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What Rich Ross’ exit from Walt Disney Studios is really all about



For the past three days, the story that’s been dominating entertainment news is Rich Ross’ removal as Chairman of Walt Disney Studios.

Now most of these articles seem to lay the blame for Ross’ exit on “John Carter” ‘s box office. And while it’s true that this Andrew Stanton film did play a role in Rich being shown the door last week, that movie’s lackluster ticket sales weren’t  quite as big a factor in this decision as you might think.

Why For? Because Walt Disney Studios rarely — if ever — loses money on a movie. Mind you, thanks to the vagaries of Hollywood book-keeping, it can sometimes take decades for a particular project to recoup. “Fantasia” didn’t actually get out of the red ’til 1961, more than 20 years after that animated masterpiece was first released to theaters. Likewise “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” — Walt Disney Studio’s first big budget, live action adventure — didn’t officially turn a profit ’til its second theatrical re-release in the early 1970s.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

So to now have people pointing at “John Carter” ‘s underwhelming ticket sales as the sole reason that Disney CEO Bob Iger asked Ross to suddenly exit the Company is just  silly. I mean, if that were really the case, then why didn’t Bob just fire Rich last Spring after “Mars Needs Moms” crashed and burned?

No, the truth here is a bit more complicated than that. Especially when you take into consideration that — in a lot of ways — Ross had been Iger’s designated hatchet man. Beginning in the Fall of 2009 (right after he took over for Dick Cook, the previous head of Walt Disney Studios), Rich made all sorts of staff cuts. He totally revamped the ways that the various departments at the Mouse interacted with one another.

And it wasn’t Rich Ross that dreamed up this reorg. But — rather — Bob Iger. Who wanted Disney Studios to become a far more efficient, streamlined operation with a significantly lowered head count. And because Ross wanted to please his boss, Rich did exactly what Bob asked of him. And that included last Fall’s very public fight with Jerry Bruckheimer & Gore Verbinski over “The Lone Ranger” ‘s then-proposed budget of $270 million.

Rich Ross with John Travolta and Kelly Preston at the March 2010 premiere of Touchstone Pictures’ “The Last Song.” Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images North America

Did Ross make a few mis-steps along the way? Absolutely. Company insiders have suggested that Rich’s enthusiasm when it came to the celebrity access / premiere party-related aspects of his position as Head of the Studio may have turned off more than a few at the Mouse House. But folks who worked with Ross at the Disney Channel will tell you that he had the same exact problem when Rich was in charge of the cable side of the Company. That this was a guy who just got too excited whenever he got a chance to hang out with the talent.

But in the big scheme of things in Hollywood, these are relatively small offenses on Ross’ part. Which was why — as recently as February  — the plan was that Rich would be allowed to finish up his three year contract as Chairman of Walt Disney Studios. And then come October of 2012 … Well, that part of Ross’ deal hadn’t entirely been worked out yet. Though I had heard that Disney had reportedly offered  Rich his own production company which was to have been based out of the old Feature Animation Building. Where he would have then had the chance to develop films & TV movies for Walt Disney Pictures, the Disney Channel and ABC Family respectively.

But that deal now seems to be off the table. Thanks — in large part — to something that Ross (or — rather — Rich’s staff) supposedly did during the lead-up to the March 9th release of “John Carter.”

Copyright 2012 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved

“And what was that exactly?,” you ask. Well, how many of you read Brooks Barnes‘ March 12th story in the New York Times, ” ‘Ishtar’ Lands on Mars” ? If you haven’t yet read this piece, let me direct your attention to two key paragraphs in this article:

In recent weeks, as a weak marketing campaign failed to generate audience excitement for “John Carter,” Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, made it clear in conversations with senior managers that he would not tolerate finger-pointing; this may be a colossal miss, he told them, according to people who were present, but it’s the company’s miss and no individuals would be blamed – including Mr. Stanton. Learn from it, was Mr. Iger’s message.

On Sunday (March 11th), Rich Ross, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement, “Moviemaking does not come without risk.  It’s still an art, not a science, and there is no proven formula for success. Andrew Stanton is an incredibly talented and successful filmmaker who with his team put their hard work and vision into the making of ‘John Carter.’ Unfortunately, it failed to connect with audiences as much as we had all hoped.”

