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Who is Roy Edward Disney?

As they say in baseball: “You can’t tell the players without a program.” So who exactly is the man challenging Michael Eisner’s leadership of the Walt Disney Company? Wade Sampson provides you with all the appropriate details.

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Roy Edward Disney is the son of the vastly underrated Roy Oliver Disney, the brother of Walt and a primary force behind the Disney Company who passed away two months after the opening of the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Many people still make the mistake of thinking that Roy Edward is the brother of Walt Disney and he often gets identified as such in stories probably because of the similarity with his father’s name. Very much like his father, Roy Edward is a shy person who prefers avoiding public appearances and speeches and much prefers being left alone. (Although he is an intensely competitive sailor which reveals the ambition and determination behind that calm, quiet exterior.) Over the past decade, he has become more accustomed to being a public spokesman and to being the protector of the Disney legacy.

Author Bob Thomas who wrote biographies of Roy Oliver as well as Walt described Roy Edward: “He isn’t impressed with himself, or what he has done. He is essentially a very shy person. He was an only child, so the family doted on him. He also was always in the shadow of his uncle.”

Roy is the nephew of Walt Disney and used to take some amusement in sharing the story of Walt taking him around the Disney Studio and saying, “Here is my idiot nephew”, an unfortunate nickname that stuck for many years.

“Walt could be tough on me, but God knows he was tough on everybody,” remembered Roy Edward. “I got along with him well. If he liked what I did, that was great. If he didn’t like what I did, it was tough. That wasn’t just with me, that was with anybody.”

Roy remembers an episode of WALT DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR which contained a song Roy liked. However, as Walt watched the screening, he started nervously tapping his fingers on the armrest of his chair, a warning sign that he was not pleased or bored.

“When it was over,” Roy recalled, “he said, ‘I really don’t like that song at all, Roy’. He then took what I had done and ripped it all apart. But in the end it came out as one of his favorite shows.”

The show was THE LEGEND OF EL BLANCO and originally aired September 25, 1966, roughly three months before Walt’s death and with a different musical approach that Walt preferred. The show reflected Roy’s affection and respect for Hispanic Culture.

In March 2001, the Roy E. Disney Center for the Performing Arts and the Hispanic Culture Foundation were the recipient of a million-dollar donation. Roy E. Disney, then vice chairman of the Board of Directors of The Walt Disney Company, gave a personal gift of five hundred thousand dollars to the Foundation and the Disney Foundation contributed another five hundred thousand dollars. The donations were used to help construct a $22 million center for performing arts at the National Hispanic Cultural Center located in the historic Barelas neighborhood of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

At the time, Frank Figueroa, president of the Hispanic Culture Foundation said, “We are elated with Mr. Disney’s gift and that Mr. Disney is so supportive of our efforts to preserve Hispanic culture and performing arts for the entire nation. The Roy E. Disney Center of the Performing Arts will become a premier site for performers and visitors from all over the world. Mr. Disney is leaving an amazing legacy, by making our dream of a National Hispanic Cultural Center a reality.”

Roy Edward was born on January 10, 1930. As a school kid, Roy was teased mercilessly by his fellow classmates who wondered if he had been the model for Goofy which probably added to his shyness. Graduating from Pomona College with an English degree in 1951, he found it difficult to find work at the Disney Studios because he was considered one of “Roy’s boys” which meant the financial end of the business rather than one of “Walt’s boys” which was the creative end. Producer Harry Tytle was confused when Roy’s mother, Edna, pleaded with him to try and find a creative job for her son at the studio. Instead, Roy got a job editing the early black and white DRAGNET shows for Jack Webb who was filming the series on the backlot of the Disney Studio (until the noise of building things for Disneyland in the warehouses became so loud that it forced him to find another location).

Roy began working for the Disney Studio in 1954 as an assistant film editor on the True-Life Adventure films. His first True-Life Adventure was MYSTERIES OF THE DEEP which was nominated for an Academy Award but didn’t win and Roy claims that “I am still sore about that.” He helped write narration for animal-related television shows from 1957 to 1971, and also directed (1973 to 1978) and produced (1968 to 1977) many of the same type of shows.

Another Disney film editor, Stormy Palmer recalled one day when during a break, Roy Edward was bouncing a ball off a wall and it got accidentally stuck on the roof. Roy Oliver who was then president of the company was hosting an important guest and as the two were talking in his office suddenly saw through the office window Roy Edward climbing up on the roof. “Yes, my son works here,” Roy Oliver reported quipped, “He’s the one on top of the camera building retrieving that ball.”

Roy Edward’s affection and respect for his father is well known, as is his frustration that his father does not get significant recognition for his contributions to the Disney Company. “In his heart of hearts, he would have loved to have had more credit I believe, but he didn’t want to take away from his little brother. He recognized very clearly that the name Walt Disney was gold, so why mess around with it?” stated Roy Edward in an interview several years ago.

