Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Sweet Sundays with Celebrity Chef Carla Hall

DFB reporter James Armstrong recently attended Sweet Sundays with celebrity chef Carla Hall (co-host of The Chew and Top Chef Alum) during the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Let’s check out his review!

The two hour event was divided up into two parts: the first hour consisted of the Sunday Brunch and the second was the celebrity chef demonstration. Upon arrival at 9:30am, we lined up for our table assignments. Doors opened promptly at 10am.

Table assignments

Each assigned table sat approximately six guests with seats on a first come first serve basis. The tables were set with pre-made yogurt parfaits and orange juice.

Once most of the guests had arrived, waiters began escorting each table to the buffet in an orderly “one table at a time” fashion.

Buffet overview


Sweet Sundays Brunch

The brunch portion of the event started with some standard buffet items — croissants and strawberry cheese danish. They were good but there was nothing exceptional about them. The croissant was flaky and buttery.

Overview of buffet

There was also fresh raspberries and blueberries [provided by Driscoll’s one of the Festival sponsors]. They were very sweet and at the height of their ripeness.

Raspberries and blueberries

A favorite part of the buffet was the [Read more…]

Guest Review: Aulani Eats and Off-Site Treats

in front of the Lava Shack

Join us in welcoming guest author Beth Osborn with a tour of Eats at Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa in Oahu. We’ve also got some great tips about eating at non-Disney spots around the resort! Brace yourselves — there’s Dole Whip, Shave Ice, Plate Lunch, and more — ahead! Don’t forget to check out Aulani restaurant info and menus here.

Arriving to Aulani on October 15, my husband Kev and I selected familiar WDW items — refillable mugs! We purchased purple and blue refillable mugs, which have an Aulani design that matches the beige wallpaper in the halls of the hotel. Red and green options were also available.

Even though the mugs are more expensive at Aulani, we felt we got our money’s worth at $18.99 each over the week we were there.

‘Ama ‘Ama Restaurant at Aulani

We had dinner at Ama Ama — Kev’s salt crusted fish was like nothing we’d ever seen before, with a completely removable crust. He said it was very moist.

Salt Encrusted Fish from Ama Ama

I had the French Maui onion soup and a tomato and cheese salad (two appetizers instead of an entree). Both were excellent.

French Onion Soup and the Tomato Salad from Ama Ama

Makahiki Restaurant and Rip Swirl at Aulani

We had a character breakfast at Makahiki with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. I wasn’t as excited about the buffet as some at Disney World, but I did enjoy the [Read more…]

Kouzzina Chef’s Table and Flying Fish Chef’s Counter Updates

Editor’s Note: Kouzzina’s Chef’s Table has been discontinued.

We mentioned back in December that Kouzzina was going to be announcing a Chef’s Table soon, but now we actually have some details thanks to reader Chris H!

We’ve also got some updates about the Flying Fish Chef’s Counter next door to Kouzzina (thanks to the same!).

Kouzzina Chef’s Table

Kouzzina offers a Chef’s Table tasting menu at this Boardwalk Resort restaurant, and Iron Chef Cat Cora’s worked hard at creating the menu! (Nope, Cat’s not usually there, but at least her stamp is on the dishes.)

Guests of the Chef’s Table will be presented with some of Cat Cora’s personal favorites during this five-course experience in the intimate CoraNation Room. Explore the flavors of the Mediterranean as the Chef (the day to day Chef; not Cora herself) interacts during the presentation of each course. While candles flicker, your dinner will include fresh seafood and oak-grilled specialties. Check out a photo of the appetizer course here.

The Kouzzina Chef’s Table experience costs $69.23 per person and can accommodate up to 24 people (age 10 and older). Complement your special meal with wine pairings for an additional $35-plus per person. Payment is due when reserving. A dress code applies: Men – Khakis, slacks, jeans, dress shorts, collared shirts. Sport coats are optional. Ladies – Capris, skirts, dresses, jeans, dress shorts. Reservations which are highly recommended can be made at 407-939-3463 up to 180 days in advance of your meal. Please note any special diet needs when booking. A 48 hour cancellation policy is in effect.

Friday and Saturday 6:30 p.m.

Flying Fish Chef’s Counter Update

The Flying Fish Cafe’s Chef’s Counter offers a memorable meal for guests 21 and over!

Crispy Tempura Soft Shell Crab

Previously guests were seated in six chairs on the left side of the saute/pasta station. Due to popular demand, more seats have been added to this special tasting experience! At least 3 additional seats are now available on the right side directly in front of the fish/risotto station. These new seats can get a bit [Read more…]

Interview: Celebrity Chef Kevin Dundon of Raglan Road

Chef Kevin Dundon

Chef Kevin Dundon

Huge thanks to Chef Kevin Dundon, TV celebrity chef, restaurateur, and Master Chef of Downtown Disney’s Raglan Road, for taking the time to answer a few questions from the DisneyFoodBlog (especially the one about his 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival appearance this October)!

Be sure to stick around post-interview for an information collage about Chef Dundon’s varied career (he’s a young guy, but he’s had some serious culinary adventures!) along with some fantastic recipes from Raglan Road and his award-winning hotel and restaurant, Dunbrody House.

