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Wouldn’t it be cool if …

JHM rolls out a brand-new feature today. One that will allow this website’s readers to make suggestions that Walt Disney Company officials will (hopefully) take seriously. In this debut column, Ken Plume points to a long-abandoned short subject that WDFA should probably seriously consider reviving

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You know, a lot of people seem to think that I’m out to “get” the Walt Disney Company. That I deliberately only post stories on JHM that talk about the negative things that are happening at the Mouse House (Gee, after Monday’s “Dreamfinder” story and yesterday’s “Midway Madness” article yesterday, I don’t know how anyone could have ever gotten that idea … Anyway …)


With the hope that I might somehow be able to turn this false impression around, I’d now like to talk about something very cool that’s just gotten underway at Disney Feature Animation. You see, the Mouse Factory is getting back into the shorts business.


Seriously, folks. Ed Catmull & John Lasseter (I.E. WDFA’s new president and chief creative officer, respectively) are obviously huge fans of short subjects. After all, it was short films like “Luxo Jr.,” “Tin Toy” and “Knick Knack” that initially persuaded Disney execs that they should try & develop a full-length computer animated feature with Pixar.


And Ed & John … Well, they view Pixar’s short programs almost as that studio’s farm team. You see, these short films allow talented newcomers to test their wings, see if they’re actually ready to move up to the “big leagues” (I.E. Helm one of the company’s full-length animated features). More to the point, these shorts have also proven to be great testing grounds for new pieces of software that Pixar is thinking of using on its features.


Sooo … Given that Catmull & Lasseter are looking to remake Burbank in Emeryville’s image, it just made sense that Disney Feature Animation should also get its own shorts program going. Which is why — just a few weeks back — Ed & John asked WDFA story artists to prep a few pitches for animated short subjects. And sometime later this month, Catmull & Lasseter will first review these pitches and then select a short or two to put into production.


Now the current plan calls for the first new animated short to debut in front of WDFA’s next big feature, “Meet the Robinsons.” Which is scheduled to bow in theaters on March 30, 2007.


Now where this gets interesting is that Ed & John are supposedly looking to put at least two new animated shorts in production at Disney Feature Animation. So that a larger number of animators can then try their hand at working on an animated short subject.


Which then raises an interesting question: If that first WDFA short is going to be shown in front of “Meet the Robinsons” … Well, which Walt Disney Pictures release is the second animated short going to be shown in front of?


The reason that I bring this up is … Obviously, the biggest Disney Studios release for the Summer of 2007 is going to be the third (and supposedly final) “Pirates” film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: World’s End.”  


(EDITOR’S NOTE: Please note that “supposedly final” comment in the above paragraph. Though no one at the executive level at the Walt Disney Company has actually dared to mention this in public, I’ve heard from various vendors that Disney Consumer Products reps are already talking up “Pirates 4.” With the hope of possibly extending this extremely lucrative brand into 2010 and beyond.


Which is a pretty ballsy thing to do, given that Johnny Depp, Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom are only under contract to do three pictures. So — should this fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film actually go into production — it would be interesting to see who eventually winds up at the helm of the Black Pearl.


Anywho … Getting back to our original story now …)


So what with “Pirates of the Caribbean: World’s End” coming out in the Summer of 2007 … Well, wouldn’t it be cool if Walt Disney Feature Animation produced a pirates-theme short subject that could then be shown in front of this Gore Verbinksi film?


Mind you, the reason that I’m bringing this idea up is … Well, as my good friend Ken Plume recently pointed out, Disney Feature Animation already has a great storyboard for a pirate-based short subject sitting in its files. One that was supposed to have starred Mickey, Donald and Goofy.



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


I am referring — of course — to “Morgan’s Ghost.” The infamous aborted project that was originally developed back in 1940 & 1941 by Homer Brightman & Harry Reeves with an assist by the “Big Mouseketeer” himself, Roy Williams.


Now if the “Morgan’s Ghost” name sounds familiar to you (Particularly to all you Disney comic buffs out there) … Well, there’s a reason for that. You see, this never-produced short served as the inspiration for the very first Donald Duck comic book, “Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold.”


This particular comic book (Which was first published by Western Publishing back in October of 1942) is especially revered by Donald Duck enthusiasts. Mostly because “Pirate Gold” was illustrated by the two artists who (arguably) had the largest impact on Donald’s overall career: cartoonist Carl Barks and animation director Jack Hannah.   



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


Anywho … As for the story of “Morgan’s Ghost”: It’s actually a pretty solid premise for a Mickey-Donald-Goofy short. As this proposed picture gets underway, the trio are living in Fish Haven, a sleepy seaside town where nothing much ever happens.


