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Why For did Phase II of Epcot’s World Showcase never get built?

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Annoyed in Anaheim writes in to say:

I have to say that I was very disappointed with the Disney
Parks & Resorts presentation at the D23 EXPO. They didn't announce anything
significant for Walt Disney World. You'd think, given that it's been almost a
quarter of a century since a new country was last added to the World Showcase,
that they could have at least announced a new international pavilion for Epcot.

Dear Annoyed in Anaheim,

Ah, but just because they announced a new country for Epcot's
World Showcase area doesn't mean that Disney will actually ever get around to
building it.


Concept art for the interior of World Showcase's proposed Venezuela pavilion.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Don't believe me? Then check out this official press release
that Walt Disney World officials issued on  November 10, 1981, which reveals that …

… Venezuela has become the fifth South American country to
join the community of nations in WDW Epcot Center with the signing of a Contract
for Design of a Venezuelan pavilion for Phase II of the World Showcase.

The World Showcase is part of Epcot Center, a showplace for today's
nations and tomorrow's technology. Epcot Center will open October 1, 1982 and
will cost $800 million. Gustavo J. Vollmer, Chairman of Consorio Inversionista
Mercantil J Agricola (CIMA) in Caracas and Card Walker, Chairman of the Board
and Chief Executive of Walt Disney Productions signed the preliminary
participation agreement at Walt Disney World.

The Venezuelan pavilion joins a number of countries and
areas of the world scheduled for addition to the eight inaugural World Showcase
nations. They include: Mexico, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, France, the United
Kingdom and Canada. Venezuela, the State of Israel and Equatorial Africa are
among the Phase II pavilions planned.


Photograph of the sign that was in place for Epcot's opening day on October 1,
1982, designating where World Showcase's Spain pavilion was going to be
built. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Better yet, how about this press release from December of
that same year. When Disney World proudly announced that …

Spain (has joined) the growing list of countries in the
community of nations at Epcot Center with the signing of a contract for the
design of a Spain pavilion for Phase II of World Showcase.

D. Aurlio Torrente LaRosa, director of ECCE (Exposiciones
Congresos y Convencione & Espana), on behalf of the Ministry of
Transportation, Tourism and Communications for Spain, and Dick Nunis, president
of Walt Disney World Co. signed the preliminary design agreement.

Nunis also met with King Juan Carlos and Queen Dona Sofia at
the Royal Palace to discuss the scope of the Epcot Center project and Spain's
participation.


Herbie Ryman's concept art for World Showcase's Equatorial Africa
pavilion.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Spain joins Venezuela, the State of Israel, and Equatorial
Africa in the Phase II development of World Showcase.

"So why didn't these Venezuela or Spain pavilions ever get
added to Epcot's World Showcase area?," you ask. Well, as Steve Baker (who – at
that time – was director of participant affairs for the Walt Disney World
Resort) told Vicki Vaughn of the Orlando Sentinel in an October 1984 interview:

Efforts to sign on Spain has been tougher. When Baker went to Spain for the
first time in 1981, he succeeded in getting the government to pay for the
design of that country's pavilion. (He declined to reveal the design costs of individual
pavilions, but he said on average cost about $500,000.) But a new, young
government took over in Spain. "When we came back to talk, we realized that we
had no friends," Baker said. "So consequently, we had to start over."


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

This sort of thing happened over & over again when it
came to luring new nations to come be part of Epcot's World Showcase area. Take
– for example – the proposed Swiss pavilion (which was to have been the home of
an East Coast version of Disneyland's very first thrill ride, the Matterhorn
Bobsleds). Disney started negotiations with Swiss officials in 1986, only to
then have these talks broken off in 1987. While these negotiations would eventually
resume in 1989, Mouse House officials were never able to find a Swiss
corporation that was then willing to underwrite the initial construction costs as
well as supply the funds necessary to operate & maintain an attraction of this
size.