Bob Iger and Andrew Stanton at the 2008 premiere of “WALL-E.” Copyright Disney / Pixar. All rights reserved

Reading between the lines here, Bob Iger was trying to help John Lasseter’s very good friend Andrew Stanton save face. So Stanton’s initial attempt at making a live-action feature film had misfired. Big deal. The Walt Disney Company still considered Stanton to be a very valuable creative asset. Which — given that the two animated features that Andrew had directed for Pixar Animation Studios, 2003’s “Finding Nemo”  and 2008’s “WALL-E” had a combined worldwide box office total of $1.388 billion (Not to mention the hundreds of million of dollars more that the Company has made off of plush, toys, ice shows and theme park attractions with direct ties to these Pixar characters) — was perfectly understandable.

Which was why the Company was doing everything within its power to spare Stanton any unnecessary embarrassment. With the hope that Andrew would then stay put, rather than suddenly decamp from Pixar and then go start making animated features for Disney’s direct competition (i.e. DreamWorks Animation, Blue Sky Studios & Sony Pictures Animation).

And Ross — with his own statement to the New York Times — seemed to be backing up his boss. But just one day after Brooke Barnes’ story ran in the Times, Claude Brodesser-Akners’  column was posted on Vulture.  Which flat-out stated that …

Andrew Stanton directing Taylor Kitsch on one of “John Carter” ‘s visual effect stages. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

… it was in fact “John Carter” director Andrew Stanton – powerful enough from his Pixar hits that he could demand creative control over trailers – who commandeered the early campaign (for this Walt Disney Pictures release), overriding the Disney marketing execs who begged him to go in a different direction.

“This is one of the worst marketing campaigns in the history of movies,” a former studio marketing chief told Vulture before the film opened. “It’s almost as if they went out of their way to not make us care.”

According to what I’ve been told, an internal investigation at Walt Disney Studios in the wake of this online article revealed that it had reportedly been a member  of Ross’ own staff who had provided Brodesser-Akners with the info that he needed in order to write this particular “Vulture” piece.

Rich Ross and Bob Iger at the 2009 premiere of “Toy Story 3.” Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Well, Rich’s loyal staffers may have been looking to distance their boss from “John Carter” disappointing box office number. But Bob Iger and his team on the sixth floor of the Team Disney – Burbank  Building – supposedly saw this situation entirely differently. They felt that Ross placing his own need to protect & preserve his professional reputation ahead of the Company’s needs, potentially damaging the Studio’s working  relationship with Pixar senior management was an extremely poor choice. Which is why a decision was made at that time to speed exit Rich’s exit from The Walt Disney Company.

Of course, the irony of this whole situation was that it wasn’t Ross who’d put “The Inside Story of How John Carter Was Doomed by Its First Trailer” item out there. But — rather — his loyal staffers. Who just wanted to make sure that their boss looked good.

Which — when you think about it — was just what Rich Ross was looking to do when, at Bob Iger’s behest, he oversaw that massive overhaul of Walt Disney Studios back in late 2009 / early 2010. Because Ross wanted his boss to look good too.

Tom Staggs, Mariah Carey, Bob Iger and Mickey Mouse at last month’s christening ceremony of the Disney Dream in New York City. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And why is it so important that Bob Iger look good? Let’s remember that — back in October of last year — Disney’s CEO announced that he would be stepping down in the not-so-distant future. To be specific, in March of 2015, the Company’s board of directors will name a new chief and Mr. Iger will then become Disney’s executive chairman. As of June 30, 2016, Bob will leave Disney entirely and — if the rumors are true — pursue some sort of political office back in New York State.

And when you’re running for political office … Well, it helps to be able to point to how you reinvented a great American institution like The Walt Disney Company, making it better suited to do business in today’s world. Making it far easier for the Mouse to leverage its content across multiple platforms and use new distribution channels to reach yet-untapped international markets.

And speaking of international markets … It’s worth noting here that “John Carter” has been selling far more tickets overseas than it has stateside. To date, this Andrew Stanton film has grossed $200.6 million foreign versus $68.8 million domestic.

Copyright ImageMovers Digital / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Which — when you compare those numbers to what “Mars Needs Moms” earned last year (i.e. That $150 million Walt Disney Pictures / ImageMovers Digital production earned $21.3 million domestic and $17.6 million foreign, for a total worldwide gross just $38.9 million) — “John Carter” suddenly looks far less like a box office disaster than many in the entertainment press would have you believe.

So — just to recap here — while “John Carter” did play a role in Rich Ross’ exit from the Mouse House, it wasn’t that movie’s grosses or marketing that did the Chairman of Walt Disney Studios in. Not entirely, anyway.

Because — when you get right down to it — this isn’t really a story about Rich Ross’ exit. But — rather — one about making sure that Andrew Stanton stays right where he is right now. Working for Disney and Pixar.

Andrew Stanton and the Best Animated Feature Academy Award that he won for “WALL-E.” Copyright the American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

 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.


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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