Chefs and Beverage Presenters at the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The list of Visiting Chefs and Presenters has been announced for the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Are your faves on the list?

Visiting Chefs and Speakers include Cat Cora, the Food Network’s Iron Chef known for her Greek and American cooking. WDW guests love Kouzzina! You’ve seen Robert Irvine on several Food Network shows including 2011’s Restaurant: Impossible. Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern may shock picky palates with his Bizarre Foods but he’s also a huge fan of Walt Disney World! And Keegan Gerhard, host of multiple Food Network Challenges, will surely present something mouth-watering!

Visiting Chefs - click image for larger version

And the renowned Walt Disney World Chefs (insert huge applause!) include Chef Brian Piasecki, Chef de Cuisine at the California Grill! Chef TJ Sudiswa has wowed many guests dining on a Special Diet. Once at ‘Ohana, he’s now [Read more…]

Interview: Marianne Hunnel, Epcot Food & Wine Festival Content Development

Chef Marianne Hunnel

As you know, I was given the opportunity to speak yesterday evening with Marianne Hunnel, Area Manager, Event Content Development for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. She has a job that seems to be in equal parts exhilarating and difficult — and she loves it!

Without further ado, let’s jump into what I learned about the Epcot Food and Wine Festival and its true headliner, Marianne Hunnel! At the end of this post, we have a few pieces of news about what you’ll find that’s new at the 2011 Festival!

How A Festival Comes Together

With five years of directing content development for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival (six festivals altogether), Marianne Hunnel is an expert at shepherding her small, mighty team when it comes to building something bigger and better every single year. Of course, her 15 years working as a Chef on Disney World Property doesn’t hurt in terms of knowing what Disney guests are looking for when it comes to a dining experience!

Planning and development for these 45 festival days takes all year, and includes a lot of research. The first place they turn? Last year’s Food and Wine Festival guests! “[We] take a look at feedback from guests — what people liked, what was not doing very well. We really listen to the guests.”

After taking stock of what you, me, and the rest of the guests preferred last year, the team begins scouting the global trends taking over the food space and begin putting together menu items and tastings. To get unique and authentic input, Hunnel and the team speak with cast members — especially those hailing from countries represented in the World Showcase Marketplace Booths — to collect ideas, reviews, and even family recipes!

According to Hunnel, the festival should always be “interesting, exciting, and educational.”

Trends and Concepts Affecting the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Healthy Dining
An ongoing focus of the festival is healthy dining. “[We are] trying to incorporate fresh and healthy foods that are indigenous to the regions represented around the marketplace. …And we do it in subtle ways. Guests can say, ‘Wow, you can eat healthy and enjoy going to a festival without feeling really guilty,'” says Hunnel.

In fact, a new event focusing on families and healthy dining will take place on October 29th, featuring Andrew Zimmern and two other celebrity chefs, Bryan Voltaggio and Chris Cosentino. The event will “show the Chefs as Dads. They’re going to have their kids with them, who will be showing techniques that the family can [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 20, 2011

Plaza Restaurant Milkshake

Some great food links for you this week! But first, the answers to yesterday’s photo hunt! Going clockwise from the upper left-hand corner: 1. Restaurantosaurus 2. Candy Cauldron 3. Coral Reef 4. Via Napoli 5. Diamond Horseshoe 6. Bistro de Paris! Did you get them all right? :-)

The biggest piece of Disney food news this week is that the 2011 Wine & Dine Half-Marathon registration opened this week! This race will kick off the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

And now, on to the round-up!

The Passporter Moms Podcast featured three Disney Food Blog contributors this week — Erin Foster, our Disney Food for Families columnist; Kim LaPaglia, Disney Food Blog contributor and behind-the-scenes superstar; and Bernie Edwards, Disney Food Blog contributor (and my Aquaduck partner)! Check out their report (including reviewing the food!) on the new Wild Africa Trek tour in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Speaking of podcasts, I had the chance to record with the WDW Today Podcast again! This week, we covered those 2011 Disney Dining Plan changes! Listen here!

WDW for Grownups shows us around Raglan Road in Downtown Disney Orlando!

Eating (and Drinking) Around WDW channels Andrew Zimmern as he makes the chef’s recipe for Black Bean Spare Ribs with Green Onion, presented at the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Main Street Gazette discovers a bit more about the recipe for coca-cola in Epcot!

Babes in Disneyland says a resounding no to the new kids meal pizzas at Disneyland’s Village Haus.

English Disney Blog reviews Walt’s Restaurant in Disneyland Paris!

Kevin Kidney reveals the authentic recipe for the original Chicken of the Sea Tunaburger in Disneyland. But the best part of the post is the picture of Kevin with said Tunaburger.

Guest Review: Andrew Zimmern Demo at Epcot Food & Wine Festival

The amazing Ms. Sarah Holodick is back to share some insights and pics of her recent encounters with two of TV’s most famous foodies — Robert Irvine and Andrew Zimmern! Don’tcha just wish you coulda been there? Stay tuned for the review of Robert Irvine’s demo. Below is the review of Andrew Zimmern’s demo.

Andrew Zimmern Demo: Saturday, October 23, 2010

On Saturday, October 23rd, Matt and I had the opportunity to see Andrew Zimmern’s Culinary Demonstration at the Festival Center of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. We had seen him at last year’s demonstration and book signing, and he did not disappoint! He is a sincerely personable individual, and his stories are not only entertaining — you truly learn from him. It’s entertaining to watch him cook (as opposed to eating grubs and durian)!

Andrew Zimmern

What stood out to me not only last year, but this year as well, was the slight fear among guests that he would prepare bugs or the like for us. Andrew has literally been typecast as “the guy who eats all that weird stuff on TV.” While this is true of what he often does on his show, he does in fact realize that most Americans probably [Read more…]