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Wednesdays with Wade: Ward Kimball — The First Escapader?

Wade Sampson really dug down deep through his pile of vintage press clippings in order to unearth this classic interview with a Disney Legend



What kind of man reads “Playboy”? Obviously a much different fellow than the one in the Fifties and Sixties where that was a catch phrase for Hugh Hefner’s magazine. The answer, of course, was someone who lived the “Playboy Philosophy” as parodied in a fairly recent episode of “The Simpsons” where Bart and Milhouse discover Homer’s old “Playboy” magazines with all the naked pictures cut out by Marge leaving only the “Playboy” lifestyle writings of Hefner.

With the success of “Playboy” other men’s magazines tried and failed to capture that same spirit and allure that only the most sophisticated of gentlemen who appreciated fine wine and jazz would be worthy of looking at the topless photos of well-fed and overly made-up women in the magazine. One of those magazines was “Escapade” and in its January 1957 issue it gave it first “Escapader” award to someone they felt demonstrated all those qualities of someone who read the magazine: Disney animator Ward Kimball.

As the magazine itself explained:

“From time to time, the Editors of ‘Escapade’ have received letters from readers asking us to define the term ‘Escapader’. We have tried to offer an acceptable definition on a few occasions and, of course, the contents of ‘Escapade’ are selected with the objective of pleasing the men (and women) we conceive to be ‘Escapaders’…..Life offers opportunities for all sorts of escapades (lower case): mental, emotional, physical. The ‘Escapader’ is the man who lives; who gets a lot out of life and contributes a lot in return. That’s probably the best definition. We’ll admit that Ward is an exceptional personality, but basically the motives which move him are those which move all ‘Escapaders’…. On the rare occasions when such remarkable specimens come to our attention, we intend to bestow upon them the accolade of ‘Escapader *** Laude’ with a golden key denoting the honor. In the following article we take great pleasure in presenting our first ‘Escapder *** Laude’.”

So in Ward’s collections of awards that include some Academy Awards is the now forgotten “Escapader *** Laude.” Accompanying the announcement was an article about a Sunday afternoon at Ward’s house written by “the Editors” and in the interests of Disney animation history, here is an excerpt from that article covering some material about Ward that has never appeared in print anywhere else:

An astronomer of some ability, Ward possesses a six-inch, motor-driven telescope through which he and his family peer at the stars and planets.

Anyone associated with Walt Disney must be able to reach the minds of children and therefore must understand them. Here again, Ward is an eminently qualified man, being the father of three of the nicest, best-looking kids around: Kelly, a delightful sixteen-year-old blonde who will be graduated from high school this year; Johnny, a clever and energetic fifteen, and Chloe, a dimimutive ten, who is cute as a button and bright as they come. The fabulous Kimball home in peaceful San Gabriel, a Los Angeles suburb is generally jammed to the rafters with young people of all ages.

The adjective “fabulous” is used here advisedly. Everything about the Kimball name draws appreciative exclamations from first-time guests, including the very gracious and lovely Mrs. Kimball, the former Betty Lawyer to whom Ward has been happily married for eighteen years. They met when the Disney Studio was located on Hyperion Street in Los Angeles and both were young animators.

Sharing attention with Mrs. Kimball, the children and Ward is the home itself. In California style, it is all on one level, separated from the semi-rural street by a wide lawn dotted with trees. The living room, together with the dining area, is huge. It has to be–it’s usually as crowded as an ant colony with teenagers and younger people, who are much less orderly than ants. When sitting room on divans and chairs runs out, they sprawl on the floor; they make themselves familiarly at home around the icebox and watch their favorite tv shows without interference from the elder Kimballs. It’s a happy atmosphere.

Wings of the home embrace a large swimming pool, heated for comfortable use all year round; there’s a ping-pong table in the patio, and the big scope also draws much attention.

The Kimball grounds occupy more than two acres, and it’s all in use. A full-sized narrow-gauge railroad track runs from a barn like roundhouse at the rear of the property more than a hundred yards to the rear of the house, and three beautifully restored Baldwin steam locomotives, bright with brass and paint, haul an old-fashioned coach, a caboose and a flat car the length of the roadbed. Midway between the roundhouse and the end of the track there is one of those small, yellow, gingerbready stations familiar to travelers in the western United States; it was brought piece-by-piece from a little town in Colorado. Two of the engines are of the type used on Hawaiian sugar plantations; the other larger one once ran between a couple of mining towns on the Nevada Central.

In a low garage, Ward parks his Thunderbird, an MG and a family station wagon, all new and gleaming alongside a large fire engine, a small hose car, a Maxwell “fire chief’s” car and a Model T touring car, all of early vintage and all in sparkling running order. They are familiar sights in Southern California parades, generally loaded down with wildly blowing Firehouse Five musicians who all share Ward’s enthusiasm for offbeat kicks.

