Connect with us


Are Roy and Stanley making a Rainbow Connection?

First Steve Jobs and John Lasseter. Now the Henson family? Jim Hill has news about who else Roy Disney and Stanley Gold have reportedly recruited to help out with their bid to oust Michael Eisner. Plus a further update on what’s supposedly going on in the boardroom.



It’s Day 3 of Roy and Stanley’s “Oust Eisner” campaign. And — so far anyway — the folks on Wall Street don’t seem all that impressed.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a quick sampling of what some investment analysts have to say about the situation:

“Eisner’s not likely to go anywhere soon,” or so says Oppenheimer and Co. analyst Peter Mirksy.

“I don’t expect (Disney and Gold’s campaign) to have much of an impact,” sniffed Loop Capital markets analyst David Martell.

“They might have found a more receptive audience 18 months ago,” said Janna Sampson — a portfolio manager at Oakbrook Investments — as she dismissed Roy and Stanley’s efforts to recruit Disney stockholders to take part in their “Get Mike to Take a Hike” program.

So why is it that — given that the internet community has been so galvanized by all this talk of ousting Eisner — that Wall Street seems to have greeted this revolutionary idea with a shrug?

Because … well … let’s be blunt here, people: There aren’t really all that many investment analysts out there that are truly enthusiastic about the notion of Michael Eisner staying on as head of the Walt Disney Company through September 2006. But — then again — investment analysts are (by their very nature) a fairly cautious bunch. They don’t like taking risks.

So while Wall Street is at least willing to listen to what Roy and Stanley have to say, these folks then go pick up their copies of the “Wall Street Journal” and see that the price of Disney’s stock is up 39% from last year. And the studio’s current crop of movies seem to be doing well at the box office. And ABC’s ratings have gradually improved over the past three months.

Which is why investment analysts — while they really have no fondness for Eisner — are reluctant to rock the boat. I mean, what if the guy that Roy and Stanley bring in to replace Michael actually does a worse job of running the Mouse House than Eisner did? Right now, Wall Street is fairly optimistic about how the Walt Disney Company will do in 2004.

And Roy Disney and Stanley Gold realize this. Which why they’re trying to play down the recent gains in Disney’s stock price and all the talk about how attendance levels are up at the corporation’s stateside theme parks. Instead, Roy and Stanley are trying to make Michael Eisner himself the issue.

As in: Think about how much better the Walt Disney Company would be — how much more successful this corporation might be — if Michael Eisner weren’t still running the show.

This is the lynch pin of Disney and Gold’s Pixar stratagem. I.E. Due to his personal conflict with Steve Jobs, Michael Eisner is preventing Walt Disney Studios from closing a contract extension deal with Pixar Animation Studios.

But just yesterday, I got a peek at another page of Roy and Stanley’s playbook. And — to be honest — I was both thrilled and surprised to hear about what else these guys reportedly have up their sleeves.

What am I talking about? Well, do you recall Monday’s story — “Did Roy Jump the Gun?” — where I talked about how Michael Eisner had been embarrassed by the fact that he hadn’t be able to close the Jim Henson Company acquisition deal early year. Well, it appears that Kermit and Co. may soon be causing Michael even more discomfort.

According to several well-placed sources that I spoke with at the Jim Henson Company yesterday, Disney and Gold have supposedly been meeting quietly with members of the Henson family for months now. It’s even been suggested that Roy and Stanley may have played a part in the family’s decision to suddenly buy back the Jim Henson Company this past May, rather than allow the Muppets to be sold off to Mickey.

“So what’s the point of Walt’s nephew and Stanley Gold inserting themselves into the Disney/Henson negotiations?” you ask. Patience, Grasshopper. All will be explained shortly.

Okay, now how many of you recall the story in “Variety” last month which stated that the Jim Henson Company was actively looking for a partner? Some media conglomerate with fairly deep pockets and a great distribution system that could help Henson out with its film, TV and home video projects.

Well, Disney was one of the companies mentioned in this article. And — according to the folks that I spoke with at Henson yesterday — Disney and Gold (or their representatives) have supposedly been met quietly with the Henson family over the past few weeks.

“And what’s the purpose of all this cloak and dagger stuff,” you ask? Well, the Walt Disney Company is reportedly looking to get into a long term production deal with the Jim Henson Company — with the Mouse releasing and promoting a wide variety of movies, videos and TV shows that the Frog produces.