"And why were these companies & countries so reluctant
to commit to World Showcase?," you query. Well, sometimes it was the terms of
the deal (Disney tended to try & get corporations to sign long-term
sponsorship deals when it came to rides, shows and attractions for the Parks.
Take – for example – the 13-year lease that the Mouse got United Technologies
to sign, for the Living Seas pavilion). And sometimes it was the possible
penalties that were involved should a country or company renege on its previous
agreement to sponsor a World Showcase pavilion (EX:  The May 1989 lawsuit that the Walt Disney Company
brought against Eskantorp. Which – in December of 1985 — entered into a
preliminary agreement with the Mouse to serve as the principal developer & sponsor
of a South American pavilion. Only to then not be able to come up with the cash
necessary to underwrite the design & construction of this proposed World
Showcase addition).

Of course, sometimes it was just a case of initially
promising negotiations just petering out. Take – for example – the Russia
pavilion. Which was once considered to be a very strong candidate for World
Showcase's Phase II. Dick Nunis (the then-Chairmain of Walt Disney Parks &
Resorts) personally met with a Russian delegation in November of 1988 and –
after this meeting – sounded very optimistic about this pavilion eventually being
added to Epcot. That said, even though Nunis told the Orlando Sentinel that " …
the timing is very, very good to have negotiations with the Soviet Union,"
nothing came out of these talks.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

The same sort of thing happened in April 1979, when Walt
Disney Productions officials received a Letter of Intent from Kenyan officials.
Which said that Kenya – along with the nations of Senegal and the Ivory Coast –
had agreed in principal to sponsor World Showcase's Africa pavilion. But then
this trio of African countries began squabbling about which nation would
receive top billing on the entrance to this sure-to-be Epcot showplace. And
this sponsorship deal quickly fell apart.

Perhaps the saddest story associated with World Showcase's
proposed Phase II is the one concerning the Israel pavilion. In November 1980,
the State of Israel actually signed a deal to officially become part of Epcot. Joseph
Wollf, special officer to the Minister of Finance and president of the Tourist
Industry Development Corporation signed an agreement that called for this
Middle Eastern country to underwrite the design & construction of a World
Showcase pavilion that was estimated to cost $30 – $35 million. What's more, Jeshaja
Weinberg (i.e. director of the Jewish Museum in Tel Aviv) agreed to provide
Disney with a wide variety of archaeological artifacts. Which could then be put
on display in a rotating gallery that was to have been part of Epcot's Israel
pavilion.

"So if the money and the artifacts were already in place,
why didn't this proposed World Showcase pavilion ever get built?," you ask.
Well, that's where things get kind of vague. Though there were signs in place
on Epcot's opening day trumpeting that the Israel pavilion was "Coming Soon,"
by October 1984, there was no sign of this previously-announced World Showcase
addition.

Steve Baker (while speaking with Vicki Vaughn of the Orlando
Sentinel) tried to put the best possible face on the situation. Insisting that
The Walt Disney Company had …


Herbie Ryman's concept art for the shopping district that was to have been built as part
of the World Showcase's Israel pavilion. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

… made much progress towards an Israel pavilion, getting the
Israeli government to contribute design money and enlisting its help in putting
together private sectors funds, Baker said. But "all this has taken five years
and we expect lots of changes to occur" before the Israel pavilion takes shape.

To date, World Showcase's Israel pavilion has never made it
off the drawing board. Reportedly because many senior Disney Company officials
believe that including Israel as part of Epcot would then turn this theme park
into a possible target for terrorism. Or – at the very least – a potential
protest focal point. Which actually did prove to be the case when – in 1999 – the
Arab League pushed for a boycott of the Millennium Village at Epcot due to the inclusion
of an Israel Pavilion as part of this 15-month-long celebration.

Trust me, folks. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it
comes to stories associated with the proposed Phase II of World Showcase area.
Which – at one point – was to have included Epcot's first Eastern European
country, Poland.

Better yet, remind me sometime to talk about the early,
early days of Disney's World Showcase. We're talking 1975 – 1977 here. When the
Mouse reached out to representatives of 31 separate countries to ask them to
become part of Epcot … Only to then have each of these countries then say "No."


