simmer. To poach the eggs, crack each egg into an individual small bowl. Use a whisk to gently stir the simmering poaching liquid in a counter-clockwise direction, and pour each egg into the water in the same direction the water is moving. Gently simmer for 1 minute. Remove with a strainer, drain and place onto a garnished English muffin half. (If you are keeping the eggs for later, remove them from the water with a strainer and place immediately in salted ice water. Reheat them in the same cooking water.)
  5. For the toasted English muffins: Meanwhile, place the English muffin halves into a toaster and toast until golden brown. While the muffins are still warm, spread the softened butter onto the open toasted side of each. Layer 1 1/2 ounces of the sliced salmon or ham on each buttered muffin half.
  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the hollandaise sauce over each poached egg. Garnish with 1/2 teaspoon of the caviar (for salmon) or chives (for ham).
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Behind-the-Scenes: Disney Cruise Line on ‘The Kitchen’

posted on January 9th, 2015 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


Recently, I had the opportunity to join the hosts of “The Kitchen,” an entertaining cooking show on the Food Network, to make one of our guest-favorite dishes served aboard all four Disney Cruise Line ships.

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I had great fun cooking with Sunny, Geoffrey, Jeff, Katie and Marcela, and I hope you’ll join me in watching the episode this weekend. It airs tomorrow on the Food Network at 11 a.m. EST and again on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST.

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Any guesses on what we made? Here’s a hint: it’s a dish you’ll definitely want to taste during brunch at Palo! Watch “The Kitchen” this weekend to learn how to make it, and then check back here next week for the recipe.

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Disney Fantasy Pastry and Bakery Team Wins First Annual Fleetwide Gingerbread House Competition

posted on December 23rd, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


One of the first things you see (and smell) when you walk onboard a Disney ship is a fantastically decorated, oversized gingerbread house. Countless hours (well, 320 hours to be exact) went into developing and creating the gingerbread house on each ship.

Gingerbread Winners

This year, we kicked off what will now be an annual competition to honor the best gingerbread house on all four ships. Congratulations to the Disney Fantasy pastry and bakery team who won the 2014 trophy for their intricate icing work and theming. The house looked like it came right out of a frozen fairytale forest!

Our gingerbread houses are baked, built and decorated onboard each year. In addition to the candies, cookies and other fun decorations, each team uses approximately 650 pounds of gingerbread dough, 220 pounds of icing sugar and 5,250 gingerbread bricks. No wonder they smell so good! When you see members of our pastry and bakery team onboard, be sure to congratulate them on a job well done!

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Tips for the Best Possible Dining Experience on a Disney Cruise

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


One meal on our ships and you’ll find why everyone raves about the food on a Disney cruise. But it’s more than just the high quality of our dishes that cruisers are talking about. It’s also our level of service and the variety of options we offer that set our dining apart.

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Eating on a Disney cruise is amazing no matter what, but there are some tips you should follow to have the best dining experience possible …

Don’t be shy with your servers. Your serving team travels with you to a different restaurant each night, and to serve you best, they need to know you well. Share with them your likes and dislikes so they can make recommendations suited to your personal tastes.

Order outside the box. Our chefs travel the world to develop new menu items so you can taste cuisines you may have never tried before. Unlike your servers, the menus change nightly, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to “test the waters,” so to speak, and tastes dishes you don’t typically eat at home.

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Spoil yourself with an adult-only fine dining night at Palo or Remy. Trust me, your taste buds will never be the same after you dine at either of these upscale restaurants. The modern Italian cuisine at Palo and the French-inspired cuisine at Remy are truly unforgettable.

Take advantage of “Dine and Play.” It’s a parent’s dream come true. Offered during the second seating, your kids’ meals will be served first and then our youth counselors will come pick them up so you can enjoy a peaceful and leisurely meal with just the grownups.

Satisfy your cravings at any time of the day with room service. Available 24/7, there’s no up-charge to have food delivered to your stateroom. One of my favorite midnight snacks is a Mickey ice cream bar with a cold glass of milk.

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Indulge in a one-of-a-kind themed buffet. Join the party at our special buffets, like the late-night one after the Pirates IN the Caribbean party where you can re-energize after a swashbuckling night of dancing and partying. In Alaska, don’t miss the midday barbecue feast of wild Alaskan salmon and other special seafood dishes out on the open-air deck while the ship sails through the breathtaking Tracy Arm Fjord.

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Disney Cruise Line Summer Recipe: Tomato Salad

posted on August 19th, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


Today I’m sharing the last recipe in our summer series. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to make some of your favorite Disney Cruise Line dishes.

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Like many of the recipes I’ve shared this summer, our tomato salad is easy to make, yet it has so much flavor. Simply slice the ingredients, mix the dressing and chill the tomatoes before serving. It’s a unique salad – perfect for the summer – that is sure to impress your dinner guests!

Check out the full recipe below and download our keepsake recipe card here. Enjoy!

Tomato Salad
Serves: 4
Skill Level: Easy
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 beefsteak tomatoes (¹/³ slices)
  • 4 shallots (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. curly parsley (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp picked flat parsley

For the Tomato Salad

  1. Place the dijon mustard, garlic and sherry vinegar into the bottom of a mixing bowl. Gradually pour and whisk in the olive oil. Add the parsley, shallots and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Lay the sliced tomatoes on a serving platter and chill.
  3. Just before serving, pour the sherry vinegar dressing over the tomatoes.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of flat parsley.



For more summer recipes from Disney Cruise Line, visit the posts below:

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Disney Cruise Line Summer Recipe: Yellowfin Tuna

posted on August 12th, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


Serving fish can be intimidating since it is so easy to overcook. That’s one of the reasons I love our recipe for yellowfin tuna, since all it takes is a quick sear on both sides. Complemented with a delicious ponzu glaze, bok choy, soybeans and rice noodles, this Asian-inspired meal is yet another way we bring flavors from around the world onboard the Disney Cruise Line ships!

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Check out the full recipe below and download our keepsake recipe card here. Enjoy!

Yellowfin Tuna
Serves: 4
Skill Level: Moderate
Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 4 yellowfin tuna steaks (¾ cup ea.)

Vegetables

  • 1 bok choy
  • ½ cup soybeans
  • sesame oil
  • salt and pepper

Ponzu Glaze

  • 1 cup ponzu sauce
  • 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

Rice Noodles

  • 1 lb. rice noodles
  • ¹/³ cup olive oil
  • 3 quarts water
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Garnish

  • 1 tsp. black sesame seeds (toasted)

Tuna Steak

  1. Sear the tuna steak in a heated skillet with olive oil on both sides
    (approx 1 minute each side).

Bok Choy and Soybeans

  1. Heat with olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté bok choy and soybeans for 2–3 minutes.
  2. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Ponzu Glaze

  1. Add the ingredients to a hot saucepan and reduce until thick.
    If necessary, use a little cornstarch to thicken. Set aside.

Rice Noodles

  1. In a medium stock pot, bring water, olive oil and salt to a boil. Drop noodles in and watch closely (they cook very quickly).
  2. Splash with seasoned iced water to cool. Set aside.
  3. When ready to serve, reheat in a pan and season with salt, pepper and black sesame seeds.

Assembly

  1. Lay the tossed vegetables on the center of the plate.
  2. Roll the rice noodles on a fork and place on top of the vegetables lengthwise.
  3. Gently lay the tuna steak against the noodles.
  4. Spoon the ponzu glaze onto the bottom of the plate.
  5. Garnish with a light sprinkle of sesame seeds.

For more summer recipes from Disney Cruise Line, visit the posts below:

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Disney Cruise Line Summer Recipe: Smoked Salmon Carpaccio

posted on August 5th, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


How often do you enjoy a multi-course meal for dinner? On a Disney cruise, you have the chance to every night! Appetizers are just as important to us as our entrees (and desserts!), so today I want to share with you one of my top choices for the first course – smoked salmon carpaccio. Topped with capers, shallots, pink peppercorns and dill honey mustard, believe me, it’s as tasty as it looks!

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Check out the full recipe below and download our keepsake recipe card here. Enjoy!