Furthermore, should the above arrangement prove to be pleasant, professional and financially beneficial to both corporations, the door might once again swing open for acquisition. As in: The Henson family would allegedly agree to sell the Jim Henson Company — lock, stock and Fozzie Bear-el — to the Walt Disney Company.

So what’s the catch? The Henson family will supposedly only agree to the above arrangement IF Michael Eisner is out as head of the Walt Disney Company.

You see the strategy that’s emerging here? “Michael Eisner can’t get Steve Jobs to agree to a Pixar contract extension. But Roy Disney — who’s a friend of John Lasseter — can.” And “Michael Eisner missed out on closing a deal to acquire the Jim Henson Company (again) in May. But the Henson family is willing once more to do business with the Walt Disney Company … provided that Michael Eisner is out of the picture.”

This is really an ingenious strategy on Roy and Stanley’s part, don’t you think? Getting Disney shareholders to overlook the modest gains that the corporation has made over the past year by pointing out how much better the Walt Disney Company could theoretically be doing if Michael Eisner weren’t in the hot seat.

So what’s Michael Eisner’s response to all this? He’s still letting the members of Disney’s board do most of the talking for him. Though — as has been pointed out to me by numerous JHM readers — these guys aren’t really mounting all that spirited a defense of the Mouse House’s Big Cheese:

So says Nome de Plume:

Take a closer look at those messages that Disney’s Board of Directors have been issuing to the media on Eisner’s behalf. Notice how careful the language they’re using is. How tepid it sounds. These guys are just going through the motions, Jim. Doing what they have to to keep Michael happy. But nothing more than that.

Maybe Disney’s Board of Directors really do have an Eisner exit strategy in place. And Mitchell and Co. are actually working in tandem with Disney and Gold to pull a pincer maneuver from without and within. Til the pressure gets so great that Disney’s CEO has no choice but to resign.

But if this is really the case … why didn’t Disney’s Board of Directors just leave their original Eisner exit strategy in place? Just allow Michael to somewhat gracefully announce that he’d be retiring of his own volition in September 2004 and then let Disney’s CEO ride off into the sunset.

“The Poet” (who finally checked in again this afternoon — hurrah!) offered up these intriguing answers to the above query:

Supposedly, not one of Disney’s Board of Directors actually trust Michael Eisner right about now. Their worry is that — after Roy Disney, Ray Watson and Thomas Murphy were forced to resign this week (in accordance with the corporation’s new governance, which insist that all directors must now retire from the board when they reach 72 years of age) — Michael might replace these corporate officers with three new directors who would be much more sympathetic to Eisner’s plight. Which means that Michael might be then be able to weasel out of his previous arrangement. Which would allow Eisner to stay on as the head of the Walt Disney Company ’til the end of his contract — which is September of 2006.

So — by making a co-ordinated effort now (with Roy and Stanley on the outside and Mitchell and Co. on the inside) — Eisner wouldn’t have any wiggle room. And — provided that enough public pressure could be brought to bear — Michael could conceivably be forced out of his CEO position at the Walt Disney Company well ahead of September 2004.

“The Poet” also went on to say that Disney’s Board of Directors is said to be uncomfortable with the size of the “golden parachute” that Eisner is insisting on receiving. The figure that’s reportedly being bandied about isn’t quite a billion. But “The Poet” suggests that it could be well north of $500 million.

In this post-Richard Grasso / NYSE scandal era (where CEOs are regularly being taken to task by the media for excessive compensation and bonuses), Disney’s Board of Directors is reportedly worried that — should the news break about how much the Mouse is supposed to pay Michael in order to get him to move along — that it could be another PR disaster for the corporation.

More importantly, given the enormous amount of money that we’re allegedly talking about here (which is said to be more than the amount that Mickey paid out to Jeffrey Katzenberg and Mike Ovitz combined), Disney stockholders could conceivably rise up in revolt. Which might result in the Board of Directors getting released from their extra-cushy jobs as officers of the Disney corporation.

So — with this grisly possibility rolling around in the back of their minds — Disney’s Board of Directors supposedly began exploring more affordable options. Like the possibility that — if there were a loud enough public outcry — they could possibly embarrass Michael Eisner into exiting earlier, under his own power. Which (hopefully) would result in the corporation having to offer a smaller financial “parting gift” to the company’s soon-to-be-former CEO.