DisneyFoodBlog: What was your culinary vision for Raglan Road (as an authentic Irish pub); has it changed over the 4 years of the restaurant’s existence?
Chef Dundon: I love Raglan Road, because I take Irish dishes and give them a face lift. I can be very creative there; the menu is always changing, which keeps us up-to-date with fresh and interesting new products and procedures.

Raglan Road

Raglan Road

DFB: What factors did you take into consideration when creating a menu for a theme park audience? How did this menu construction differ from those you’ve created for other restaurants and projects?
CD: I had to bear in mind that we would be catering for much larger numbers in Raglan Road. And also we, because of our location, get a large number of families. (Because of this, we have been voted in the top 50 in Open Table Family Dining.) Creating a meal experience for the entire family is our main goal, and the emphasis of our food is on fresh, additive-free food.

DFB: What do YOU order when you go to Raglan Road?
CD: I love the gourmet shepard’s pie; or I sometimes think you just can’t beat the fish and chips. Because everything is so good, it is very hard to select a favorite.

Wildforest Mushroom Chowder

Wildforest Mushroom Chowder

DFB: Raglan Road, Orlando, was your second US restaurant. Since then, you’ve launched a third (with more on the way?). What do you enjoy about working and spending time in the US culinary arena?
CD: Yes — we are hoping to open a new restaurant within the next year! I love spreading the word on great food that originates from Ireland and Dunbrody House. I like to educate people of the great fun and sense of enjoyment that can be achieved through food.

DFB: You’ll be the host chef AND celebrity chef for the Culinary Adventure in Signature Dining at Raglan Road at the 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival this Fall. Any chance you could share a couple of the dishes the audience will get to taste at that event?
CD: Well, a lot of this is still under wraps at the minute, but I will give you a sneak preview by saying that we will be doing pan-seared Boston scallops and a suckling pig…can’t wait!

Battered Sausages with Mustard Mayonnaise

Battered Sausages with Mustard Mayonnaise

DFB: Is there a particular person or a memory that inspired your path in the “food business?”
CD: Yes. A chef called Dario Oterello. He was a Spanish chef, and he really gave me insight into flavoring food appropriately whilst letting the individual flavors stand for themselves.

DFB: Do you think your interest in architecture affects your recipe development and cooking?
CD: Yes; food is all about design, creativity, and putting the right “blocks” together.

DFB: Does your family like to spend time together in the kitchen?
CD: We would cook everyday together! I love to get my kids involved in cooking; it gives a very keen interest in food, which is my passion.

Dunbrody Kiss

Dunbrody Kiss

DFB: What’s next up in the queue for you? Any projects coming up that you’re particularly excited about?
CD: Yes, I’m always busy! At the moment, I’m finishing the final stages of preparation on the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival plans. I’m also starting work on my next (third) cookery book to follow on from “Great Family Food.” I’m also looking forward to beginning my own television show.

Chef Dundon’s Accomplishments Reel
Celebrity Chef Kevin Dundon has cooked for many well-known celebrities during his career, including Her Majesty, the Queen; President Bush; and Bono. He has spent time in kitchens all over the world, from Switzerland, to Canada, to the US, and back to Ireland, where he served as the Executive Head Chef of the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, widely recognized as one of the most prestigious Chef appointments in the country.

Dunbrody House

Dunbrody House

Today, Chef Dundon is the Chef/Proprietor of Dunbrody Country House Hotel & Restaurant, located in South East Ireland and established in 1997 by Chef Dundon and his wife Catherine. Considered one of Ireland’s Premier Hotels & Restaurants, it has earned many awards, including Andrew Harper’s Grand Award for best Hideaway in the World, Restaurant of the Year, and several Michelin Guide awards.

In addition to his work with Dunbrody House and other projects globally, Chef Dundon continues to film television appearances and documentaries for national and international networks (including The Food Network, ESPN, the Travel Channel, and NBC), write for several culinary magazines and newspaper columns, produce cookbooks (including Full On Irish: Creative Contemporary Cooking, and Great Family Food), and serve as Signature/Master Chef for two other US restaurants in addition to Disney World’s Raglan Road, The Nine Fine Irishmen in Las Vegas, and Raglan Road’s sister restaurant in Kansas City.

Dunbrody Cookery School

Dunbrody Cookery School

When he’s NOT working, Chef Dundon spends time with Catherine and their three kids. The family just put the finishing touches on a brand new home in Ireland (which Chef Dundon’s love of architecture and design keenly inspired).

For more information on how YOU can take master cooking classes with Chef Kevin Dundon, check out the Dunbrody Cookery School.

Also, don’t forget to book NOW (407-WDW-FEST) to attend Chef Dundon’s signature dining experience at the 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: October 13, 2009, 6:15 p.m., Raglan Road at Downtown Disney. Cost: $115

You can follow Chef Dundon on twitter at @ChefDundon.

Just to finish up, here are a few of Chef Dundon’s original recipes from Dunbrody House and Raglan Road! (You can see photos of these scattered throughout the post.)

Duncanon Seafood Chowder

Wild Mushroom Chowder (Eatin’ and Drinkin’)

Beer Battered Cocktail Sausages with Mustard Mayonnaise (Dalkey Duo)

Loin of Ham/Bacon with an Irish Mist Glaze (Kevin’s Heavenly Ham)

Dunbrody Kiss

Bread and Butter Pudding (Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding)