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Disney conjures up a modern-day “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”

Leo N. Holzer shares what Nicolas Cage, Jon Turteltaub and Jay Baruchel had to say at about this new Jerry Bruckheimer production at WonderCon 2010

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For several generations, Disney’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” has been best known as one of the most famous sequences in animation and for its iconic image of Mickey Mouse.

But Nicolas Cage, director Jon Turteltaub and producer Jerry Bruckheimer may soon change all that, especially among younger movie viewers who’ve never seen the 1941 masterpiece “Fantasia.”

“Obviously, we’re not going to do a cartoon for two hours with a mop, but it does play in the story,” Turteltaub said recently during a promotional visit to WonderCon with Bruckheimer, Cage, and costars Jay Baruchel and Teresa Palmer.

“As you may know, Nic really developed this,” Turteltaub continued. “Nic hired me, he came to me and when we talked about it, the notion of taking advantage of CG and new technology to do this was great. That’s the excitement of it. But we also spent a lot of time looking at the cinematography of ‘Fantasia’ and in wardrobe and things like that to suggest a nod to
‘Fantasia.’ ”

Cage always wanted to play a magician, a sorcerer and he was talking about this desire with producer Todd Garner while they were working on ‘Next.’”

According to Cage, Garner returned the next day and said, “‘Hey, Nic, I’ve got it. Let’s do ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice.’ ”

Then Cage went to his business partner at the time, Norm Golightly, and the two of them put together a script.

Copyright 2010 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Once Cage and Golightly had a script in hand, they thought “who would really put this on the fast track and give it panache and big entertainment style? Nobody better than Jerry Bruckheimer,” Cage said. “So we went to Jerry and being the good friend and great producer that he is, he read it and said, ‘hey you know what, we’re doing it.’ ”

Bruckheimer already had a successful film development deal with Disney, producing not only Cage’s earlier films like “The Rock” and “National Treasure,” but also the wildly popular “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.

At that point in time, Cage had just recently completed work on “National Treasure 2,” calling it a “great experience.” So he turned to Turteltaub, the “only man who could really do it and make (‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’) unique … and bring the comedy and humor into it and make it really connect with big audiences, like kids and adults. And that’s how it happened.”

Bruckheimer added, Turteltaub “is an amazing, brilliant director who also finds humor in just about anything and that’s what we love about him.”

And, turning the compliment back on Bruckheimer, Cage said “one of the things I love about Jerry is that he is always looking for the X-factor or the Y-factor in the formula. I think one of the reasons he has this genius ability to make these movies so successful is that he looks for actors who provide alternative ways of delivering dialog or alternative contributions
that give that X-factor or Y-factor. He puts it in a formula that appeals to a lot of people all over the world.”

“I always prefer working with my friends,” Cage continued. “And hopefully when I work with new people I can become friends and make new friends. But there’s a shorthand when I work
with Jerry, when I work with Jon. I know what to expect, so we get a lot done very quickly. We trust each other. There’s a confidence level and a comfort level there. I can get to set and know what’s expected of me.”

In the film, Cage plays Balthazar Blake, a “very cool sorcerer” who’s been alive for centuries waiting for the right person to take his place. Baruchel plays Dave, a college student who becomes Balthazar’s “apprentice”; Palmer plays Becky, Dave’s budding romantic interest; and Alfred Molina plays the dark sorcerer, Maxim Horvath.

Nicolas Cage in Disney’s “Sorcerers’ Apprentice.” Photo by Robert Zuckerman. Copyright 2010 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Buckheimer, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Balthazar “needs desperately to find this apprentice to take over and become the next great sorcerer or really bad stuff is going to happen,” Turteltaub said. “And bad stuff does happen; but there’s good stuff, too.

“This movie is massive. It’s certainly the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” Turteltaub said, responding to another question. “There are well over 1,000 visual effects shots in this movie, a lot of CG and all of it to serve this notion that magic is alive and well, that sorcery is alive and well today in New York City.

“We don’t want the movie to be so unrealistic that there’s nothing to grab onto. You don’t want it to be, ‘oh, look at the cool visual effects’ and who cares about the story, the characters. What you want is a movie that feels very real. Then the magic feels like it’s entering our lives and we can all relate to it.”

But what about that famous sequence with Mickey Mouse and the mops?

Well, displaying his wit during a press conference punctuated by laughter, Turteltaub said, “Mickey Mouse wasn’t available and Jay was cheaper (but) not a lot.”

“… There’s a segment of the movie that somewhat recreates that relevant section (of ‘Fantasia’). We didn’t want just to do a little nod and say, aren’t we cute, here’s a little nod to ‘Fantasia.’ We wanted to make it have some sort of relevance to the plot.

