We got a sneak peek of Raglan Road’s 10th birthday celebration, thanks to a clever contest that the Downtown Disney restaurant sponsored asking amateur cooks to come up with their perfect three-course Irish meal, via a two-minute video, to celebrate 10 years.
Chef Kevin Dundon (of American Public Television’s “Kevin Dundon’s Back to Basics” series) selected the top five and invited them to travel, all expenses paid, to his own Dunbrody Country House Hotel and Cookery School in beautiful Wexford County, Ireland. (We got to join the winners for this spectacular trip of a lifetime.) Take a look at these photos by Raglan Road photographer Ivan Cummins that give a taste of the incredible experience.
From a pint of Guinness in Dublin to gorgeous Dunbrody House on Ireland’s dramatic Hook Peninsula, the winners got an inside look at Raglan Road’s roots, from the farms where Dundon sources his food for his restaurant at Dunbrody House (and perhaps Downtown Disney in the near future) to the rollicking deck of a fishing boat on the Atlantic Ocean. Everyone got a chance to improve culinary skills under Dundon’s oft-humorous tutelage in the estate’s Cookery School.
All five winners – Janice Epaillard of Mount Dora, Fla.; Aaron Van Swearingen of Winter Park, Fla.; Colleen Kerney of Orlando; Heather McBroom Walker of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Linda Rohr of Darien, Conn. – will be back in the kitchen at Raglan Road in October to work with the culinary team to create a dish for a special 10th birthday dinner.
Seeing the real deal on the Emerald Isle makes Raglan Road all the more special, with its dining rooms of aged walnut and mahogany wood furnishings from old Irish bars and churches that were shipped to Orlando to build the restaurant almost a decade ago. And Dundon’s Irish cuisine translates beautifully in his Walt Disney World Resort restaurant, where he spends several weeks each year working with the chefs to perfect classic dishes such as Irish Mist-glazed loin of bacon, fish and chips, Guinness and bangers and Granny Dundon’s Famous Steamed Orange Pudding.
After the whirlwind visit, we appreciate even more the live Irish bands and The Raglan Road Dancers every night of the week (and during weekend brunch) that bring the spirit of the Emerald Isle across the ocean.
Stay tuned for more details for the 10th birthday celebration!