An early concept painting of Epcot's World Showcase. Back when this part of that
futuristic theme park was supposed to be home to 17 international pavilions.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Seriously. Even the United Kingdom (which was one of the
United States' closest allies) refused to take part in the project. Reportedly
because they just couldn't seen the benefit of being part of Disney's
futuristic theme park. Which is why the Imagineers then quietly revised their
plans for World Showcase. First scaling back the proposed line-up for this
theme park from 31 international pavilions to 17. Then making further cuts,
dropping from 17 to just 8 – 10 countries. And at one point, Disney officials
were having so much trouble lining up World Showcase participants that they
supposedly told Wall Street insiders that – on Epcot's opening day – this theme
park might only have 5 international pavilions.

But that's a story for another time. Speaking of which … If
you'd like to see one of your Disney-related questions answered as part of a
future Why For column, please send your queries along to whyfor@jimhillmedia.com.

That's it for now, folks. And if you live on the East Coast,
here's hoping that Hurricane Irene doesn't give you too much trouble this weekend.

Talk to you later, okay?

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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Jens Dahlmann of LongHorn Steakhouse has lots of great tips when it comes to grilling

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Sure, for some folks, the Fourth of July is all about fireworks. But for the 75% of all Americans who own a grill or a smoker, the Fourth is our Nation’s No. 1 holiday when it comes to grilling. Which is why 3 out of 4 of those folks will spend some time outside today working over a fire.

But here’s the thing: Though 14 million Americans can cook a steak with confidence because they actually grill something every week, the rest of us – because we use our grill or smoker so infrequently … Well, let’s just say that we have no chops when it comes to dealing with chops (pork, veal or otherwise).

So what’s a backyard chef supposed to in a situation like this when there’s so much at steak … er … stake? Turn to someone who really knows their way around a grill for advice. People like Jens Dahlmann, the Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef for Darden Restaurant’s LongHorn Steakhouse brand.

Given that Jens’ father & grandfather were chefs, this is a guy who literally grew up in a kitchen. In his teens & twenties, Dahlmann worked in hotels & restaurants all over Switzerland & Germany. Once he was classically trained in the culinary arts, Jens then  jumped ship. Well, started working on cruise ships, I mean.

Anyway … While working on Cunard’s Sea Goddess, Dahlmann met Sirio Maccioni, the founder of Le Cirque 2000. Sirio was so impressed with Jens’ skills in the kitchen that he offered him the opportunity to become sous-chef at this New York landmark. After four years of working in Manhattan, Dahlmann then headed south to become executive chef at Palm Beach’s prestigious Café L’Europe.

Jens Dahlmann back during his Disney World days

And once Jens began wowing foodies in Florida, it wasn’t all that long ’til the Mouse came a-calling. Mickey wanted Dahlmann to shake things up in the kitchen over at WDW’s Flying Fish Café. And he did such a good job with that Disney’s Boardwalk eatery the next thing Jens knew, he was then being asked to work his magic with the menu at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.

From there, Dahlmann had a relatively meteoric rise at the Mouse House. Once he became Epcot’s Food & Beverage general manager, it was only a matter of time before he wound up as the executive chef in charge of this theme park’s annual International Food & Wine Festival. Which – under Jens’ guidance – experienced some truly explosive growth.

“When I took on Food & Wine, that festival was only 35 days long and had gross revenues of just $5.5 million. When I left Disney in 2016, Food & Wine was now over 50 days long and that festival had gross revenues of $22 million,” Dahlmann admitted during a recent sit-down. “I honestly loved those 13 years I spent at Disney. When I was working there, I learned so much because I was really cooking for America.”

And it was exactly that sort of experience & expertise that Darden wanted to tap into when they lured Jens away from Mickey last year to become LongHorn Steakhouse’s new Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef. But today … Well, Dahlmann is offering tips to those of us who are thinking about cooking steak tips for the Fourth.

Photo by Jim Hill

“When you’re planning on grilling this holiday, if you’re looking for a successful result, the obvious place to start is with the quality of the meat you plan on cooking for your friends & family. If you want the best results here, don’t be cheap when you go shopping. Spend the money necessary for a fresh filet or a New York strip. Better yet a Ribeye, a nice thick one with good marbling. Because when you look at the marbling on a steak, that’s where all the flavor happens,” Jens explained. “That said, you always have to remember that — the higher you go with the quality of your meat — the less time you’re going to want that piece of meat to spend on the grill.”

