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Meanwhile, Back at the Mouse House …

Jim Hill tries to bring us all up to speed about what’s gone on over the past week of so with the whole Roy / Stanley / Michael situation. As you might expect, things have gotten even more confusing and convoluted …

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Last Thursday, JimHillMedia.com ran an article which basically said that the folks over at “Save Disney” had bobbled many of the opportunities that were available to them during the month of March. That — as a result of all these missed opportunities — that Roy Disney and Stanley Gold’s effort to unseat Disney CEO Michael Eisner had actually lost ground since that dramatic shareholders’ meeting in Philadelphia back on March 3rd.

Well, it appears that the “Save Disney” people may have taken that JHM article to heart. For Roy and Stanley are finally on the move again.

Want proof? Then let’s talk about Shamrock Holdings’ decision last week to quietly sell off a significant number of shares that that firm held in Tadiran Communications, an Israeli defense contactor.

Back in March, Seth Lubove of “Forbes” Magazine — in his March 15th “Disney Sinergy” article — began asking questions about Shamrock’s holdings in Tadiran Communications, whose wireless equipment makes it that much easier for the Israeli Army to keep tabs on the Palestinians. When Lubove suggested that it was somewhat unseemly that Walt’s nephew should be profiting off of all the strife in the Middle East, Gold responded by saying “We’re not making bombs or things that kill people.”

Still, Seth’s line of questioning must have struck a nerve with the folks at Shamrock. Which is why — rather than leave themselves open to a potentially embarrassing line of questioning from the media once “Round 2” of the “Save Disney” effort officially got underway — Shamrock Holdings quietly began to reduce its stake in Tadiran Communications. The company sold off more than 29 million shekels ($1 = ILS4.5150) worth of shares in the military communications company just last week. And Shamrock reportedly plans to sell off even more of its Tadiran shares in the future.

“Given the money that Shamrock was making off of that Israeli communications company, selling off those shares had to hurt,” said one Wall Street insider. “But — in the long run — that was really the smart thing for Roy and Stanley to do. Disney and Gold have to remain the good guys in this situation. They have to appear to be better people than Eisner if ‘Save Disney’ ‘s ultimately going to succeed. Roy and Stanley can’t afford to leave themselves open to any sort of criticism right now. So — if reporters were already sniffing around Tadiran — it really was the smart thing to do to dump those shares now.”

Once that potentially embarrassing situation was dealt with, the “Save Disney” folks began moving forward with phase two of their plan. Which was to announce — this past Wednesday — that Disney and Gold would soon sue the Walt Disney Company in order to gain access to the official results of the March 3rd shareholders vote on Michael Eisner’s re-election.

“Yeah. What’s all that about?” you ask. Well, the info that Roy and Stanley are particularly eager to get their hands on are the vote tallies from participants in Disney’s own pension plan. To find out how many of the Walt Disney Company’s own employees thought that Michael was doing a poor job at CEO and needed to be removed ASAP.

According to people I’ve spoken with in Burbank, this number may be astoundingly high. With well over 70% of the participants in Disney’s pension plan who chose to vote their proxy in this past shareholder election opposing the idea of Michael’s re-election.

Clearly, once this info gets out, it will be hugely embarrassing for Eisner. Which is obviously why Disney Company management has been dragging its feet for weeks now. Deliberately delaying the release of this info. Trying to put as much distance as it can between the 43.4% withhold vote that Michael got at the shareholders meeting back and whatever percentage of participants in Disney’s own pension plan said that Eisner must go.

(What’s particularly galling about all this — to Eisner, anyway — is that Disney’s CEO actually made an extra effort to try and reconnect with cast members late last year. This is why Michael made an appearance at Disneyland’s employee Christmas party in December. This is also why Eisner spent New Years in Orlando, glad-handing as many cast members as he could at Animal Kingdom and Epcot. Trying to come across as the sort of CEO who really cared about what the front line crew was going through. It’s just too bad for Michael that this empty gesture came across as just that. An empty gesture …)

As for what Eisner’s next move will be … Right now, Michael is concentrating on making the Mouse some money. Doing everything he can to improve Disney’s bottom line. So that Eisner will have plenty of good news to share with investment analysts next month when they chat — by phone — at the Walt Disney Company’s next quarterly earnings conference call.

That’s why — just prior to the start of the April school vacation period (traditionally one of the busiest times, attendance-wise, at the stateside Disney theme parks) — Eisner decided to raise ticket prices at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Mind you, we’re not talking about Disney’s typical creeping-the-price-up-a-buck-a-year maneuver. Eisner rolled out the biggest ticket-price increase in the past 15 years. With the cost of a one-day, one-park adult admission jumping 5% from $52.00 to $54.75 (before tax) for Disney World visitors, and Disneyland ticket prices taking a similar jump (Now $49.75 for adults and $39.75 for children).