While Walt could be a tough boss, he was also a warm uncle. One time when a young Roy Edward was suffering from chicken pox, his uncle sat on the edge of his bed and told him the story of PINOCCHIO which was then in development.

“He scared me to death with the stuff about the whale and everything else,” remembered Roy many decades later, “I remember it very, very sharply and very clearly even today. He was that good a storyteller. But when the movie came out, it was big letdown for me. It was nowhere near as good as Walt’s version.”

Roy remembers his father telling him that as boys, he and Walt slept in the same bed and sometimes Walt would wet the bed. “He peed all over me then, and he’s still doing it today,” Roy Oliver would joke. (However, Roy Edward knew when his father had a tough time with Walt at work because if his father pulled into the driveway and slammed his car door hard then “you knew it was time to go do your homework.”)

Roy’s engagement to his wife Patty was announced the day before the opening of Disneyland in 1955. While it was obviously a difficult time for Walt, Walt made a point of going out of his way the next day to greet the couple at the front gate of the park to let them know how happy he was for them.

Roy was so shy that when he asked Patty to marry him, he sent the proposal in a five page letter with the note that if she accepted to please call him in Utah where he was shooting a nature movie. She tried to reach him but couldn’t track down a phone near him so she finally resorted to sending him a telegram with just two words: “Hell, yes.”

Roy was first elected to the board of directors in 1967 shortly after Walt passed away. In 1971, his father suffered a stroke. Only a few days earlier, Roy Edward’s then fourteen year old son Roy Patrick Disney had been playing on the roof of the family home and tumbled off, leaving him in a coma fighting for his life. One of Roy Edward’s strongest memories is being at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank where Walt had passed away with Roy’s father in room 421 and his son in room 321. Roy Patrick recovered but Roy Oliver did not.

Shortly, Roy found himself shoved aside by new executives at the Disney Company and he left the company in 1977 with little hope of being more than being a figurehead on the Board.

However, the law firm Roy Edward had been using assigned him a new lawyer named Stanley Gold who was as outgoing as Roy was reserved. It was Gold who determined that the Disney family was too dependent on the Disney Company not only financially but also for such things as travel arrangements and accounting services. So with Gold’s assistance, a company named Shamrock was formed (named after the boat that Roy Edward raced at the time). For a time, Shamrock became one of the nation’s top takeover firms.

Gold who was fearful that the Disney family’s holding were shrinking fast because of the poor performance of the Disney Company literally told Roy Edward: “We have to make a decision. We need to either get your money out of the company, or try to get new management in at Disney.” Making matters complicated was the fact that the current management was being led by Walt’s son-in-law, Ron Miller.

Roy Edward immediately resigned as director which sent waves through Wall Street that there was trouble in the Magic Kingdom. Gold and Roy Edward orchestrated a big investment from the wealthy Bass family of Texas which formed an alliance with Disney stockholders that resulted in Michael Eisner and Frank Wells being installed as the new management team in 1984. Roy Edward returned in 1984 as vice chairmen of the board, and head of the animation department.

Eisner had even considered dismantling the animation department since it was costly and time consuming and there were enough classics in the vaults. It was Roy Edward who specifically requested being given the job of overseeing the animation department and under his guiding hand revitalized the Company with hits like LITTLE MERMAID and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Former Disney animation chief Peter Schneider stated in 2000 to a reporter that “the single most important thing in the history of animation at the company was Roy Disney’s persuasion in 1984 of then-president Wells to spend a mere $10 million on computer equipment to restore the animation quality lost through previous cuts. Not only did it restore colors and blushes, it also led to innovations in movement and forged the kind of style that distinguishes such films as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.”

Roy was also thrust into the role as protector of Disney family traditions and while his influence became more and more muted over the years, it was still enough for him to authorize the Disney Company to assist Leslie Iwerks on the book and documentary about her father Ub Iwerks, to make sure that the Salvador Dali-Disney collaboration DESTINO was finally completed, to insist the Disney Institute Animation Event continue, rescue a metal box of important family papers from his garage and donating them to the Disney Archives and much, much more.

Roy was a valuable resource and his presence on commentaries for the Disney Channel and special edition DVDs supplied a validity that could not be achieved any other way. In 2000, Michael Eisner told reporters that “(Roy’s) been in the Walt Disney Company for sixty-nine years which is his age. His name is above the door. And he has a historical perspective and appreciation of the culture of the company that is unmatched.”

However, Roy could be quite sharp in his comments when he needed to be. Former Disney animation chief once said, “there’s no mystery about how Roy feels about anything.” Roy didn’t feel the Disney Company should have made HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and he didn’t care for some scenes in LION KING like the sequence set to Elton John’s “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” and had no hesitation in letting people know those opinions.

There have been increased frustrations between Eisner and Disney for at least the last two years with communications reduced to telephone conversations or e-mails. More and more, Roy Edward found needed relaxation in sailing (one of his chief passions) or at his castle in Ireland.

Just a week ago, Roy Edward Disney received a pin from the company for 50 years of service.

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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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