And speaking of cooking … Before you even get started here, Jens suggests that you first take the time to check over all of your grilling equipment. Making sure that the grill itself is first scraped clean & then properly oiled before you then turn up the heat.

“If you’re working with a dirty grill, when you go to turn your meat, it may wind up sticking to the grill. Or maybe those spices that you’ve just so carefully coated your steak with will wind up sticking to the grill, rather than your meat,” Dahlmann continued. “Which is why it’s always worth it to spend a few minutes prior to firing up your grill properly cleaning & oiling it.”

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of heat … Again, before you officially get started grilling here, Jens says that it’s crucial to check your temperature gauges. Make sure that your char grill is set at 550 (so that it can then properly handle the thicker cuts of meat) and your flattop is set at 425 (so it can properly sear thinner pieces of meat).

Okay. Once you’ve bought the right cuts of quality meat, properly cleaned & oiled your grill, and then made sure that everything’s set at the right temperature (“If you can only stand to hold your hand directly over the grill for two or three seconds, that’s the right amount of heat,” Dahlmann said), it’s now time to season your steaks.

“Don’t be afraid to be bold here. You can’t be shy when it comes to seasoning your meat. You want to give it a nice coating. Largely because — if you’re using a char grill — a lot of that seasoning is just going to fall off anyway,” Jens stated. “It’s up to you to decide what sort of seasoning you want to use here. Even just some salt & pepper will enhance a steak’s flavor.”

Then – according to Dahlmann – comes the really tough part. Which is placing your meat on the grill and then fighting the urge to flip it too early or too often.

“The biggest mistake that a lot of amateur cooks make is that they flip the steak too many times. The real key to a well-cooked piece of meat is just let it be, “Jens insisted. “Of course, if you’re serving different cuts of meat at your Fourth of July feast, you always want to put your biggest thickest steak on the grill first. If you’re also cooking a New York Strip, you want to put that one on a few minutes later. But after that, just let the grill do its job and flip your meat a total of three or four times, once every three minutes or so.”

Of course, the last thing you want to do is overcook a quality piece of meat. Which is why Dahlmann suggests that – when it comes to grilling steaks – if you’re going to err, err on the side of undercooking.

“You can always put a piece of meat back on the grill if it’s slightly undercooked. When you over-cook something, all you can do then is start over with a brand-new piece of meat,” Jens said. “Just be sure that you’re using the correct cut of meat for the cooking result you’re aiming for. If someone wants a rare or medium rare steak, you should go with a thicker cut of steak. If one of your guests wants their steak cooked medium or well, it’s best to start with a thinner cut of meat.”

Photo by Jim Hill

As you can see, the folks at Longhorn take grilling steaks seriously. How seriously? Just last week at Darden Corporate Headquarters in Orlando, seven of these brand’s top grill masters (who – after weeks of regional competitions – had been culled from the 491 restaurants that make up this chain) competed for a $10,000 prize in the Company’s second annual Steak Master Series. And Dahlmann was one of the people who stood in Darden’s test kitchens, watching like a hawk as each of the contestants struggled to prepare six different dishes in just 20 minutes according to Longhorn Steakhouse‘s exacting standards.

“I love that Darden does this. Recognizing the best of the best who work this restaurant,” Jens concluded. “We have a lot of people here who are incredibly knowledgeable & passionate when it comes to grilling.”

Speaking of which … If today’s story doesn’t include the exact piece of info that you need to properly grill that T-bone, just whip out your iPhone & text GRILL to 55702. Or – better yet – visit  ExpertGriller.com prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont

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Some people travel halfway ‘around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If you’re more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT. Where – over the first weekend in June – you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers.

Now in its 16th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party / gallery walk. But then – come Saturday morning – Main Street in Brattleboro is lined with thousands of bovine fans.

Photo by Jim Hill

They’ve staked out primo viewing spots and set up camp chairs hours ahead of time. Just so these folks can then have a front row seat as this year’s crop of calves (which all come from local farms & 4-H clubs) are paraded through the streets.

