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Myth-Communication or Mything Out on the Mouse’s Message

As we enter Week 3 of Roy Disney and Stanley Gold’s campaign to oust Michael Eisner, Jim Hill wonders: Doesn’t Disney’s CEO realize that he’s quickly emerging as the villain of this piece? And why doesn’t Michael understand that the underlying messages from the very movies that Disney makes are working to unseat him?

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It’s kind of sad, actually. But Wall Street still doesn’t seem have a clue about what’s actually going on here.

By that I mean: It’s been three weeks since Roy Disney and Stanley Gold tendered their resignations to the Walt Disney Company’s Board of Directors. And investment analysts — as they continue to eyeball what’s been going on between Disney, Gold and Michael Eisner — already seem to have settled on one pat answer when it comes to explaining how (they think) this is all going to play out: “It’s just Carla Fiorina and Walter Hewlett revisited.”

“Carly Fio-what-ie?” you say. “Walter who-lett?” Okay. It’s time for a quick non-Disney corporate history lesson: How many of you recall how — back in late 2001 — technology giant Hewlett-Packard announced its intentions to join forces with the Compaq Computer Corporation. This mega-merger was relentlessly championed by HP CEO Carly Fiorina and vocally opposed by Walter Hewlett, a member of Hewlett-Packard’s Board of Directors as well as being the son of HP’s co-founder, William Hewlett.

Early last year, these two squared off in a battle royale for the heart and soul of Hewlett-Packard. There were lawsuits, press conferences, board room battles, courthouse appearances. With Carly and Walter constantly whacking away at one another. And the business press just ate the whole thing up.

(If you’d like to learn more about Fiorina and Hewlett’s fight for control of Hewlett-Packard’s future, there are actually already two pretty good books out there that go into great detail about this boardroom brouhaha: Peter Burrows’ “Backfire: Carly Fiorina’s High-Stakes Battle for the Soul of Hewlett-Packard” [John Wiley and Sons, February 2003) which favors Carly’s side of the story, and George Ander’s “Perfect Enough: Carly Fiorina and the Reinvention of Hewlett-Packard” [Portfolio, January 2003] which tends to favor Walter’s take on the tale.)

Anyway … the end result of all this public wrangling was that — after a Delaware judge ruled that a March 19th shareholder vote (during which a majority of HP stockholders actually voted in favor of acquiring Compaq Computer) was legal — that Walter Hewlett eventually abandoned his opposition to the $19 billion merger with Compaq Computer in late April of 2002. So all that light and noise … eventually resulted in nothing much changing. That everything went back to the status-quo at HP.

So that’s the way Wall Street seems to think that this whole Roy / Stanley / Michael thing is going to eventually play out. Sure, it’ll be a fun story for the business press to cover. And financial analysts will probably get a big kick out of watching Eisner and Disney do the corporate equivalent of mud wrestling. But — in the end — nothing much is actually going to change. According to these Wall Street types, Michael’s eventually going to come out on top and — then — it’ll be back to business as usual at the Mouse Factory.

Except that … well … you see, Hewlett-Packard makes computers. And no one — not even the most hardcore computer geek — ever really felt warm-and-fuzzy about a digital imaging product.

Whereas the Walt Disney Company … well, this is the corporation that was founded on a tradition of telling stories well. This is the company that has made millions upon millions out of turning myths into major motion pictures. Creating popular pieces of entertainment that featured these incredibly powerful messages … like good will always triumph over evil. And that a few people — working together toward a common cause — can often unseat a powerful adversary.

Both Michael Eisner and Wall Street clearly doesn’t understand this part of the equation. He thinks that — as long as the stock price stays up and Disney’s investors stay in his corner — that he’ll be able to retain power. Which is why Michael has chosen to pretend that Roy and Stanley aren’t really a serious threat. And that — if he just doesn’t publicly acknowledge what Disney and Gold are saying about his leadership of the Walt Disney Company — that this whole awkward situation will eventually resolve itself peacefully. And then life at the Mouse House will go back to the way it used to be … Where Eisner’s rule was always absolute &unquestioned.

But Roy and Stanley. These guys actually understand the power of the stories that the Walt Disney Company has been spinning out for the past 70+ years. Which is why they’re secretly thrilled that Wall Street seems to have cast Disney and Gold as the underdogs in this situation. Why for? Because — if you know your Disney films — the underdog always triumphs in the end.

But you know who else understands the power of the stories that the Walt Disney Company has told over the past seven decades? David Pruiksma. David was once one of Disney’s top character animators. You know Flounder in “The Little Mermaid,” Chip in “Beauty and the Beast,” the Sultan in “Aladdin,” Flit in “Pocahontas” and Victor and Hugo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”? Well, Pruiksma helped to bring all of these memorable Disney characters to life.

