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Dan Signer talks about developing the Disney Channel’s newest hit, “A.N.T. Farm”

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You’ve heard of products that were made in China? Well, how
about projects that were made for China. To be specific: China
Anne McClain
, the 13-year-old actress and singer.


“A.N.T. Farm” star China Anne
McClain. Photo by
Bob D’Amico. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights
reserved

China first came on the Disney Channel‘s radar thanks to her scene-stealing
appearances on Tyler Perry‘s House of Payne. The Mouse thought that McClain had
the making of a sitcom star. So they commissioned a pilot for this diminutive
performer that didn’t quite work. Which is why Disney then turned to Dan
Signer
.

“And who’s Dan Signer?,” you ask. Well, Dan has kind of a
unique pedigree when it comes to situation comedy. Signer was born and raised
in Toronto, Canada. Where – while he attended Forest Hill Collegiate Institute
and then graduated from University College at the University of Toronto – Dan believes
that his formative education, at least when it comes to comedy, came from those
thousands of hours that he spent in front of the family TV set.

“I watched reruns of all of the classic sitcoms – I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Taxi
– plus great sketch shows like SCTV. Plus lots and
lots of cartoons,” Signer remembered.


Copyright 2004 Shout Factory. All
rights reserved

But when Dan finally got down to LA, there just weren’t a
lot of jobs available in the sitcom world. Which is how Signer wound up working
in reality television instead.

“My first real job in show business was working on a reality special called ‘When
Good Pets Go Bad
,’ “Dan continued. “I then continued to work in low-paying
production jobs on other reality specials, including one for Fox called ‘Conspiracy
Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?
‘ “

It wasn’t exactly the job that Dan had been dreaming of when
he first began watching Dick Van Dyke reruns as a kid.  But at least Signer now had his foot in the
door. Which is why – as he worked on those reality specials – Dan did
everything that he could to learn about how TV was made in the modern age.


Copyright 2011 Fox Broadcasting,
Inc. All rights reserved

“And the whole time that I was working that reality television
gig, I was also writing sample sitcom scripts. Always looking for the next
opportunity to further my career,” Signer said. “Which – as it turned out – was
also with Fox Television, working on situation comedies like “Stacked’ and ‘Quintuplets.’

And then – from there – Disney eventually beckoned. Dan
joined the writing staff of “The Suite Life with Zack & Cody” midway
through its second season. And the producers of that Disney Channel show were
so impressed with Signer’s efforts that – when “The Suite Life on Deck” was
spun off out of that show – Dan was asked to come along on that comedic cruise.

Which brings us back to “A.N.T. Farm.” Which – as the
creator and executive producer of this It’s a Laugh Productions show – Signer was
supposed to tailor around China Anne McClain’s many talents.


China Anne McClain on the set of the
new Disney Channel series, “A.N.T. Farm.” Photo
by Bruce Birmelin. Copyright
Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“The girl had so much confidence. She can nail a joke. She can sing. She can
play instruments. It’s like China was some sort of child prodigy,” Dan recalled.
“And that’s when it hit me: Why not build a show around a child prodigy?
Someone who’s got all of this natural talent & ability but is still challenged
when she’s sent off to high school at the age of 11?”

So while Ms. McClain was off working for the Disney Channel
farm team (Translation: With the hope that viewers might take an early liking
to this talented tween, It’s a Laugh Productions had China play Tina, an
angel-in-training on the Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place trilogy, Wizards vs.
Angels), Signer threw himself into researching the world of child prodigies.

“And – as it turns out – there are all sorts of child
prodigies. I learned about this one kid who was the grand master when it came
to playing Guitar Hero. He actually took off time from school so that this kid
could then compete professionally at this video game,” Dan laughed.


Copyright Activision Publishing,
Inc. All rights reserved

And once he learned that there were all sorts of child
prodigies … Well, that’s how Signer decided to cast his “A.N.T. Farm” (FYI: The
“A.N.T.” in this title of this new Disney Channel series stands for “Advanced
Natural Talents”). Looking for just the right pair of performers for China Anne
to bounce off of.

Sierra McCormick is – in a lot of ways – just like the
character she plays, Olive Doyle. During her audition, the topic of tigers came
up. And Sierra immediately began rattling off fact after fact after fact about
those big cats,” Dan stated. “And as I heard her continually talking about
tigers, I thought ‘That’s just how Olive would sound.’ Which is how Sierra got
that part.”

