If you’re anything like me, you might wonder how the magic is made behind the scenes at some of your favorite Disney restaurants. From our theme parks to our resort hotels, culinary cast members are constantly setting the bar for what it means to create immersive and imaginative dining experiences for our guests.
Each leading their own signature restaurant overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon, Chef Noah Estabrook and Chef de Cuisine Matthew Birch — along with their talented teams of culinary artists — are finding ways to honor classic dishes that guests love on their menus while bringing fresh, new food and beverage offerings to life. In doing so, they invite guests to delight in a world of elegant cuisine that beautifully weaves into Disney’s treasured storytelling, all while inspiring future generations of foodies and chefs. Keep reading to learn more about how they’re making their mark at Walt Disney World!
Celebrating Coastal Cuisine at Narcoossee’s – Reopening April 1!
When Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa officially reopens on April 1, guests will be welcomed into a soothing space designed to celebrate coastal cuisine. From the soft blue and green details to the hand-painted artwork that takes guests on a journey from land to sea as they move throughout the restaurant, it’s the perfect backdrop for a memorable dinner.
This guest-favorite fine dining location is equally as famous for its waterfront views of Magic Kingdom Park as it is for its sophisticated seafood dishes. Chef Noah Estabrook and his team of culinary experts are excited to debut their new menu, which takes inspiration from flavors that are local to Florida and the southeastern coast and translates them into impressive new dishes, as well as some that may be familiar to returning guests.
Chef Noah began his Disney journey fresh out of culinary school when he joined the team at Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Over the years, he’s worked his way up through every culinary role at our Disney Resort hotels, from his first role as Cook 1 to his current role as Chef at Narcoossee’s.
“Narcoossee’s has always been my dream restaurant to lead,” shared Chef Noah.
Now, he’s finding ways to infuse creativity and comfort into the signature restaurant’s new menu, ensuring the food is as approachable as it is artful. With fish and seafood as the focal point of the menu, Chef Noah and his team source a variety of sustainable items and the freshest ingredients for each of their perfectly plated dishes.
One of the stand-out items guests can look forward to trying is the new Ocean-Inspired Charcuterie Board, a fresh take on a classic featuring ahi tuna pastrami, charred octopus and house-made sausage from the sea — each representing the style of a different Disney chef.
“We took inspiration from a traditional charcuterie board and translated it to coastal seafood,” said Chef Noah. “We made a sausage from the sea as a nod to Chef Scott, because he taught us how to make it at Victoria & Albert’s. We cure the ahi tuna, smoke it and spice it just like pastrami. And then the charred octopus on there is an interesting addition to the whole plate.”
If you’re looking for something more familiar, try the shrimp and grits, which are a nod to Chef Noah’s early cooking days working in his first kitchens in Charleston, South Carolina, where he found his passion for cooking.
Ahead of the restaurant’s grand reopening, Grand Floridian cast members were among the first to preview the newly designed dining room and learn about the coastal cuisine, craft cocktails and curated wines that guests can look forward to enjoying soon. The reopening of Narcoossee’s comes as part of the multi-year transformation of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, honoring its rich history at Walt Disney World while enhancing its iconic Victorian charm and elegance.
Creating Contemporary Dishes at California Grill
Across Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Chef de Cuisine Matthew Birch and his culinary team at California Grill are preparing to debut a new 3-course selection menu featuring contemporary, market-inspired cuisine beginning April 1.
Chef Matthew started his Disney career as a culinary program participant, later working his way up through various roles across Walt Disney World before stepping into his current role as Chef de Cuisine at California Grill.
“When I got here, I fell in love with it,” said Chef Matthew. “It’s so unique. The California Grill dining experience is probably one of the most iconic things you could do when you’re a guest coming to visit Walt Disney World.”
With its own panoramic views of Magic Kingdom Park and its fresh takes on Californian cooking, California Grill is beloved by guests both new and returning, and it’s easy to see why with such a passionate and skilled team working behind the scenes.
“Our cast members are the experts,” said Chef Matthew. “We give them a lot of creative freedom and then they bring us these items that are absolutely amazing. It’s great to see them develop and have something personal they can look to and say ‘this is something I created and guests are loving it.’”
To book reservations at either of these iconic signature fine dining venues, go to My Disney Experience and click on ‘Make Dining Reservations.’ Please note, because we are still putting finishing touches on Narcoossee’s, there may be select days in May and June where reservations are unavailable for this venue.
We look forward to welcoming you to these exceptional fine dining experiences soon. Bon Appétit!
Do you have a passion for the culinary arts and want to explore opportunities to join our team here at Disney? Visit DisneyCulinary.com to learn more and apply today!