You see what I’m saying here, folks? The stuff that’s made it out into the mainstream media to date. It’s all just the tip of the iceberg. All the players aren’t out on stage yet. The real drama now is being played out behind-the-scenes. As Roy and Stanley quietly and carefully recruit allies for their cause and Eisner weighs his options. And — all the while — Disney’s Board of Directors continue to say that they’re standing firmly behind the corpoartion’s CEO … when what Mitchell and Co. are really supposedly up to is looking for an opportune time to push Eisner out a window.

You know — according to this friend I have in Vegas — the current odds on Michael Eisner being out of the Walt Disney Company by January 2004 are 3 to 1. Me personally? I’m not sure that things are going to move quite that quickly. I’m pretty certain that Michael is going to wage a pretty tough campaign to hang onto his job.

But even so — were all the stuff that we’ve discussed in today’s JHM article to actually come to light (with Pixar allegedly only agreeing to sign a contract extension with Disney if Eisner is gone, the Jim Henson Company supposedly only agreeing to a long term production deal with the Mouse if Michael’s out of the picture, plus Roy and Stanley reportedly working in tandem with Mitchell and Co.) — it’s really hard to see how Eisner’s actually going to be able to hang on.

Hmmmn … maybe now might be a good time to call Vegas and see if I can’t get in on some of that Eisner exit action?

Your thoughts?

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Jens Dahlmann of LongHorn Steakhouse has lots of great tips when it comes to grilling



Listen to the Article

Sure, for some folks, the Fourth of July is all about fireworks. But for the 75% of all Americans who own a grill or a smoker, the Fourth is our Nation’s No. 1 holiday when it comes to grilling. Which is why 3 out of 4 of those folks will spend some time outside today working over a fire.

But here’s the thing: Though 14 million Americans can cook a steak with confidence because they actually grill something every week, the rest of us – because we use our grill or smoker so infrequently … Well, let’s just say that we have no chops when it comes to dealing with chops (pork, veal or otherwise).

So what’s a backyard chef supposed to in a situation like this when there’s so much at steak … er … stake? Turn to someone who really knows their way around a grill for advice. People like Jens Dahlmann, the Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef for Darden Restaurant’s LongHorn Steakhouse brand.

Given that Jens’ father & grandfather were chefs, this is a guy who literally grew up in a kitchen. In his teens & twenties, Dahlmann worked in hotels & restaurants all over Switzerland & Germany. Once he was classically trained in the culinary arts, Jens then  jumped ship. Well, started working on cruise ships, I mean.

Anyway … While working on Cunard’s Sea Goddess, Dahlmann met Sirio Maccioni, the founder of Le Cirque 2000. Sirio was so impressed with Jens’ skills in the kitchen that he offered him the opportunity to become sous-chef at this New York landmark. After four years of working in Manhattan, Dahlmann then headed south to become executive chef at Palm Beach’s prestigious Café L’Europe.

Jens Dahlmann back during his Disney World days

And once Jens began wowing foodies in Florida, it wasn’t all that long ’til the Mouse came a-calling. Mickey wanted Dahlmann to shake things up in the kitchen over at WDW’s Flying Fish Café. And he did such a good job with that Disney’s Boardwalk eatery the next thing Jens knew, he was then being asked to work his magic with the menu at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.

From there, Dahlmann had a relatively meteoric rise at the Mouse House. Once he became Epcot’s Food & Beverage general manager, it was only a matter of time before he wound up as the executive chef in charge of this theme park’s annual International Food & Wine Festival. Which – under Jens’ guidance – experienced some truly explosive growth.

“When I took on Food & Wine, that festival was only 35 days long and had gross revenues of just $5.5 million. When I left Disney in 2016, Food & Wine was now over 50 days long and that festival had gross revenues of $22 million,” Dahlmann admitted during a recent sit-down. “I honestly loved those 13 years I spent at Disney. When I was working there, I learned so much because I was really cooking for America.”

And it was exactly that sort of experience & expertise that Darden wanted to tap into when they lured Jens away from Mickey last year to become LongHorn Steakhouse’s new Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef. But today … Well, Dahlmann is offering tips to those of us who are thinking about cooking steak tips for the Fourth.