When Ward isn’t occupied with his demanding chores at Disney’s, he’s playing a show or dance date with the Firehouse Five, or building a model solar system with Johnny, or helping Kelly with her high school homework, or trying to beat Chloe at ping pong, or swimming in the pool, or entertaining guests, or being entertained by one of his multitudinous friends, or taking a trip, or visiting a nightclub, or firing up one of his team engines, or engaging in serious painting, or listening to the hi-fi, or looking at television, or previewing one of his movies, or watching the stars through his telescope, or adding to his extensive collection of model trains and children’s toys dating from the early Nineteenth Century, or constructing a mobile, or–but you get the idea. Ward’s a busy and happy man.

Whether or not a recent sunny Sunday afternoon at the Kimball home was typical remains a question, but it was illuminating. There were writers and photographers on hand, representing two national magazines; there were about fifteen teenagers watching a professional football game on television; there was a large crowd of adults, some of whom apparently were strangers to the Kimballs and came without invitation, and a swarm of kids. Among these was the pixie-like Chloe, wearing a bathing suit and clambering, for some reason, on the roof of the house with a “special” girl friend, similarly clad.

Through all of this confusion and hi-de-ho, Ward and Betty moved calmly and with gracious poise. There was nothing in their attitude that would indicate they felt that this was in any way unusual.

There is a working windmill on the Kimball property with old-fashioned wooden blades. Ward spotted it one night while he was driving to keep a dance date with two other members of the Firehouse five, in the yard of a small ranch.

Recognizing it as a genuine antique, Ward decided he must have it. Over the protests of his two passengers, who pointed out they were already late for their engagement, Ward pulled up in front of the small ranchhouse and went to the door. A woman answered.

“I asked her if the windmill was for sale,” Ward relates, “She replied that it probably was, as she and her husband had recently installed a gasoline-engined water pump. We were making progress toward a deal, when suddenly her attitude changed and she started closing the door in my face, slowly.

“I was puzzled, and then I heard a slight sound behind me. I looked over my shoulder and there were two members of the Firehouse Five, wearing a couple of the porter’s caps we use in a novelty number.

” ‘Come along, fella’, one of them said in a soothing, coaxing voice. ‘Come along now. We’ll get you a windmill.’

“Come to think of it, who but an escaped lunatic would go shopping for old windmills at nine p.m.? The lady obviously thought I was just that, and these two guys were my keepers. I tried to talk my way out of it, but you can imagine how impossible that was. I finally had to leave without the windmill. It took me two weeks of correspondence, involving character (and I use the word advisedly) references, before I could close the deal.

“The windmill had been brought out here from Oklahoma in the 1880s, a real relic. I got it, with the tower, for thirty-five bucks, overhauled it and set it up. It would work if we needed it.”

In Ward’s railroad station, there are a number of train models, including some early ones; an authentic old railroad clock, some old toys, a railroader’s telegraph key and other items that seem in place.

But there is also a full-grown stuffed African lion, named Stanley, which can scare hell out of the unsuspecting visitor.

The Firehouse Five Plus Two (earlier, it had been the Firehouse Five, and then the Firehouse Five Plus One) is a thoroughly competent and professional group devoted to free-swinging Dixieland jazz.

A little known fact about the band is that all of its members are Disney employees: Ward plays a white-painted trombone decorated with red curlicues; Danny Alguire, cornet, and George Probert, clarinet, are assistant directors; Frank Thomas, piano, is a supervising animator; Jim McDonald, drummer, is head of the sound effects department; Ed Penner, tuba, is a writer and story director; *** Roberts, banjo, is a studio musician, and George Bruns, who plays trombone, piano or clarinet, as the occasion demands, is a member of the studio’s music department. He is perhaps best known as the composer of the ballad, “Davy Crockett,” perennial delight of small fry and bane of their parent’s existence.

From the ceiling of the Kimball living room hangs a large mobile made of thin red sticks and white balls. It was put up one Christmas several years ago as a Yule decoration, and has never been taken down, because Ward likes its structural design. “I like the feeling of enclosed space,” he maintains. On a wall of the dining area hangs another of Ward’s creations: a three-dimensional painting in which certain elements move when a cord is pulled. A man’s hand tickles a lady’s cheek, and her eyeballs roll flirtatiously. Others of Ward’s paintings, more serious in approach, occupy other wall space, as do some works by Kelly, who shows signs of inheriting her parents’ artistic talents and plans to attend art school.

When all of Ward’s activities are added up, they make an impressive list. We doubt that many men enjoy life to the extent that he does, or contribute more to the happiness of their fellows. And perhaps the most remarkable thing about him is that whatever he does, he does amazingly well; Ward’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of them, too. He’s an amateur at nothing; his art and music are of high professional quality; he flies well enough to take on a job as an airline pilot, should the occasion arise; he swims, Betty assures us, like a fish and can handle a boat with the assurance of a sea captain. The restoration work he has done on his trains and fire engines displays exceptional craftsmanship.

But, most important of all, Ward has mastered the art of living. And it is to Ward Kimball as a master of this most demanding of all arts that “Escapade” awards its first “Escapder *** laude” gold key. There will be other such presentations from time to time, but we feel that Ward Kimball is worthy of being the first.

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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 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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