“Part of our feeling was that if we try to do exactly what they did (in ‘Fantasia’), we could get slammed. … You certainly can’t take that piece and do a better version than that. And the same time, that was a 2D cartoon vs. a live-action movie and now we have 3D effects.

Nicolas Cage (L) and Alfred Molina in Disney’s “Sorcerers’ Apprentice.” Photo by Abbott Genser. Copyright 2010 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Buckheimer, Inc. All Rights Reserved

“So what can we do? As long as it’s integral to the story and is part of the story, then it’s OK. Then it makes sense. It’s not just paying lip service to it,” Turteltaub said. “We just had to use it and the way to make it part of the movie is that you have Jay Baruchel himself dealing with it and using people in green suits pretending to be mops.”

Turteltaub explained that the mop sequence is used to illustrate how the magic has gotten ahead of Dave and how he’s not quite ready to use it. It also “screws up a big date” that Dave was planning with Becky.

“I will infuse any part I’m playing with physical comedy,” Baruchel said. “So when I get to do something to pay homage to one of the great funny sequences in film history, I was just champing at the bit. I tried my best to give my respects to that sequence and what Mickey did, but to do my own thing as well.”

Cage was asked about creating Balthazar, which may become one of his more memorable wild characters.

“Listen, actors work with their look,” he said. “I come from the Lon Chaney Sr. school of acting. I want to transform myself every time I can. I’ll wear a wig, nose pieces, I’ll wear a green contact lens in my eye. I’ll do whatever I need to do to create a character. That’s what it’s about. That’s the fun of it. And I wanted Balthazar to have a look like, well Jerry
says it’s like an ancient rock star, but he has that cool style that harkens back to the 500s or 600s, which is where he came from. Merlin was his teacher. So I wanted him to have that look of an ancient magician when you meet him in New York City.

“When you’re playing supernatural characters, like ‘Ghost Rider,’ ‘City of Angels,’ ‘Next’ and now ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice,’ there’s an infinite number of possibilities that you can do with the character,” later adding that all of his characters “have a glint of madness in them.”

Supernatural stories can also provide “really wonderful entertainment for the whole family,” Cage said. “You don’t have a high body count, you don’t have to if that’s not to your tastes. The children and the parents can congregate together and … share that experience. And it
entertains the adults as much as the kids. You can do that with a film like ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice.’ ”

Nicolas Cage (L) and Jay Baruchel in Disney’s “Sorcerers’ Apprentice.” Photo by Abbot Genser. Copyright 2010 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Buckheimer, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Baruchel was thrilled to be co-starring alongside Cage as someone with supernatural powers.

“Playing a magician is something I’ve been waiting to do my whole life,” Baruchel said. “ … All acting is play acting. It’s all cops and robbers. And when I was a kid, if I wasn’t playing cops and robbers, I was playing superheroes or something, flying around and killing monsters and
shooting energy from my hands. So I have been waiting my whole life to get a chance to do something like this. And the role also lends itself to doing what I like to do, which is pratfalls, standing awkwardly and getting to shoot plasma out of my hands at the same time. It was a marriage of my two passions.

“Nic is one of the great actors of our time … and he has such a unique distinct way of
doing everything. So, to be in conversation with him, let alone doing scenes with the man that I grew up watching in movies … it wasn’t lost on me. And I just get on with him so well,” Baruchel said.

“The legacy of this movie for me is that I walked away with two pretty great friends in Teresa and Nic and I really enjoy their company. So the most fun to be had by me, aside from shooting the plasma, was being able to talk nerdy stuff with Nic.”

“That’s so true … everything he said, because we had great conversations,” Cage interjected. “Teresa and Jay had more to do than I did and I spent most of my time with Jay. I got to know Teresa a little later on and she’s a marvelous actress and also a really good friend. She’s terrific in the movie. But Jay and I have a lot of similar interests, we both like mythology and history and have an open mind about things and possibilities.”

“We’re both odd birds,” Baruchel said.

“Yeah, we are,” Cage added.

Finally, I asked Cage — a fan and student of Walt Disney’s life — about what becoming one of Disney’s stable of stars with the “National Treasure” films and now “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” meant to him.

“I’m honored,” he said. “I feel greatly privileged. I call him to myself Uncle Walt. I grew up watching his movies. I love what he stands for … I like the entertainment that comes out of that studio. In the spirit of Disney, it truly is a dream come true. It’s magical.”

The Sorcerer’s
Apprentice
” opens July 16.

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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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