Photo by Jim Hill

“When you’re planning on grilling this holiday, if you’re looking for a successful result, the obvious place to start is with the quality of the meat you plan on cooking for your friends & family. If you want the best results here, don’t be cheap when you go shopping. Spend the money necessary for a fresh filet or a New York strip. Better yet a Ribeye, a nice thick one with good marbling. Because when you look at the marbling on a steak, that’s where all the flavor happens,” Jens explained. “That said, you always have to remember that — the higher you go with the quality of your meat — the less time you’re going to want that piece of meat to spend on the grill.”

And speaking of cooking … Before you even get started here, Jens suggests that you first take the time to check over all of your grilling equipment. Making sure that the grill itself is first scraped clean & then properly oiled before you then turn up the heat.

“If you’re working with a dirty grill, when you go to turn your meat, it may wind up sticking to the grill. Or maybe those spices that you’ve just so carefully coated your steak with will wind up sticking to the grill, rather than your meat,” Dahlmann continued. “Which is why it’s always worth it to spend a few minutes prior to firing up your grill properly cleaning & oiling it.”

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of heat … Again, before you officially get started grilling here, Jens says that it’s crucial to check your temperature gauges. Make sure that your char grill is set at 550 (so that it can then properly handle the thicker cuts of meat) and your flattop is set at 425 (so it can properly sear thinner pieces of meat).

Okay. Once you’ve bought the right cuts of quality meat, properly cleaned & oiled your grill, and then made sure that everything’s set at the right temperature (“If you can only stand to hold your hand directly over the grill for two or three seconds, that’s the right amount of heat,” Dahlmann said), it’s now time to season your steaks.

“Don’t be afraid to be bold here. You can’t be shy when it comes to seasoning your meat. You want to give it a nice coating. Largely because — if you’re using a char grill — a lot of that seasoning is just going to fall off anyway,” Jens stated. “It’s up to you to decide what sort of seasoning you want to use here. Even just some salt & pepper will enhance a steak’s flavor.”

Then – according to Dahlmann – comes the really tough part. Which is placing your meat on the grill and then fighting the urge to flip it too early or too often.

“The biggest mistake that a lot of amateur cooks make is that they flip the steak too many times. The real key to a well-cooked piece of meat is just let it be, “Jens insisted. “Of course, if you’re serving different cuts of meat at your Fourth of July feast, you always want to put your biggest thickest steak on the grill first. If you’re also cooking a New York Strip, you want to put that one on a few minutes later. But after that, just let the grill do its job and flip your meat a total of three or four times, once every three minutes or so.”

Of course, the last thing you want to do is overcook a quality piece of meat. Which is why Dahlmann suggests that – when it comes to grilling steaks – if you’re going to err, err on the side of undercooking.

“You can always put a piece of meat back on the grill if it’s slightly undercooked. When you over-cook something, all you can do then is start over with a brand-new piece of meat,” Jens said. “Just be sure that you’re using the correct cut of meat for the cooking result you’re aiming for. If someone wants a rare or medium rare steak, you should go with a thicker cut of steak. If one of your guests wants their steak cooked medium or well, it’s best to start with a thinner cut of meat.”

Photo by Jim Hill

As you can see, the folks at Longhorn take grilling steaks seriously. How seriously? Just last week at Darden Corporate Headquarters in Orlando, seven of these brand’s top grill masters (who – after weeks of regional competitions – had been culled from the 491 restaurants that make up this chain) competed for a $10,000 prize in the Company’s second annual Steak Master Series. And Dahlmann was one of the people who stood in Darden’s test kitchens, watching like a hawk as each of the contestants struggled to prepare six different dishes in just 20 minutes according to Longhorn Steakhouse’s exacting standards.

“I love that Darden does this. Recognizing the best of the best who work this restaurant,” Jens concluded. “We have a lot of people here who are incredibly knowledgeable & passionate when it comes to grilling.”

Speaking of which … If today’s story doesn’t include the exact piece of info that you need to properly grill that T-bone, just whip out your iPhone & text GRILL to 55702. Or – better yet – visit prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Continue Reading


Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont



Listen to the Article

Some people travel halfway ‘around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If you’re more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT. Where – over the first weekend in June – you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers.

Now in its 16th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party / gallery walk. But then – come Saturday morning – Main Street in Brattleboro is lined with thousands of bovine fans.

