I recently attended two amazing culinary demonstrations at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. This is my 4th year attending the festival and these demonstrations were something I had yet to do, so I made it a priority this year. Given my love of cooking and how I’m always interested in trying new food, I knew these would be right up my alley. The culinary demonstrations are relatively inexpensive ranging from $9 – 14 depending on the chef. DVC Members and Annual Passholders are eligible for a $2 discount, so make sure to utilize that when booking.
I was lucky to be in Walt Disney World when two great chefs had demonstrations back to back, Cat Cora of Kouzzina and Iron Chef fame and Kevin Dundon from one of my favorite restaurants on property, Raglan Road. Cat Cora was the first for the day and she drew a HUGE crowd. Not only was the demonstrations area full, but there were a lot of people watching from the preview center.
We were seated and immediately given a glass of wine. Wine?! Score! I didn’t know these demonstrations came with a wine pairing. My $12 investment was now well worth the price. There was also a menu listing what we would be eating that included a recipe so we could replicate it at home. From the menu, I found that the wine was a Bloomfield Viognier from Bloomfield Vineyards, which was a nice crisp white.
There was a change to the menu that day and the feta mashed potatoes were being substituted with orzo. The chefs walked us through the steps of making the dish and shared some techniques on how to prepared the items. There was a camera set above the cooking station that was being shown on televisions around the room, so we could see just what they were doing….a really nice touch! This was also when the audience got to ask questions and I was pleasantly surprised to see how fun and down to earth Cat Cora was. She had a great time conversing with the audience.
Then the carts appeared! We were about to taste these yummy smelling meatballs. I’m not a huge fan of lamb, but these were DELICIOUS!! They were much lighter than regular meatballs and the sauce had a little spice to it to add some additional flavor. I’m glad that this was served with the orzo because I think that the feta mashed potatoes would’ve been too heavy.
This was a fun and entertaining demonstration and the food was a hit too! Cat Cora is at the Food & Wine Festival every year and I would highly recommend checking this one out next year if you are in town during that time.
Later that afternoon, we saw Chef Kevin Dundon from Raglan Road in Downtown Disney. I love this restaurant and it’s upscale pub fare, so I was most looking forward to this demonstration. Chef Dundon did not disappoint! He was incredibly funny and lively. You can see that he is really passionate about cooking and also enjoyed talking with the audience.
On the menu was an updated version of the classic French dish, Coquilles St. Jacques, which is scallops in a heavy cream sauce with mashed potatoes. Delicious, but rich! Chef Dundon instead seared the scallops and made a lighter cream sauce infused with apples (YUM!!) and served this over mashed potatoes. It was to die for…I really would’ve like 4 more of these little plates.
This dish was served with a nice, full bodied Chardonnay that brought out the apple flavor in the sauce.
A surprise bonus of this demonstration was dessert! In sticking with the classic theme, Chef Dundon prepared Cherries Jubilee This is always a show stopper because of the flambe aspect in the preparation We were all instructed to oooh and ahhh on cue. This was a very good dessert, but the sauce was a little too sweet for me.
Overall, both of these demonstrations were well worth the nominal fee. You get about 45 minutes of culinary entertainment, wine, a food tasting and maybe even dessert! Not bad for $12, but remember that park admission is required. I’m already looking forward to next year and who I will be able to see!!
Have you attended any of the culinary demonstrations at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival?