2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Kick Off

We had a big week at work with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Presented by CHASE® kicking off. Take the chance to taste your way around the world and discover global cuisines and a world tour of cultures and experiences.

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This is the best time of year in the park, there are so many food related events and a focus on food that reaches around the globe, how can a chef not love it! The festival runs thru November 11th this year, plenty of time to get your passport stamped!

There are many events during the festival that our team is responsible for and I just love being able to be part of them.  The energy in the kitchen in the coming weeks will be dynamic, along with all of our cast, we add in many eager students and talented guests chefs from across the world.

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The festival started for our team predawn on Friday with a plated breakfast in the Festival Cranberry Bog, where a few local news programs featured Discover the Cranberry, hosted by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries.  We had the pleasure of recreating these Ocean Spray recipes for our guests. I can’t to make the pizza for my niece and nephew.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Craisins® Roll Ups

Craisins® Breakfast Bars

Ocean Spray® Craisins®-Orange Muffins, Disney’s BoardWalk Bakery

Craisins® Crunch Breakfast Bowl

Mickey Fruit Pizza

Turkey Sausage and Craisins® Strata

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On opening day we also had The Chocolate Dinner –Prepared by Dale Reynolds, Chef Epcot, World Showplace East Hall.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed being around while Chef came up with this Ghirardelli® chocolates menu.  These guests truly got lucky.  I literally was licking my fingers when Chef Dale brought me samples to try.  Tip of the day- never pass up White Chocolate Beurre Blanc!  Below is the team that worked on it, Chef Carla Hall wanted to get a picture with this team!

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Ghiradelli Chocolate Dinner

Reception Items Prepared by Chef Lisa Rios

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 Chef Dale Reynolds Presents:

Soup Course

Oxtail Consommé with Dark Chocolate Chile Ravioli

Chateau St. Michelle Reisling, Columbia Valley

Prepared by Chef Rebeca Modia

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 Second Course

Chicken and Waffle

Braised Chicken on a Chocolate Dipped Waffle Chip

Franciscan Estate Napa Valley Chardonnay

Prepared by Chef Alejandro Ocanto

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 Sorbet Course

Chocolate Sorbet

Prepared by Chef Dennis Byras

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Main Course

Maine Lobster with White Chocolate Beurre Blanc

Chocolate Rosemary Braised Short Ribs

Cocoa Bean Smoked Shallot Mashed Potatoes

Baby Vegetables

La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

And La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Prepared by Chefs Omar Harris and Micah Ginder

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Cheese Course

Baked Brie with Dark Chocolate Caramelized Onions

Rosa Regale

Prepared by Chef Jason Jakubowski

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Dessert Course

Milk Chocolate Risotto

With Drunken Cherries and Pistachio Brittle

JDK & Sons™ Crave Chocolate Cherry Liquor

Prepared by Chef Melissa Webster

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We also had an Ocean Spray reception back at the Festival Cranberry Bog and the Butterfly Garden area opening night. The Ocean Spray reception menu was an international experience, all with cranberries incorporated into the traditional dishes.  It was a fun menu to create taking classic flavors and putting a cranberry twist on them.  We truly learned about the versatility of cranberries!

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Japan

Craisin® Infused Five Spice Char Kobe Beef with Sriracha
 Craisin® Vegetable Fried Rice

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United States

Seared Free Range Chicken with Craisin® Moonshine Pearls
 Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Craisin® Ketchup

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Canada

Cranberry and Sea Salt Cured Wild Salmon with Maple Sugar Crystals
 Craisin® Glazed Pork Belly with White Cheddar Maple Grits

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United Kingdom

English Mustard Dusted Scotch Egg with Cranberry Marmalade
 Beef and Craisin® Sheppard’s Pie

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France

Artisan Cheese Stuffed Craisin Brioche
 Craisin®, Bacon and Brie Potato Gratin

Mexico

Mole Shrimp Quesadilla with Cranberry Salsa
 Pulled Chicken Craisin® Tamales

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Chef Damon was lucky enough to take a dip in the Festival Cranberry Bog and chat with the guests about the vast uses of cranberries! Ahhh- the #CranberryLife

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What a exciting and fun start to the best time of year at Epcot! I can’t wait to get out and experience it as a guest! But the behind the scenes experience are ones that I will cherish for a lifetime. Super lucky to be on this great team doing amazing things!! If you have the chance be sure to get to the festival and bring your appetite!  Follow along with all the chatter at #EpcotFoodFestival!

Thank God we had our jogging stroller with us. All that walking at the theme park would have been way too much on the children. Our double stroller really paid off in the end. I’m really glad we checked out: Top 5 Best Double Jogging Strollers | 2017 Reviews | ParentsNeed.