Photo by Jim Hill

They’ve staked out primo viewing spots and set up camp chairs hours ahead of time. Just so these folks can then have a front row seat as this year’s crop of calves (which all come from local farms & 4-H clubs) are paraded through the streets.

Photo by Jim Hill

Viewed from curbside, Strolling of the Heifers is kind of this weird melding of a sincere small town celebration and Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade. Meaning that – for every entry that actually acknowledged this year’s theme (i.e. “Dance to the Moosic”) — …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something completely random, like this parade’s synchronized shopping cart unit.

Photo by Jim Hill

And for every piece of authentic Americana (EX: That collection of antique John Deere tractors that came chugging through the city) …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something silly. Like – say – a woman dressed as a Holstein pushing a baby stroller through the streets. And riding in that stroller was a pig dressed in a tutu.

Photo by Jim Hill

And given that this event was being staged in the Green Mountain State & all … Well, does it really surprise you to learn that — among the groups that marched in this year’s Strolling of the Heifers – was a group of eco-friendly folks who, with their  chants of “We’re Number One !,” tried to persuade people along the parade route not to flush the toilet after they pee. Because – as it turns out – urine can be turned into fertilizer.

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of fertilizer … At the tail end of the parade, there was a group of dedicated volunteers who were dealing with what came out of the tail end of all those cows.

Photo by Jim Hill

This year’s Strolling of the Heifers concluded at the Brattleboro town common. Where event attendees could then get a closer look at some of the featured units in this year’s parade…

Photo by Jim Hill

… or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.

Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the 90+ calves who took part in the 2017 edition of Strolling of the Heifers, once they reached the town common, it was now time for a nosh or a nap.

Photo by Jim Hill

Elsewhere on the common, keeping with this year’s “Dance to the Moosic” theme, various musical groups performed in & around the gazebo throughout the afternoon.

Photo by Jim Hill

While just across the way – keeping with Brattleboro’s tradition of showcasing the various artisans who live & work in the local community – some pretty funky pieces were on display at the Slow Living Exposition.

Photo by Jim Hill

All in all, attending Strolling of the Heifers is a somewhat surreal but still very pleasant way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont. And that’s no bull.

Photo by Jim Hill

Well, that could be a bull. To be honest, what with the wig & all, it’s kind of hard to tell. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, June 4, 2017

Continue Reading


Looking to make an authentic Irish meal for Saint Patrick’s Day? If so, then chef Kevin Dundon says not to cook corned beef & cabbage



Listen to the Article

Let’s at least start on a positive note: Celebrated chef, author & TV personality Kevin Dundon – the man that Tourism Ireland has repeatedly chosen as the Face of Irish Food – loves a lot of what happens in the United States on March 17th.

“I mean, look at what they do in Chicago on Saint Patrick’s Day. They toss all of this vegetable-based dye into the Chicago River and then paint it green for a day. That’s terrific,” Kevin said.

But then when it comes to what many Americans eat & drink on St. Paddy’s Day (i.e., a big plate of corned beef and cabbage. Which is then washed down with a mug of green beer) … Well, that’s where Dundon has to draw the line.

Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon displays a traditional Irish loin of bacon with Colcannon potatoes and a Dunbrody Kiss chocolate dessert. Photo by Tom Burton. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Green beer? No real Irishman would be caught dead drinking that stuff,” Kevin insists. “And as for eating corned beef & cabbage … That’s not actually authentic Irish fare either. Bacon and cabbage? Sure. But corned beef & cabbage was something that the Irish only began eating after they’d come to the States to escape the Famine. And even then these Irish-Americans only began serving corned beef & cabbage to their friends & family because they had to make do with the ingredients that were available to them at that time.”

And thus begins the strange tale of how corned beef & cabbage came to be associated with the North American celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Because – according to Dundon – beef just wasn’t all that big a part of the Irish diet back in the 19th century.

To explain: Back in the Old Country, cattle – while they were obviously highly prized for the milk & cheese that they produced – were also beasts of burden. Meaning that they were often used for ploughing the fields or for hauling heavy loads. Which is why – back then — these animals were rarely slaughtered when they were still young & healthy. If anything, land owners liked to put a herd of cattle on display out in one of their pastures because that was then a sign to their neighbors that this farm was prosperous.