Mickey is the proprietor of the Jolly Roger Inn and Donald & Goofy are his assistants. And there at the Inn, these three have a pet parrot called Yellowbeak. 


Now what Mickey, Donald & Goofy don’t know is that Yellowbeak was once a member of Captain Morgan‘s crew. The infamous pirate who amassed a huge treasure before he was finally caught & hung.


Captain Morgan’s treasure? It was never found. And only Yellowbeak knows where the late pirate’s horde is still hidden.


Which is where Black Pete comes in. You see, he wants this treasure. Which is why Pete slips into the Jolly Roger Inn late one night and steals Yellowbeak.


Of course, now it’s up to Mickey, Donald and Goofy to rescue the kidnapped bird. So the trio stows away on Pete’s ship (“The Vulture”) and — of course — much hilarity ensues. Particularly since Goofy (in this proposed film, anyway) is prone to sleep-walking …



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


And Pete … Well, it’s clear that he’s not exactly the smartest salt to ever sailed the seven seas. Given that he almost blows up “The Vulture” one night when he absent-mindedly strikes a match in the ship’s powder room.



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


Anyhow … Mickey, Donald and Goofy eventually actually beat Black Pete to the deserted isle where Captain Morgan’s treasure is hidden. And ‘way down deep in a dark cave, this trio finds a large wood chest that they think contains the treasure. But once they pry this container open, Mickey, Donald & Goofy don’t find gold inside. But — rather — ghosts!



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


To be specific, it’s the spirit of Captain Morgan and two loyal members of his crew. Who have been trapped inside of that chest for more than a century now.



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


Of course, having finally be freed from that accursed chest is a cause for celebration. So Captain Morgan & his ghostly crew dance a quick hornpipe …



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


… before finally agreeing to help Mickey, Donald & Goofy in their effort to rescue Yellowbeak as well as unearth Captain Morgan’s long-hidden treasure.



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


Mind you, once they get back that bird, Mickey, Donald & Goofy still have to follow all of the clues that Captain Morgan left behind in order to unearth his treasure. (“Why can’t the ghost of Capt. Morgan just tell this trio where his horde is hidden?,” you ask. Because — according to the pirate code — “Dead men tell no tales.” Which is why Capt. Morgan is strictly forbidden from revealing where his treasure is actually buried.)



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


Of course, as Mickey, Donald & Goofy begin their hunt for the treasure, Black Pete is hot on their heels. And — as the story sketches below readily illustrate — there are still plenty of chills & thrills to be found in this proposed picture’s premise.



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


Anywho … As this short finally draws to a close, Captain Morgan is reunited with his treasure.



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


And — as a reward for freeing him from that awful chest as well as unearthing his long-lost treasure — Captain Morgan happily awards a share of his horde to Mickey, Donald & Goofy.


And as our heroes sail off into the sunset, rich beyond their wildest dreams …  



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


… Black Pete winds up getting his just desserts. Being locked away for 101 years for attempting to pass some phony doubloons.



Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC


Okay, I know. That’s not a very detailed description of “Morgan’s Ghost.” To be honest, I only mapped out this story in the broadest possible strokes. Were you to take a look at the 800+ story sketches that were originally done for this proposed animated short, you’d have a much better understanding of how the “Morgan’s Ghost” story was actually supposed to play out.


And all of this great material … It’s still just sitting there in Disney’s Animation Research Center. Waiting for some clever WDFA employee to come along, open the right files and then pin these story sketches back up on some cork board. So that John Lasseter & Ed Catmull can then see that “Morgan’s Gold” still has plenty of potential.


More importantly, so that John & Ed can then realize that a fully animated version of this particular story would be an inspired companion piece for “Pirates of the Caribbean: World’s End.” Which is why it would be really smart if someone at WDFA would greenlight production of this long-ago-aborted animated short ASAP.


FYI: In the very unlikely event that someone at Disney Feature Animation actually does pursue this suggestion and attempts to get “Morgan’s Ghost” put on WDFA’s development track, I’d like Ken Plume to get the credit for this suggestion. Rather than myself.


After all, it was Ken who first told me about this 65-year-old concept that was just sitting in the ARC’s files. Waiting for someone to remember that this very promising premise was still there, waiting for Walt Disney Studios to get back into the shorts business.


And now that Disney is getting back into the shorts business, wouldn’t it be cool if — strictly from a historical point-of-view — “Morgan’s Gold” finally made it out of WDFA’s morgue and wound up on the big screen in front of “Pirates III” ?


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.

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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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