Photo by Jim Hill

Viewed from curbside, Strolling of the Heifers is kind of this weird melding of a sincere small town celebration and Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade. Meaning that – for every entry that actually acknowledged this year’s theme (i.e. “Dance to the Moosic”) — …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something completely random, like this parade’s synchronized shopping cart unit.

Photo by Jim Hill

And for every piece of authentic Americana (EX: That collection of antique John Deere tractors that came chugging through the city) …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something silly. Like – say – a woman dressed as a Holstein pushing a baby stroller through the streets. And riding in that stroller was a pig dressed in a tutu.

Photo by Jim Hill

And given that this event was being staged in the Green Mountain State & all … Well, does it really surprise you to learn that — among the groups that marched in this year’s Strolling of the Heifers – was a group of eco-friendly folks who, with their  chants of “We’re Number One !,” tried to persuade people along the parade route not to flush the toilet after they pee. Because – as it turns out – urine can be turned into fertilizer.

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of fertilizer … At the tail end of the parade, there was a group of dedicated volunteers who were dealing with what came out of the tail end of all those cows.

Photo by Jim Hill

This year’s Strolling of the Heifers concluded at the Brattleboro town common. Where event attendees could then get a closer look at some of the featured units in this year’s parade…

Photo by Jim Hill

… or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.

Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the 90+ calves who took part in the 2017 edition of Strolling of the Heifers, once they reached the town common, it was now time for a nosh or a nap.

Photo by Jim Hill

Elsewhere on the common, keeping with this year’s “Dance to the Moosic” theme, various musical groups performed in & around the gazebo throughout the afternoon.

Photo by Jim Hill

While just across the way – keeping with Brattleboro’s tradition of showcasing the various artisans who live & work in the local community – some pretty funky pieces were on display at the Slow Living Exposition.

Photo by Jim Hill

All in all, attending Strolling of the Heifers is a somewhat surreal but still very pleasant way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont. And that’s no bull.

Photo by Jim Hill

Well, that could be a bull. To be honest, what with the wig & all, it’s kind of hard to tell. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, June 4, 2017

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Looking to make an authentic Irish meal for Saint Patrick’s Day? If so, then chef Kevin Dundon says not to cook corned beef & cabbage

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Let’s at least start on a positive note: Celebrated chef, author & TV personality Kevin Dundon – the man that Tourism Ireland has repeatedly chosen as the Face of Irish Food – loves a lot of what happens in the United States on March 17th.

“I mean, look at what they do in Chicago on Saint Patrick’s Day. They toss all of this vegetable-based dye into the Chicago River and then paint it green for a day. That’s terrific,” Kevin said.

But then when it comes to what many Americans eat & drink on St. Paddy’s Day (i.e., a big plate of corned beef and cabbage. Which is then washed down with a mug of green beer) … Well, that’s where Dundon has to draw the line.

Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon displays a traditional Irish loin of bacon with Colcannon potatoes and a Dunbrody Kiss chocolate dessert. Photo by Tom Burton. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Green beer? No real Irishman would be caught dead drinking that stuff,” Kevin insists. “And as for eating corned beef & cabbage … That’s not actually authentic Irish fare either. Bacon and cabbage? Sure. But corned beef & cabbage was something that the Irish only began eating after they’d come to the States to escape the Famine. And even then these Irish-Americans only began serving corned beef & cabbage to their friends & family because they had to make do with the ingredients that were available to them at that time.”

And thus begins the strange tale of how corned beef & cabbage came to be associated with the North American celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Because – according to Dundon – beef just wasn’t all that big a part of the Irish diet back in the 19th century.

To explain: Back in the Old Country, cattle – while they were obviously highly prized for the milk & cheese that they produced – were also beasts of burden. Meaning that they were often used for ploughing the fields or for hauling heavy loads. Which is why – back then — these animals were rarely slaughtered when they were still young & healthy. If anything, land owners liked to put a herd of cattle on display out in one of their pastures because that was then a sign to their neighbors that this farm was prosperous.

“Whereas pork … Well, everybody raised pigs back then. Which is why pork was a staple of the Irish diet rather than beef,” Dundon continued.

