After walking out of the Disney “Give A Day, Get A Disney Day” announcement event on Thursday, I saw none other than Chef Robert Irvine running through World Showcase with a team of volunteers behind him! I quickly realized that he was taping Dinner:Impossible! for the Food Network…and that I was going to be attending that dinner!
Scroll to the bottom of the page to read more about the “Give A Day” program and how you can be a part of it; in the meantime, let’s get on to the food…
Chef Irvine and his volunteers were preceded around the the World Showcase by an advance team who were tasked with finding the next individual the Chef would be speaking with, and setting up the shot. For instance, in Epcot’s Germany pavilion, the advance team set up a shot where Chef Irvine learned from Snow White what one of his main ingredients would be!
From there, the Chef and his volunteers took off running again — after all, he only had a few hours to cook dinner for hundreds.
For the hours of cooking Chef Irvine and his trusted sous chefs were about to endure, Disney had set up a show kitchen in front of World Showcase. Guests to the Epcot theme park were welcomed to watch as the show taping started heating up! I hung around for a good chunk of the day, snapping photos and trying to figure out what my meal was going to include. All I could figure out was that we were going to be eating a lot of apples…
One interesting thing I noticed is that the proceedings in the kitchen were pretty quiet. Lots of chopping, and seasoning, and sauteing in a giant wok being heated over a…garbage can, but no yelling. No angry Chef Irvine shouting in frustration that there are only 3 dishes done with only 20 minutes left. Maybe there was another kitchen somewhere where those things were happening. It’s not a Dinner:Impossible! show without them! My fingers are crossed that somebody got angry somewhere, or it might not be worth watching.
After much running around by Chef Irvine and his sous chefs, it was finally time for those at the event to start digging in! Now, here’s the saddest part of my story — I’m pretty sure I didn’t get to eat Chef Irvine’s cooking. Word is that his handiwork was served only to the Give a Day Get a Day volunteers, who’d won trips to Disney World to celebrate their donations.
Alas, I’m still going to tell you all about the dinner WE, as members of the media, were served, because it was still delicious — thanks, Disney!
The event was held outside — on the bridge between the Fountain of Nations in Future World and the World Showcase Lagoon, and there were several stations set up where guests could collect appetizer-sized portions of the dishes.
Servers were also circulating with many of the dishes — primarily desserts — in case you couldn’t break away from a conversation to get over to the main serving areas. There were quite a few tables set up within the event space, along with cocktail tables bearing the Celebrate Volunteers! logo and canned goods theme. And, finally, at long last, here’s the event and the menu!
Overall, the event was incredible and the food was delicious. My favorites were the braised short ribs, the chicken fried rice, and the brownie torte, though I could easily have eaten a few more of those cheesecake push ups! And the event was capped off with a very cool performance by Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas — they sang their new duet, “Make a Wave!”
I’ve heard that the Dinner:Impossible! show will air sometime in April (NOTE: The Show is airing on June 2nd on the Food Network!).
More About Disney’s “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” Program
This was part of a week-long series of events promoting what I believe to be one of the most game-changing Corporate/Non-Profit partnerships in the history of philanthropy. Disney’s “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” volunteer program aims to encourage 1 million people to volunteer one day of service at a local nonprofit in exchange for one free day in a Disney park. To date, Disney’s already hit the 600,000 person mark…and that’s in just six weeks. I’m guessing they’ll hit their 1 million person goal in no time flat.
You can learn more about how YOU can trade a day of volunteering in your community for a free Disney parks ticket — including screen shots of how to sign up — right here in our “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” primer!
Please Note: Author received complementary transportation, accommodations, and event entry for this event.