“Whereas pork … Well, everybody raised pigs back then. Which is why pork was a staple of the Irish diet rather than beef,” Dundon continued.

So if that’s what people actually ate back in the Old Country, how then did corned beef & cabbage come to be so strongly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the States.? That largely had to do with where the Irish wound up living after they arrived in the New World.

“When the Irish first arrived in America following the Great Famine, a lot of them wound up living in the inner city right alongside the Germans & the Jews, who were also recent immigrants to the States. And while that farm-fresh pork that the Irish loved wasn’t readily available, there was brisket. Which the Irish could then cure by first covering this piece of meat with corn kernel-sized pieces of rock salt – that’s how it came to be called corned beef. Because of the sizes of the pieces of rock salt that were used in the curing process – and then placing all that in a pot of water with other spices to soak for a few days.”

And as for the cabbage portion of corned beef & cabbage … Well, according to Kevin, in addition to buying their meat from the kosher delis in their neighborhood, the Irish would also frequent the stores that the German community shopped in. Where – thanks to their love of sauerkraut (i.e., pickled cabbage) – there was always a ready supply of cabbage to be had.

“So when you get right down to it, it was the American melting pot that led to corned beef & cabbage being found in the Irish-American cooking pot,” Dundon continued. “Since they couldn’t find or didn’t have easy access to the exact same ingredients that they had back in Ireland, Irish-Americans made do with what they could find in the immediate vicinity. And what they made was admittedly tasty. But it’s not actually authentic Irish fare.”

Mind you, what Kevin serves at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs (which – FYI – Orlando Magazine voted as the area’s best restaurant back in 2014) is nothing if not authentic. Dundon and his team at this acclaimed gastropub pride themselves on making traditional Irish fare and then contemporized it.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Take – for example – what we serve here instead of corned beef & cabbage. Again, because it was pork – rather than beef – that was the true staple of the Irish diet back then, what we offer instead is a loin of bacon that has been glazed with Irish Mist. That then comes with colcannon potatoes. Which is this traditional Irish dish that’s made up of mashed potato that have had some cabbage & bacon mixed through it,” Kevin enthused. “This heavenly ham – that’s what we actually call this traditional Irish dish at Raglan Road, Kevin’s Heavenly Ham – also includes some savory cabbage with a parsley cream sauce as well as a raisin cider jus. It’s simple food. But because of the basic ingredients – and that’s the real secret of Irish cuisine. That our ingredients are so strong – the flavors just pop off the plate.”

Which brings us to the real challenge that Dundon and the Raglan Road team face every day. Making sure that they actually have all of the ingredients necessary to make this traditional-yet-contemporized Irish fare to those folks who frequent this Walt Disney World favorite.

“Take – for example – the fish we serve here. We only used cold water fish. Salmon, mussels and haddock that have been hauled out of the Atlantic, the ocean that America and Ireland share,” Kevin stated. “Not that there’s anything wrong with warm water fish. It’s just that … Well, it doesn’t have the same structure. It’s a softer fish, which doesn’t really fit the parameters of Irish cuisine. And if you’re going to serve authentic food, you have to be this dedicated when it comes to sourcing your ingredients.

Copyright Mitchell Beazley. All rights reserved

And if you’re thinking of perhaps trying to serve an authentic Irish meal this year, rather than once again serving corned beef & cabbage at your Saint Patrick’s Day Feast … Well, back in September of last year, Mitchell Beazley published “The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.” This 296-page hardcover not only includes the recipe for Kevin’s Heavenly Ham but also it tells the tale of how this now-world-renown restaurant wound up being built in Orlando.

On the other hand, if you happen to have to the luck of the Irish and are actually down at The Walt Disney World Resort right now, it’s worth noting that Raglan Road is right in the middle of its Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This four day-long event – which includes Irish bands and professional dancers – stretches through Sunday night. And in addition to all that authentic Irish fare that Dundon and his team are cooking up, you also sample the fine selection of beers & cocktails that this establishment’s four distinct antique bars (each of which are more than 130 years old and were imported directly from Ireland) will be serving. Just – As ucht Dé (That’s “For God’s Sake” in Gaelic) – don’t make the mistake of asking the bartender there for a mug of green beer.

“Why would anyone willingly drink something like that?,” Dundon laughed. “I mean, just imagine what their washroom will look like the morning after.”

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Friday, March 17, 2017

Continue Reading