The only problem was … while David was working at the very top of his game, Walt Disney Feature Animation had begun spinning into the dirt. Why for? Well, Pruiksma was probably among the first to see the handwriting on the wall. That — under Michael Eisner’s increasingly erratic management — that WDFA had lost its way. That the execs who were running this once-legendary division of Walt Disney Studios weren’t all really interested in telling good stories and/or in making great movies anymore. That all these suits cared about was making a buck.

Which is why — after nearly 20 years of pushing a pencil for Disney — David came to the extremely difficult decision that he’d have to leave WDFA. That he couldn’t just idly stand by and watch what he loved be dismantled by a bunch of accountants masquerading as creative executives.

Mind you, Pruiksma did NOT go quietly. In May of 2001, as he made his exit from the studio that he had called home for almost two decades, David fired off a blistering e-mail to many of his friends at the Disney Company, “A Farewell to the Mouse.” Which (I think you’ll agree) does a pretty succinct job of summing up all that this talented animator thought had been going wrong at the Mouse Factory over the past few years.

And — in the months that followed — Dave continued to use his website, “Dave’s Luncheonette,” — to criticize the current management team at the Walt Disney Company. Last year, animation fans got a particularly large kick out of Pruiksma’s parable about the “Demise of the Disney (that) we all love,” an article entitled “The Emperor’s New Greed: A Not So Silly Symphony.”

Given that Pruiksma was among the first to openly criticize Disney Company management, is it really any surprise that Dave was among the first to rush to Roy Disney’s aid after Walt’s nephew announced that he was resigning from the Mouse House. Less than 40 hours after Roy had tendered his resignation, David — along with his colleagues, Steve Moore and Tim Hauser — had crafted an on-line letter of support for Disney and Gold’s cause. Which they then fired off in all directions around the web, asking any and any members of the animation community to come forward and express their support for what Roy and Stanley were trying to do.

And then … Well, something truly extraordinary happened. In just a few days time, over 4200 people came forward and agreed to attach their names to Hauser, Moore and Pruiksma’s letter of support. And we’re not just talking about weenies like yours truly (though — in the spirit of full disclosure — I guess I should point out that I was the 22nd person to sign this petition), but real giants of the entertainment industry.

“Like who?” you ask. Well, here’s just a partial list of the folks that I’m sure Disneyana fans will recognize:

Tom Bancroft
Tony Bancroft
James Baxter
Alice Davis
Gaetan Brizzi
Paul Brizzi
Brenda Chapman
Michael Gabriel
Harrison Ellenshaw
Ollie Johnston
Bill Kroyer
Sue Kroyer
Frank Thomas
Gary Trousdale
Tom Sito

Look at that list, folks. If you were to harness the talents of just the 15 people that I’ve listed above (which includes two of Walt’s “Nine Old Men” as well as some of the top animators, directors and story people working today), you would probably be able to create the greatest animated film of all time.

Yet these folks are just the tip of the iceberg. Over 4200 other animation fans and professionals came forward — totally disregarding any possible impact that signing this petition might have on their futures in the entertainment industry. Why for? Because they felt that it was important to Sign Tim, Steve and David’s letter and show their support for Roy and Stanley’s cause.

And — in addition to the people who signed the Pruiksma petition — I’m told that over 5500 other folks have written directly to Roy and Stanley at their www.savedisney.com website. Offering words of encouragement, leading their support for Disney and Gold’s campaign to oust Eisner.

And yet Michael Eisner remains silent, hidden away in his ivory tower in beautiful downtown Burbank. Disney’s embattled CEO has yet to publicly acknowledge that Roy and Stanley are even out there, actively seeking to end his reign. Which just reinforces — to those of us who are watching this drama unfold, anyway — how truly clueless, isolated and detached Eisner seem to be these days. While the animation community as well as Disneyana fans from around the globe eagerly sign up to join Disney and Gold’s army, Michael remains mute.

MEMO TO MICHAEL: It’s time to come down out of your tower. Better yet, go pull a few of the feature length animated films that the Walt Disney Company produced during your tenure out of the vault and actually take a look at them. You need to understand that the myths that your corporation has sold the public over the past 7 decades are extremely powerful. And that — while you may actually not believe in any of these stories, Michael — Disney shareholders and the public at large still do. Which is why they continue to pull for good to triumph over evil, why they enjoy seeing the greedy and the powerful made humble.

Like it or not, Michael, you’re in the process as being painted as the villain of this piece. And Roy and Stanley are rapidly emerging as the underdogs of this tale. Which is why — unless you want to replicate Gaston’s untimely demise from “Beauty and the Beast” (I.E. a painful fall from a very great height) — you have to end your silence ASAP. Publicly acknowledge what Disney and Gold are doing. Get your side of the story out there.

Otherwise … well … you could end up mything the boat.

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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