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Sherman Brothers honored with their very own Window on Main Street at Disneyland

Shelly Smith reports in from The Happiest Place on Earth. Where – this past Thursday morning – the Company paid tribute to these two Disney Legends

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Given the strong positive reaction that Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman’s Window on Main Street ceremony received this past Thursday morning, Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis remarked “ … we should open the Park like this every day.”

But – then again — how could you not love an event that starts off with a chimney sweep appearing on Main Street USA, singing a rewritten version of “Chim Chim Cheree.” Which included the lines:

Room here for everyone, gather around The Shermans determined each marvelous sound These brothers composed every rhythm and rhyme With spoons full of sugar and steps in time

Photo by Shelly Smith

Yes, this was a truly special day at Disneyland. As Kalogridis continued:

It’s a privilege to be here as we honor two genuine Disney Legends – Richard M. & Robert B. Sherman — with one of the highest honors bestowed at The Walt Disney Company, their every own Window on Main Street USA.

Sadly, Robert wasn’t able to make the trip over from London. But Richard was. And to the tune of “Fortuosity,” this Sherman Brother made his entrance by rolling on stage in an antique roadster.

Photo by Shelly Smith

Once Richard had taken his seat, George continued his opening remarks. Reflecting on how the Sherman Brothers first met Walt Disney back in July of 1960. And from that one fateful meeting (where Walt offered Dick & Bob the chance to write a song for “The Parent Trap”), the Sherman
Brothers would then go on to write more motion picture scores than any other songwriters in the history of film.

George went on, talking about Disney’s obvious affection for the Sherman Brothers:

Walt fondly referred to them as “the boys.” He valued their talent, their enthusiasm and their can-do attitude. Whether for film, television or his theme parks, Walt knew that the Sherman Brothers would create the perfect tunes to underscore his dreams.

George Kalogridis, President of Disneyland. Photo by Shelly Smith

And then – as if to emphasize this point – Kalogridis then introduced flesh-and-blood versions of the Mother & Father AA figures from “Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress” attraction.

All of the Disneyland veterans & Imagineers in attendance at this Window of Main Street ceremony seemed to really get a kick out of this portion of the event. And given all the Disney theme park in-jokes …

MOTHER: After moving here from New York and after living in Tomorrowland for about six years, we thought that we’d really been around …

Photo by Shelly Smith

FATHER: And around and around and around … But it wasn’t til we finally sold the place to that singing eagle and his little owl

… it was easy to understand why.

After a brief intro, Mother & Father then launched into song. Performing a medley of all the tunes that the Sherman Brothers had written for the Disney Parks. And – in true synergistic fashion – they even managed to work in a plug for DCA’s soon-to-be-opening nighttime extravaganza, “Disney’s World of Color.”

Photo by Shelly Smith

Once Mother & Father finished their performance, it was time for Tom Schumacher – the President of the Disney Theatrical Group – to come to the podium. And speaking on behalf of all the baby boomers in the audience, Schumacher said:

If you grew up … in the last half of the 20th Century, you were raised by the Sherman Brothers. They educated you. They delighted you. They entertained you. They enlighted you.

Thomas went on to talk about his own Sherman Brothers-related memories. How he caught “Mary Poppins” during its original engagement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. And then how – many decades later – when he met with Dick at Beverly Hills’s fabled Polo Lounge and said “So whaddaya think? ‘Poppins’ on Broadway?,” he watched as Sherman’s legendary smile started at one ear and then wrapped all the way ‘round to the other.

Tom Schumacher, President of Disney Theatrical Group. Photo by Shelly Smith

Schumacher (who’s clearly a Sherman Brothers enthusiast) offered up his own theories as to why Dick & Bob’s music is so popular, so lasting:

I think that it’s got a number of factors.  One is that (a Sherman Brothers song) touches you in the heart, and then it touches you in the mind. But it sounds like an old friend the first time you hear it.

And speaking of old friends … Tom then introduced Marty Sklar, the former head of Imagineering (Who – as Schumacher quipped – allegedly retired from the Company last July but “ … there’s not a person here that’s buying that for a minute”). And Marty – who actually worked with Dick & Bob on many attractions for the Parks – was quite eloquent. Talking about how it would be impossible to …

Disney Legend Marty Sklar. Photo by Shelly Smith

… imagine Disneyland without the beautiful background music of “Summer Magic” here on Main Street? Or the beautiful “Feed the Birds” when you shop in the Emporium? Or the unspellable “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” when you ride the Carousel in Fantasyland? … (These) two brothers wrote tunes that will last as long as there are Disneylands and Worlds somewhere on our
truly small planet.

As Sklar stepped away from the podium, it was then Tom Staggs (i.e. the new Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts)‘s turn to speak. And Staggs was clearly not thrilled to be following two gifted storytellers like Schumacher and Sklar, deadpanning:

I think – as they were staging this (Windows on Main Street ceremony) – they said that “We’re going to need two Legends and a Suit.” Guess who I am?

Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Photo by Shelly Smith

Still, Tom soldiered on. Talking about how Walt himself had started the Windows on Main Street tradition, as he sought to pay tribute to those who helped to make his dream a reality. And for the two Disney Legends that were being honored this past Thursday morning, Staggs remarked:

Richard & Robert Sherman are two people who have truly earned this honor … Their contributions – as you’ve heard – have touched every facet of our Company. It’s indeed a fact that the sun never sets on the music of the Sherman Bros. Which is daily heard on theme parks from Anaheim to Orlando to Tokyo to Paris & Hong Kong. They’re the ideal songwriters for a
Company like Disney. They possess an enduring optimism that permeates every measure of their work. They also have the uncanny ability to bring Disney stories to life through music in both a magical and memorable way.

And speaking of memorable … One of the more memorable moments from the Sherman Brothers’ Window on Main Street ceremony came when Mother & Father came backstage onstage. Where – thanks to “… thanks to progress and this state-of-the-art technology (i.e. a vintage table radio from the 1930s),” we heard a voice from across the sea.

Photo by Shelly Smith

Mind you, it took Mother & Father a moment or two to properly tune in that signal. And while they were cruising around the dial, we heard songs from some of the Sherman Brothers’ non-Disney films like “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Magic of Lassie.” But then – clear as a bell, coming all the way from London – was Robert B. Sherman’s voice. Who said:

It is such a thrill to be honored in this way with a Window on Main Street, Disneyland. To be woven into the unique fabric of this place, the Happiest Place on Earth, is a truly magnificent and humbling thing. It’s an enduring legacy and an acknowledgment of the work that my brother Richard and I have contributed. And it is a testament to the notion that — with a little
inspiration and a lot of perspiration — dreams can become manifest.

This brand of Disney optimism and self determination is uniquely American. And it has been carried forward since the days of our founding fathers and was the very embodiment of Walt Disney himself. Our teacher, our mentor.

(L to R) Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman and Walt Disney circa 1963. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

50 years ago, my brother and I were first welcomed into the greater Disney family by Walt himself. Today would not be complete without thanking Walt for giving us two young songwriters our first big break. Thanks, Walt.

Lastly, I’d like to thank and acknowledge my brother Richard. We see each other only once or twice a year in one city or another. London or New York, sometimes LA. But I can think of no greater collaborator, no better balance to me. Thank you, Richard for the lifetime shared
together and to everyone for the legacy being honored here today.

At this point, Richard M. Sherman made his way to the podium. Clearly undone by his brother’s unexpectedly kind words, he took a moment to collect himself. Then Dick launched into a story about his very first trip to Disneyland. How his old pal, Magic Castle founder Milt Larsen – sensing that this then-fledgling songwriter was feeling a bit blue – said “What you doing next week on Wednesday?”

Photo by Shelly Smith

And the next thing Dick knew, he was …

… in a little car. And we drove forever to this place called Anaheim. And as we turned off the highway, there was this sign that said “Disneyland.” And I said “Oh, yeah. That’s that thing. I heard about this when I was in the Army.” This was about three months after the Park had opened. As soon as I walked in from the parking lot, all of the problems and pressures that I had been feeling just slipped away …

Sherman remembered that he had had a perfectly wonderful time at Disneyland during his very first visit to the Park. But a more memorable occasion came in the 1960s when Dick was visiting the Happiest Place on Earth with his wife, Elizabeth. They were just getting ready to head back
home when they noticed a lone figure standing at the end of Main Street USA. It was Walt Disney.

Photo by Noe Valladolid

Sherman felt compelled to go up to his boss and tell Disney about what a wonderful time he and his wife had had that day at Disneyland, gushing that …

… As Tinker Bell flew over the castle and the fireworks exploded, I teared up. Happy tears. And then Walt confessed “I do that every time too.”

He was the greatest fan of this Park. Walt Disney himself.

As Dick closed out his remarks, Sherman quoted a lyric that he and his brother had written for the George Banks character in “Mary Poppins.” When the then-demoralized banker was telling Bert the chimney sweep that “ … a man has dreams of walking with giants. To carve his niche in the edifice of time.”

Photo by Noe Valladolid

Now gesturing to the window behind him in the storefront of Main Street USA’s 20th Century Music Company (which reads: “Two Brothers Tunemakers”), Sherman said “Well, I think now Bob & I carved our niche.”

Then – stepping over to a white grand piano – Dick played Walt’s favorite song, “Feed the Birds.” After that, Sherman was joined onstage by face character versions of Mary Poppins, Bert, the Pearly Band and even a few penguins. And as kites suddenly appeared in the skies over Main Street USA, the ceremony closed out with a performance of that Sherman Brothers favorite, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

In short, this Window on Main Street ceremony was a practically perfect tribute / celebration of the life & works of Richard M. & Robert M. Sherman. And it was a genuine thrill to be on hand when Dick & Bob finally got their window.

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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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