Chef Interview: New Kids’ Menus Debut in Downtown Disney Orlando

Can healthy kids’ menus also be fun and interesting?

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Steve Richard, executive chef of Downtown Disney’s Portobello Trattoria in Walt Disney World. Portobello and its sister restaurants, Fulton’s Crab House and Wolfgang Puck Cafe, have debuted some brand new children’s menus that aim for healthy as well as fun.

Since healthier — and more grown-up — kids’ eats is a growing trend among Disney-area restaurants (for example, check out the kids’ menu at the new Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom), I was interested to hear all the new menus and the impetus behind them.

Portobello Trattoria

Portobello continues to offer freshly-prepared rustic Italian fare, with an emphasis on slow cooking and local ingredients. And the family-friendly atmosphere provides a cozy-yet-refined alternative where families with children can relax.

Portobello

Though I’ve seen some negative reviews for Portobello, my experiences here have pretty positive. And the new kids’ menu focuses on freshness and whole foods, without sacrificing kid pleasers, like pizza.

It seems that choice really was the driving motivation for the recent updates to the menus at all three restaurants. “We wanted to offer choices,” said Chef Steve. “People are on vacation and they might be inclined to be indulgent. With all the menus, we feel it’s important to offer healthy choices as well.”

Portobello Dining Room Seating

The choices emphasize a balance between indulgence and smarter eating. “We think the best approach is to offer healthy meals for kids as well as something that mimics the adult dining experience,” he explained.

“We are trying to offer things that are indulgent, like the option to have an ice cream sundae made with locally-made gelato at Portobello. But then we also have grilled meats and fresh fruits, as opposed to things we normally see on children’s menus.”

Chef Steve and his team have also included fresher choices for beverages, like 100% juice options and low-fat milk.

Portobello Kids' Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Fulton’s Crab House

Fulton’s Crab House has retained many of their classic dishes, while offering a new flair featuring sustainably and responsibly harvested [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Weekly Round-Up: March 28, 2010

Our Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

Our Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

Well, folks, “when it rains, it pours” regarding Disney food news this week! Here’s a recap from DFB before we launch into the Disney Food Post Weekly Round-Up.

Plus, if you’re a Disney blogger, considering joining the DisMarks Disney Blog Carnival this week!

Now, on to the Round-Up! For those of you who are new to Disney Food Blog, each week we scour the web for some of the best Disney food writing around, then highlight it on our Sunday blog post. Enjoy!

Cupcakes Take The Cake showcased the Disney World Cupcakes from our “You Won’t Believe This!” snack series! (Nope, we’re not afraid to toot our own horn!)

Disney History Institute talks Disney and General Mills, with a focus on a Disney-fied August 1955 issue of The Modern Millwheel of General Mills.

Main Street Gazette has an awesome post about “Widowmaker Fries.” Don’t know what they are? Neither did we… check it out!

DF ’82 takes us on a tour of Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost in Disneyland Paris Resort.

Gorillas Don’t Blog has an enchanting post and some keen photos of the current whereabouts of the Disneyland Carnation Truck from Carnation Corner.

Tasty Chomps goes to Epcot’s Sommerfest! Yum!

Disney Every Day reviews Whispering Canyon Cafe…and has a really big knife to boot!

Babes in Disneyland shares a pic of an adorable Disneyland Easter Treat!

WDW Radio‘s Lou Mongello takes us on a video tour in search of the best snack in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

SamLand’s Disney Adventures pays homage to his Flying Fish Cafe “Chef’s Counter” meal (I wish there were pictures, but the descriptions of the courses are mouth-watering). Scroll down to mid-post for the restaurant visit.

AllEarsNet blogger Mike Bachand brought pics back from the first Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Garden Town Breakfast.

Disney Parks Blog reports new evening hours at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill.

OC Register highlights a “Cheap Disneyland Kids’ Meal That’s Not Nasty.” You HAVE to love that title.

Cakewrecks shares a coolio “UP” cake…keep scrolling down and you’ll find it!