So if that’s what people actually ate back in the Old Country, how then did corned beef & cabbage come to be so strongly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the States.? That largely had to do with where the Irish wound up living after they arrived in the New World.

“When the Irish first arrived in America following the Great Famine, a lot of them wound up living in the inner city right alongside the Germans & the Jews, who were also recent immigrants to the States. And while that farm-fresh pork that the Irish loved wasn’t readily available, there was brisket. Which the Irish could then cure by first covering this piece of meat with corn kernel-sized pieces of rock salt – that’s how it came to be called corned beef. Because of the sizes of the pieces of rock salt that were used in the curing process – and then placing all that in a pot of water with other spices to soak for a few days.”

And as for the cabbage portion of corned beef & cabbage … Well, according to Kevin, in addition to buying their meat from the kosher delis in their neighborhood, the Irish would also frequent the stores that the German community shopped in. Where – thanks to their love of sauerkraut (i.e., pickled cabbage) – there was always a ready supply of cabbage to be had.

“So when you get right down to it, it was the American melting pot that led to corned beef & cabbage being found in the Irish-American cooking pot,” Dundon continued. “Since they couldn’t find or didn’t have easy access to the exact same ingredients that they had back in Ireland, Irish-Americans made do with what they could find in the immediate vicinity. And what they made was admittedly tasty. But it’s not actually authentic Irish fare.”

Mind you, what Kevin serves at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs (which – FYI – Orlando Magazine voted as the area’s best restaurant back in 2014) is nothing if not authentic. Dundon and his team at this acclaimed gastropub pride themselves on making traditional Irish fare and then contemporized it.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Take – for example – what we serve here instead of corned beef & cabbage. Again, because it was pork – rather than beef – that was the true staple of the Irish diet back then, what we offer instead is a loin of bacon that has been glazed with Irish Mist. That then comes with colcannon potatoes. Which is this traditional Irish dish that’s made up of mashed potato that have had some cabbage & bacon mixed through it,” Kevin enthused. “This heavenly ham – that’s what we actually call this traditional Irish dish at Raglan Road, Kevin’s Heavenly Ham – also includes some savory cabbage with a parsley cream sauce as well as a raisin cider jus. It’s simple food. But because of the basic ingredients – and that’s the real secret of Irish cuisine. That our ingredients are so strong – the flavors just pop off the plate.”

Which brings us to the real challenge that Dundon and the Raglan Road team face every day. Making sure that they actually have all of the ingredients necessary to make this traditional-yet-contemporized Irish fare to those folks who frequent this Walt Disney World favorite.

“Take – for example – the fish we serve here. We only used cold water fish. Salmon, mussels and haddock that have been hauled out of the Atlantic, the ocean that America and Ireland share,” Kevin stated. “Not that there’s anything wrong with warm water fish. It’s just that … Well, it doesn’t have the same structure. It’s a softer fish, which doesn’t really fit the parameters of Irish cuisine. And if you’re going to serve authentic food, you have to be this dedicated when it comes to sourcing your ingredients.

Copyright Mitchell Beazley. All rights reserved

And if you’re thinking of perhaps trying to serve an authentic Irish meal this year, rather than once again serving corned beef & cabbage at your Saint Patrick’s Day Feast … Well, back in September of last year, Mitchell Beazley published “The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.” This 296-page hardcover not only includes the recipe for Kevin’s Heavenly Ham but also it tells the tale of how this now-world-renown restaurant wound up being built in Orlando.

On the other hand, if you happen to have to the luck of the Irish and are actually down at The Walt Disney World Resort right now, it’s worth noting that Raglan Road is right in the middle of its Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This four day-long event – which includes Irish bands and professional dancers – stretches through Sunday night. And in addition to all that authentic Irish fare that Dundon and his team are cooking up, you also sample the fine selection of beers & cocktails that this establishment’s four distinct antique bars (each of which are more than 130 years old and were imported directly from Ireland) will be serving. Just – As ucht Dé (That’s “For God’s Sake” in Gaelic) – don’t make the mistake of asking the bartender there for a mug of green beer.

“Why would anyone willingly drink something like that?,” Dundon laughed. “I mean, just imagine what their washroom will look like the morning after.”

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Friday, March 17, 2017

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