Smoked Salmon Carpaccio
Serves 4
Skill Level: Easy
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. smoked salmon
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 1 tbsp. pink peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. shallots (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup clear honey
  • 1 tbsp. picked dill for honey mustard
  • 1 tsp. picked dill for garnish

Dill Honey Mustard

  1. Finely slice the fresh dill and mix with the honey and mustard. Chill until time to serve.

Assembly

  1. Lay the smoked salmon on the plate, slightly overlapped, to create one uniform layer, leaving ½ inch of space between the fish and plate rim.
  2. Neatly arrange the finely chopped shallots, capers and pink peppercorns on top of the smoked salmon in an even pattern.
  3. Using the tip of a teaspoon, place 8 dots of the dill honey mustard on top of the smoked salmon in an asymmetrical pattern and garnish with the picked dill as per picture.


For more summer recipes from Disney Cruise Line, click the links below:

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Disney Cruise Line Summer Recipe: Orange Cilantro Marinated Flank Steak

posted on July 30th, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


Disney cruisers have been savoring the flavors of South America while sailing throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. One of my favorite Latin America-inspired dishes is our zesty Orange Cilantro Marinated Flank Steak.

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If you’re looking to grill up something different for your next summer barbecue, this recipe is absolutely one to try. The flavors of our citrus marinade, complemented by our spicy chimichurri sauce, will no doubt leave your mouth watering to be back on a Disney cruise!

Check out the full recipe below and download our keepsake recipe card here. Enjoy!

Orange Cilantro Marinated Flank Steak
Serves: 8
Skill Level: Moderate
Time: 24 hours

Ingredients

  • Whole 6lb flank steak

Marinade

  • 1 bunch cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 5 oranges (juiced and zested)

  • 4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 
2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin

  • 2 tsp. dried oregano

  • 2 tsp. dried thyme

  • 2 tsp. ground pepper

  • 1 onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1⁄2 cup distilled white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Chimichurri

  • 2 tbsp. bunch parsley (finely chopped)

  • 2 tbsp. picked oregano (finely chopped)

  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 white onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1/3 cup mil red wine

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 1 tbsp. salt

For the Marinade

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender except the vegetable oil.
  2. Once blended, place in a mixing bowl and whisk in the vegetable oil.
  3. Cover the flank steak completely with the marinade.
  4. Marinate for 24 hours.

For the Flank Steak

  1. Remove the flank steak from the marinade.
  2. Sear both sides on a griddle or pan, place on a baking tray and place into a preheated oven* at 320 degrees for 10 minutes or until medium rare.
  3. Remove and rest before carving.

*Can also be done in a covered barbecue grill.

For the Chimichurri

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve as a side with flank steak.

For more summer recipes from Disney Cruise Line, click the links below:

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Disney Cruise Line Summer Recipe: Tomato Cake

posted on July 23rd, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


The recipe I’m sharing today is for our Tomato Cake, the perfect appetizer for a light, summer meal. Chances are you already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen, so why not try it tonight? Eating like you’re on a Disney cruise is definitely the best remedy for those days when you’re wishing you could be at sea with us.

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Check out the full recipe below and download our keepsake recipe card here. Enjoy!

Tomato Cake
Serves: 4
Skill Level: Moderate
Time: 6 hours

Ingredients
Tomato Cake

  • 12 plum tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • ½ lemon, juice

Goat Cheese

  • ½ cup goat cheese
  • ¹/³ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ lemon, juiced

Garnish

  • 3 shallots, sliced into rings and halved
  • 1 tbsp. picked curly parsley
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper

For the Tomato Cake

  1. Make an incision in the top and base of each tomato. Blanch in boiling salted water for 2 minutes until the skin starts to loosen. Then submerge in salted ice water. Then peel the skin off each tomato, cut into quarters and remove the seeds.
  2. Season the tomato quarters with salt and pepper.
  3. Layer ¼ of the tomatoes in a 2-inch ring, adding a half teaspoon of tomato ketchup mixed with the ground cardamom between each layer. Work your way to the top of the ring and layer 2 cm over the top; cover with plastic wrap and place onto a plate.
  4. Add another plate on top, placing a couple cans over the top plate to add weight to the “press.”
  5. Refrigerate at least 5 hours.

For the Dressing

  1. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together.

For the Goat Cheese

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.

Assembly

  1. Remove any of the tomato that has been pressed out over the side of the ring with a knife. Press the tomato cake into the center of the plate, layer the shallots around, spoon the dressing onto the shallots and garnish with the picked parsley. Top the cake with a quenelle of goat cheese and sprinkle with ground black pepper.

For more summer recipes from Disney Cruise Line, click the links below:

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