This price increase — coupled with record attendance levels this week at Disney’s Anaheim and Orlando resorts (twice already this week, two of Disney World’s theme parks have had to close their gates because they reached capacity) — should give Michael something to crow about at next month’s quarterly earnings conference call.

As for ABC … that television remains a stone around Eisner’s neck. Now fourth place in the ratings race (trailing behind CBS, NBC and Fox in households, total viewers and that crucial adults 18-49 demographic), ABC is clearly in need of some drastic change. Which is why network chairman Lloyd Braun has reportedly been asked to vacate his post. As to who might replace Braun … among the names that are being floated are Anne Sweeney, president of the ABC Cable Network and Mark Shapiro, ESPN’s executive vice president in charge of programming and production.

Of course, to hear the folks over “Save Disney” talk, all of this frantic maneuvering that Disney’s management is doing right now amounts to little more than re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. “The key problem is Eisner,” say Roy and Stanley’s people. “He has to go.”

Well … That idea would probably be a whole lot easier to sell if there had been some sort of radical fluctuation in Disney’s stock price. Which would clearly indicate that Wall Street had lost confidence in the Walt Disney Company’s current management team. But that hasn’t happened. Throughout the month of March, the stock’s price bobbled back and forth between a high of $26.70 and a low of $24.24.

Mind you, the stock’s relatively low price and middling performance over the past 30 days isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of the Mouse House’s current management team. But — at the same time — the very fact that Disney’s stock price HASN’T gone in the toilet since March 3rd speaks volumes about what Wall Street really think of Disney and Gold’s “Save Disney” effort.

“Roy and Stanley really had Wall Street’s attention at the start of March, Jim,” continued our unnamed insider. “But then they never followed through. Never told us what Phase Two of their plan was. Which is why the investment community isn’t really paying attention to what “Save Disney’ is doing right now. They’re more interested in hearing what comes out of the Disney Corporate retreat later this month.”

That two day retreat — which will supposedly involve all of the members of Disney’s board of directors meeting in private to discuss what the future of the Walt Disney Company will be — will reportedly be held at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort Hotel the weekend after Easter. Among the activities that are scheduled for Disney’s board members are a private after-hours preview of DCA’s soon-to-be-opened new thrill ride, “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.”

Of course, what would probably make life a lot easier for Roy, Stan and the “Save Disney” crew would be if Eisner and the board — while riding “Tower of Terror” — were to get sucked into an alternate dimension. But somehow … I don’t think that that’s going to happen.

“So what WILL happen next?” you query. I predict (and let’s remember that my predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, I’m the guy who reported — back on February 26th — that the “Save Disney” folks were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to get more than 15% of the proxy vote. And we all remember how THAT turned out, don’t we? Anyway …) that this threat-of-taking-the-Walt-Disney-Company-to-court-to-release-those-pension-funds-numbers is just the start of the legal maneuvers that Shamrock Holdings is going to try. I think that — sometime over the next three months — that we’ll see Roy and Stanley reach for their old Polaroid playbook and then …

Well, I’m pretty sure that attorneys with ties to the “Save Disney” effort will argue that the board of directors of the Walt Disney Company have clearly ignored the will of the corporation’s shareholders. That — rather than bring about the radical change that Disney’s stockholders were asking for — the company’s board of directors have made these tepid, half hearted moves to give the illusion of real change. EX: Having Michael Eisner give up the role of chairman of the Walt Disney Company, making him just the CEO of the corporation. But then basically negating that change by making George Mitchell, a man who’s been rumored to be in Eisner’s pocket right from the get-go, the company’s new CEO.

If this really is the strategy that Roy and Stanley are thinking of rolling out, then the pressure’s really on Disney’s board of directors during this month’s two-day retreat. When they exit this meeting, Mouse House managers had better have a pretty clear message for the media about how things are going to change in the board room … Or I can see the “Save Disney” people bringing this whole sorry affair up before a judge in Delaware in the not-so-distant future.

Again, I know. That’s probably not the big dramatic finish that most of you were hoping for. A lot of you who have written to me over the past four weeks seem surprised that Eisner wasn’t out on his ass just days after the meeting in Philadelphia. That’s not how the business world works, people. There are a lot of variables involved here. Some of which (I hope) I’ve brought you up to speed with with today’s articles.

Of course, if some of you have other aspects of this whole somewhat bizarre situation that you think that JHM readers need to be aware of, feel free to post them over on the site’s discussion boards.

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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