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…]

News! ‘The Mickey Check’ Introduced at Walt Disney World and Disneyland

The ability to provide more nutritious meals for your children while on vacation just became a little easier!

Disney has started rolling out The Mickey Check on counter service menus across both Disney World and Disneyland resorts.

The Mickey Check will give parents a recognizable shortcut to identifying meals that meet the Disney Nutrition Guidelines, and expands upon the Disney Magic of Healthy Living initiative. This aims to provide nutritious options and kid-appropriate portions.

The first menu to feature The Mickey Check is the brand new Be Our Guest Restaurant lunch menu, which will feature a counter service format.

Kid's Menu at Be Our Guest will Feature the New Mickey Check

Following the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Disney Nutrition Guidelines also encourage the limitation of sodium, sugar, and saturated and trans fats.

Turkey Meatloaf at Be Our Guest Restaurant Earns the Mickey Check

To meet these guidelines, meals carrying The Mickey Check must contain at least [Read more…]