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2012 Epcot Party For The Senses and A Little Magic of Healthy Living Wrap Up

This year’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has been quite the ride.  Full of great food, long days, many laughs and a ton of “growth”.  We had amazing Visiting Chefs join the #DisneyChefs family, and even more Home Team Chefs participate.  Every Saturday was a culinary adventure during the Party For The Senses, always giving a great learning.

The Chefs were all great, they grabbed on to the Disney Magic and gave it back tenfold.

So many exceptional, creative dishes were enjoyed by 1000’s!

Of course the drinks were equally enjoyable, some weeks they were just what the doctor ordered!

Our on Park Event Operations Chefs hit home runs more than a couple of times!  Chef Joe Bonanno was a crowd favorite!

We had quite a few other events then Party For The Senses- The Magic of Healthy Living being one of them-

Celebrity Chefs Brian Frick, Andrew Zimmerman and the Voltaggio Brothers joined us for a night.

Thanks Michael for pausing for me to take a picture-

I love the family affair!!

Jonathon Sawyer, of the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland Ohio, definitely won for most nicest/bad@## Chef in my opinion- Food was amazeballs and he and his team were super fun and really enjoyed what they were doing.

Chef Judi and her PEO team were awesome- They had a truckload of fun and delivered a great scallop dish.

Chef Christine and 1200 Potato Rings.  Great to see some things never change, never settle.

This Sauerkraut Bread Pudding was my favorite- had nothing to do with all the Contemporary hats.

A few of my new Chef friends!

We had to celebrate Halloween with a few cute cupcakes.  And I did manage to get one picture in front of the camera.

The Cirque entertainment was captivating and the room set was top notch sexy.

We did manage to have some fun-

The famed Chef Joe Rod (Rodriguez) came back to PEO from Norway (the real country, not Epcot Norway), and was the highlight of the week.

Last but not least- Louie- the man that makes things happen- one way or another!

Just a short visual summary of the last few weeks- Truly hard to sum up the experience, but it certainly is one I wouldn’t trade.  Just happy to be part of an amazing team!!

View from Behind the DisneyBog!

The Happiest Place on Earth kicked off the 17th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Presented by Chase on Friday!  This is a festival that is eagerly anticipated by food and wine lovers all year.  It is a not to be missed event for anyone that loves culinary experiences, wine tasting or any Disney fan.  The festival runs thru November 12th this year, a bonus of one more day than last year! 

The opening day and weekend is filled with special events and activities for guests to enjoy- one in particular which I was looking forward to for weeks was a reception in the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog.

I have loved work the last 10 months since I joined the Disney Parks Event Catering team- we have had so many magical events that thrill and delight our guests, but some experiences are still extraordinary to even the most senior veterans of Park Events.  I have to admit, my jaw dropped when I realized that the Ocean Spray reception was actually going to be in the Ocean Spray #DisneyBog.  That is just plain Crazy Town to me…

We had first class servers offering the guests small bites and cocktails.  They were so great to suit up in the waders and their gracious service really added to the magic of the experience! 

The menu was to incorporate Ocean Spray Craisins® and Cranberries, and it was simple for the Chef to get creative with the red beauties.   From breads to meats, butters and desserts they offer a such a versatility, so fun to play with in the kitchen!  One of my favorite recipes for cranberries is Cranberry Salsa.

The team put together great recipes for the items which the guests received to at the end of the evening.  Hopefully they will take them home and delight their own guests!

Craisins® Infused Five Spice Char Kobe Beef

Rock Seared Free Range Chicken with Craisins® Vodka Caviar

Artisan Cheese Stuffed Craisins® Brioche

Cranberry and Sea Salt Cured Wild Salmon

Cranberry Marinated Gold Beets with Kumquat Jalapeño Marmalade

The Cranberry Beets were our favorite, they looked like petite sliced peaches.  We cut the beet in a cylinder shape and then submerged it in crushed fresh cranberries to let the flavor and color absorb.  This is a method I will surely use again, they are so pretty! 

The waders were lined up for the guests to pull on before they jumped in the bog. 

This is definitely a high fashion jumpsuit, would have loved to gotten in one of these numbers!! 

Meanwhile the focus went to the Cranberry Inspired Cocktails that were being served!

Cranberry Bomber, Cranberry Martinis, O Fizz, Cape Codder were mixed by our bartenders and enjoyed by all.

The storms were off in the distance, flirting to give us a downpour, but with a stroke of luck, the weather held up.  The sunset came and went and the guests ate, drank, and learned about cranberries and the versatility of the treasure, all right in the comfort of the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog. 

This reception was one that I will add to my Disney Catering tales.  The experience for the guests was once in a lifetime for many, and it certainly was phenomenal for the team that put it together!