And when it came to casting Fletcher Quimby, Jake Short had just the right mix
of coolness and nervous energy to make his character the sort of artist that
boys would actually like.


(L to R) Jake Short, China Anne
McClain and Sierra McCormick. Photo by Bruce Birmelin.
Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“And once I had my core three … Well, the best part of setting a show in high
school is new students come and go all the time, substitute teachers periodically
appear. There are always ways that you can  introduce new elements which can then help
keep your show fresh,” Signer said. “But the real key to having a successful sitcom
is to make sure that you cast just the right actors as your lead roles. And
that’s just what  did with China, Sierra
and Jake.”

And clearly the folks at the Disney Channel seem to agree. Given that – based on
the strength of the first few “A.N.T. Farms” that Dan & his creative team
produced – Mouse House executives quickly bumped up their first season order
from 13 to 21 episodes.

“We’ve just finished up working on Episode 13 and are now about to get started
on Episode 14,” Signer said when we spoke on the phone last week. “And we’ve
got some genuinely fun shows in the mix for Season One. Like an ‘A.N.T. Farm’
version of ‘Ocean’s Eleven.’ Where each of these child prodigies uses their own
unique talents & abilities to help pull off a caper at school.”


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

Which – you’ll have to admit – is a definite departure from the types of
stories that the Disney Channel used to tell on “Hannah Montana.” Which is a
deliberate choice on Dan’s part.

“I think – early on – when the Disney Channel was first
getting into sitcoms, you could take advantage of the fact that kids weren’t
really all that familiar with the form. It was that much easier to entertain
them back then,” Signer said. “But now – thanks to the success of shows like ‘Hannah
Montana’ and ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ — today’s kids are far more familiar
with the sitcom formula. Which is why you now have to work that much harder to
stay ahead of that audience. Put together plots that entertain and surprise
them.”

And when I say “them,” I mean adults and children. According to Disney Channel
internal surveys, a surprising number of families are now sitting down together
to watch shows like “Good Luck Charlie” and “Shake It Up” (which, FYI, is now the
No. 1 show – year-to-date – with tween girls).


(L to R) Bella Thorne and Zendaya
on the set of the Disney
Channel hit, “Shake It Up.” Photo by Randy Holmes.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“This is why I always make a point of never writing down to the audience. I
figure that – if Mom & Dad are actually out there watching these shows with
their kids – they can then explain some of the more obscure jokes and references
to them . Which is why I always try to make the audience reach up a bit,” Dan
continued. “Besides, ‘A.N.T. Farm” isn’t a kid’s show. It’s a show about kids.
Smart kids. Child prodigies. Which is why these kids are going to tell smarter,
sharper jokes.”

But that said, Signer still sees “A.N.T. Farm” with
universal appeal. After all, who among us doesn’t remember the initial terror
associated with going to high school?

“I mean, everyone remembers what it was like when they were a freshman. When
the seniors were all so huge and you couldn’t find your way around the school.
That’s just the sort of feeling that I’m trying to tap into with ‘A.N.T. Farm,’
” Dan explained. “Only on our show, it’s Chyna who’s constantly pushing Olive
& Fletcher. Trying to get them to leave the relative safety of the A.N.T. Farm
class room. Get out and try & take advantage of every opportunity that comes
their way in high school. Because – in spite of their age and their size –
Chyna believes that Olive & Fletcher can genuinely accomplish anything.”


Chyna (China Anne McClain) looks on
as Olive (Sierra McCormick) tries out for Lexi
(Stefanie Scott)’s cheerleading
squad. Photo by Danny Feld. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights
reserved

Which – when you think about it – is a pretty great message for a TV show to
put out there for kids. And given that last Friday’s series premiere of “A.N.T
Farm” was the No. 1 TV telecast with Kids 6-11 for the week of June 13th
… It would appear that a lot of people out there share this sentiment.

So if you’d like to see the sitcom that Dan Signer built around
China Anne McClain, be sure and catch “A.N.T. Farm.” Which airs on the Disney
Channel on Friday nights from 8:30 – 9 p.m. ET / PT.

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.

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

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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  ExpertGriller.com prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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