Guest Review: Chef Robert Irvine Culinary Demo at Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Join us in welcoming 14-year-old guest author Katie Smith with a review of the culinary demonstration given by super popular Chef Robert Irvine at the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! I love hearing about the Food and Wine Festival from the perspective of one of our  younger readers! Thanks,  Katie!

On Thursday October 25, 2012, my family and I got to see Robert Irvine’s culinary demonstration at the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.


We had been to Cat Cora’s culinary demonstration earlier that month and thought we knew what to expect. Turns out, we had no idea. I am a huge fan of Robert Irvine, so I was really excited to watch him cook and eat his food!

To start out, there was a representative from Hannah Winery & Vineyards from Sonoma County, California. The wine was a Hanna Chardonnay.

All about Hannah Winery & Vineyards

Then Robert was introduced and proceeded to tell everyone to stand up, put their cameras down, their hands in the air and to go wild. It was a good way to warm up the crowd.

Then, he started cooking the dish, which was a Seared Scallop, Polenta, and Demi-glace. He was very big on audience participation and had an audience helper on stage almost the whole time.

Cooking Polenta with Robert Irvine


The scallop was cooked perfectly, the polenta was creamy and delicious, and the demi-glace tied it all together perfectly.

Seared Scallop, Polenta, and Demi-glace

After everyone got to try the dish, he invited some people (including myself) to the stage so we could taste the difference between olive and grape seed oil.

He told us that grape seed oil was better for you, and is virtually tasteless — so it is better for cooking when you need oil but don’t want to taste it.

Oil Tasting at Culinary Demo


Overall, this cooking demo was worth the money. Robert was entertaining and fun to watch, the food was awesome, and I can’t wait to try the recipe for myself!

Here is the recipe if you want to do the same (signed by Chef Irvine, of course!).

Recipe for Seared Scallop - click image for larger version.

Is this a recipe that you would try at home? Let us know in the comments below.

Katie Smith is a 14 year old home-school student from Indiantown, Florida. She is a huge Disney fan and luckily lives only two and a half hours away from Walt Disney World. As a huge foodie, Disney and food are a perfect combination for her!


  1. says

    Well done, Katie!

    When the F&WF schedule was released, I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be there at the same time as Robert Irvine. How lucky not only that you were able to get tickets to the demo but that you got to get up on stage, as well!

    The scallop dish looks divine!

  2. says

    Agreed! Katie this is a great review :-). Robert Irvine has always been a draw at the festival — he’s so much fun when he’s presenting! Thanks for the review.

  3. notchris says

    Great review! I attended this demo as well but didn’t know much about Robert Irvine and was very pleasantly surprised.

    About the people in the pics:
    The rep from Hanna was the winemaker/president, Christine Hanna.
    The audience helper for the polenta was Marianne Hunnel’s mom (celebrating her birthday)!

    Also, Irvine’s wife, WWE wrestler Gail Kim was in the audience as well.

  4. Jennifer D. says

    Great review. We were there as well. My mom is in the red shirt for the oil tasting and Robert Irvine brought my husband the dish that he made on stage!

    I knew he was going to be great and him and the dish did not dissapoint! It was our first food and wine festival and I can’t wait to go back!

  5. Brandy says

    Great review Katie! Thanks for sharing the info on grape seed oil. I have several dishes that could benfit from that change!

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