Chef Robert Irvine Meets Up With Fans in Disney World!

Star of Food Network’s Dinner:Impossible and owner of Eat! Restaurant in Hilton Head, Chef Robert Irvine agreed to meet with a few of his fans in a low-key gathering at the Crew’s Cup Lounge at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort Friday night. Chef is in town for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and the gathering was organized by a few of his facebook fan page fans! Our fearless columnist, Chef BigFatPanda, had a front-row seat for the shenanigans of the evening. Take it away, Chef!

Chef BigFatPanda and Chef Irvine

The Anticipation Part
A few Food Network fans on Facebook heard that Chef Robert Irvine was going to be in Walt Disney World this weekend. They thought it would be great to have an informal intimate gathering of less than 20 people to just sit down and enjoy a drink with the Chef — but this sounded impossible. Surely, Chef Irvine would be very busy and not really have time to casually meet up with a few select fans.

Au contraire!

I met up with a few friends at the Crew’s Cup Lounge for the scheduled 6 o’clock meeting (I was surprised word had not leaked out on Facebook resulting in hundreds showing up). We were asked not to [Read more…]

Dinner:Impossible Meal at Walt Disney World!

Dinner:Impossible Production Sign

Dinner:Impossible Production Sign

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 Plots With His Volunteers

Chef Irvine Plots With His Volunteers

Dinner Prep
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.

Dinner:Impossible Advance Team

Dinner:Impossible Advance Team

Chef Irvine and Team Run to the Next Shot

Chef Irvine and Team Run to the Next Shot

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. ;)

Dinner Impossible Waiver

Dinner Impossible Waiver

Chef Irvine Instructs a Sous Chef in the Show Kitchen

Chef Irvine Instructs a Sous Chef in the Show Kitchen

The Dinner
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 [Read more…]

My Disney Food Day: In Pictures

I’ve had a busy and rewarding day at the Walt Disney World “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” media event; and while you’ll be seeing in-depth blogs over the next few days about my adventures, I wanted to share with you as soon as possible a few of my favorite Disney photos from today.

So, come along with me on this mini-photo-trip-report!

My Disney Day in Photos
First, we got up early-early-early to head over to Epcot for our Akershus breakfast with the Princesses. I think this is just about the most true-to-“life” Snow White I’ve ever seen:

Snow White at Akershus Restaurant

Snow White at Akershus Restaurant

Then it was off to the “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” Media Event, but what do I see as I’m walking around World Showcase? Giant tin cans!! These were used throughout Epcot today as themeing for the Volunteer Events! This one indicated that a VERY cool Detroit radio station would be broadcasting live from Epcot today! (Shout out to Jake Edwards!)

Detroit 96.3 Radio Station Broadcast Location Marker

Detroit 96.3 Radio Station Broadcast Location Marker

Finally made it around the Showcase in time for the big World Record reveal and Media Event. This is the World’s Largest Sculpture Made of Canned Goods! Be sure to check out our breakdown of the foods used for each character!

Canned Goods Sculpture Reveal at Disney World

Canned Goods Sculpture Reveal at Disney World

And of course I needed to get Pluto’s picture in front of his canned-good likeness!

Disney's Pluto with Canned Goods Pluto

Disney's Pluto with Canned Goods Pluto

I was thrilled to see that Mickey’s fingers were made out of huge-mongo bags of [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Weekly Round-Up: October 11, 2009

Hi all! The top story in Disney dining this week is that Disney World is trying out a new seating system at four Magic Kingdom counter-service restaurants.

Disney has been restricting seating to groups who have already received their food, hoping to cut down on the amount of people “saving tables” while the rest of their group is still ordering food. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be. In the meantime, Robert Niles at Theme Park Insider has discussed the issue in his blog post: Pecos Bill and the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

But while that debate rages on, there’s still plenty of other great Disney food writing going on. The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival continues, brand new hotels have opened (which means brand new eating establishments!), there’s a new food spot for the Alaska cruises, and more! Here we go!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival News
Attractions Magazine takes a look at Epcot’s Party for the Senses, including photos and a video! Haven’t had enough? Laughing Place adds their Party for the Senses photos as well! This is one event I would LOVE to attend someday.

Etckt stopped by the Food and Wine Festival to sample some dishes from the International Marketplaces. He’s an incredible photographer, so be sure to check this one out!

And the Disney Parks Blog posted some great videos and recipes from celebrity chef team The Deen Brothers and Food Network’s Dinner Impossible Chef Robert Irvine. The blog also posted their highlights from the Wine chat with Gary Vaynerchuk.

Other Disney Dining News and Web Posts
Orlando Sentinel’s The Dish columnist Heather Mcpherson reports on honors received by Central Florida’s authentic Mexican restaurants, including two in Disney World!

Disney and More reports and comments on an expansion at the Last Chance Cafe in Disneyland Paris’ Frontierland.

Mouseplanet contributor Chris Barry discusses his Top Five Dining Moments in Disney World.

Main Street Gazette highlights some great themeing by Magic Kingdom imagineers via the Popcorn Kiosks in the park.

Scott Joseph Orlando gives us a first look at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando bars and restaurants.

Stuff From the Park shares a Golden Horseshoe menu circa the late 1970’s — back when there were waiters here! Hmm… that’s the first time I’ve seen Pepsi listed on a Disney Park menu…

Stitch Kingdom shares some photos of the construction of the Outlook Cafe on the Disney Wonder. The Cafe is being built in preparation for the upcoming Alaska cruises.

Thanks for all the great dining news and updates this week, all! We’re grateful for all the great writing you do!