WW GOES TO WDW at Yesterland.com Culinary Demos
The 15th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
October 1 - November 14, 2010
Epcot Food & Wine Festival



 
 
Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, visits the
15th Annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

 
November 19, 2010

The 2010 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival closed last Sunday. During its 45-day run, there were 135 Culinary Demonstrations—three each day (at 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.) in the Festival Center (the former Wonders of Life pavilion).

Here’s what happened at each Culinary Demo:

  • Up to 100 ticketed guests sat at tables with views of a kitchen stage and flat-screen video monitors;
  • Host Pam Smith (or John Ekin on Pam’s days off) expertly presented a 45-minute session with a wine speaker and a chef;
  • Guests were served a 2½-3 ounce glass of wine, while a winery owner, winemaker, or wine representative talked about it for 10-15 minutes;
  • A Disney chef or outside chef (or occasionally a celebrity chef) presented a 30-35 minute demonstration, while guests followed along (and often took notes) on a printed copy of the recipe;
  • An audio-visual team with fixed and portable video cameras made sure that guests—even guests sitting in the back—could see what was happening on stage, including views onto the cutting board and the cooktop;
  • And—best of all—guests were served samples of what the chef was demonstrating, prepared by a culinary team backstage and served by friendly cast members in blue shirts.
Pam Smith, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Pam Smith, primary host of the Culinary Demo series
John Ekin, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
John Ekin, Monday and Tuesday host of the Culinary Demo series

For the first 13 years of the Food & Wine Festival, culinary demos were included in Epcot admission—you just had to get in line early enough, which could mean an hour in line, or sometimes several hours. Last year, Disney imposed an $8 fee for each demo (or $5 for a limited number of advance tickets for Annual Passholders, DVC members, and Tables in Wonderland cardholders). This year, the price increased to $9 (or $7 for AP/DVC/TiW) for most demos, and $13 (or $10 for AP/DVC/TiW) for demos by a limited number of better-known chefs.

The good news was that the higher price in 2010 also meant getting more wine and real dishes. The wine samples in 2009 were usually just 1 ounce; for 2010, they were usually 2½ to 3 ounces. (Back when there was no extra fee for the Culinary Demos, there were seldom any wine samples included.) Also, for 2010, china plates and bowls and metal utensils replaced the black plastic plates, bowls, and utensils.

I paid $7 per person for most Culinary Demos. Considering that this bought a tasting portion of food, a small glass of wine, a “show” (the presentation by the chef) and elimination of the long wait in line, I can’t complain too much about the $7 fee.

However, Disney needs to be careful with price increases in future years. The Wine & Beverage Seminars on the other side of the Festival Center were often poorly attended as guests balked at the questionable value. Priced at $8 (or $6 for AP/DVC/TiW) for most wines and $12 (or $10 for AP/DVC/TiW) for higher-end wines, each seminar normally provided three 1-ounce pours of wine and a 45-minute pitch. It had to be disconcerting for the presenters when only a small fraction of the seats were occupied, as was sometimes the case on weekdays.

Samples Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Culinary Demo samples

My wife and I went to 20 Culinary Demos this year. While my wife was busy taking notes on the recipe sheets, I was snapping photos of the chefs and what we were served.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Daniel Sicilia, California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with Sun-dried Tomatoes,
Pesto, Shittake Mushrooms, and Basil
paired with
Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir (Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Los Olivos, CA)
and Mango Mamma Wine (Florida Orange Groves Winery, St. Petersburg, FL)

 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Renzo Barcatta and Vincenzo Vaccaro,
Tutto Italia Ristorante, Epcot, Walt Disney World, FL

 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Risotto alla Milanese and Arancini di Rosa
paired with
Galil Mountain Shiraz (Yarden, Inc., Israel)

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Jeramy Moore, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Presented by Dole
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Stuffed Chicken Roulade with Pineapple, Cheese Chipotle Empanada
paired with
Bacardi Limon Mojito (Bacardi USA, Puerto Rico)

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 5:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Mark Hetzel, The Blue Ridge Pecan Company/Sucré, Asheville, NC
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Savory Shortbreads with Mixed Green Salad, Horseradish Vinaigrette
paired with
Mercer Riesling (Mercer Estates, Columbia Valley, Washington)

 

Thursday, November 4, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Katrina Van Oudheusden, Kona Café, Disney’s Polynesian Resort
assisted by Chef Jonathan (also from Disney’s Polynesian Resort)

 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Mango Lime Tostones with Mango Lime Salsa and Mini Mango Lime Mousse Tart
paired with
FroZin Dessert Wine (The Meeker Vineyard, Healdsburg, CA)

 

Thursday, November 4, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Kevin Dundon, Raglan Road, Downtown Disney Pleasure Island
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Salmon of Knowledge & Bread and Butter Pudding
paired with
Millbrandt Vineyards Riesling (Millbrandt Vineyards, Columbia Valley, Washington)

 

Sunday, November 7, 2010, 5:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Michael Harp, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Caribbean Conch Fritters and Grilled Pineapple Coleslaw and Cilantro Cream
paired with
Mercer Pinot Gris (Mercer Estates, Columbia Valley, Washington)

 

Monday, November 8, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Brooke Vosika, Four Seasons Hotel, Boston, MA
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Pumpkin Torteloni, Toasted Almonds, Brown Butter, Sage
paired with
Biltmore NC Chardonnay (Biltmore Estate Wine Company, Asheville, NC)

 

Saturday, November 6, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Todd English, Todd English’s bluezoo, Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Hawaiian Mero, Parsnip, Beat, Crispy Farro Verde and Spicy Carrot Air
paired with
Lucas J Cellars, Russian River Valley, Jasper Family Vineyards, Pinot Noir
(Lucas J Cellars, Healdsburg, CA)

 

Sunday, November 7, 2010, 5:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Albert Di Meglio, RubiRosa, New York, NY
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Ricotta Fazzoletti with Mushrooms, Pickled Pumpkin & Parmigiano Reggiano
paired with
Parducci Pinot Noir (Parducci Wine Cellars, Medocino County, CA)

 

Monday, November 8, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Glenn O’Brien, Olivia’s Café, Disney’s Old Key West Resort
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Grilled Sustainable Fish with Sofrito Black Beans and Rice
topped with Tomato Vinaigrette
paired with
LMR Sauvignon Blanc - Rutherford Valley (Long Meadow Ranch Winery, Napa Valley, CA)

 

Monday, November 8, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Parke Ulrich, Waterbar Restaurant, San Francisco, CA
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Baby Iceberg Wedge Salad with Confit Tuna, Mint and Green Goddess
paired with
Mohua Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (Mohua, New Zealand)

 

Monday, November 8, 2010, 5:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Debbie Gold, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, MO
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Roasted Rack of Lamb with Huckleberry Gastrique and Sautéed Mustard Greens
paired with
Cono Sur Pinot Noir (Cono Sur, Chile)

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Jason Kohl, California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Garlic and Herb Polenta
with Roasted Garlic Purée and Mustard Butter
paired with
King Estates Signature Pinot Noir (King Estates Winery, Oregon)

 

Thursday, November 9, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Ron Cope, Fulton’s Crab House, Downtown Disney Marketplace
assisted by Mike Varga (holding fish)

 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Pan Seared Alaska Halibut with Shaved Fennel Lemon Salad, Roasted Tomato Salsa & Basil Oil
paired with
King Estates Signature Pinot Gris (King Estates Winery, Oregon)

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
RJ Cooper, Pigtails Restaurant, McLean, VA
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Pork Chops with Barberry Compote
paired with
King Estates Signature Pinot Noir (King Estates Winery, Oregon)

 

Thursday, November 11, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Bill Clark, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Almond Cheesecake
paired with
Fairy Tale Cuvée (Iron Horse Vineyards, Sonoma, CA)

 

Thursday, November 11, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Kent Rathbun, Kent Rathbun Concepts, Dallas, TX
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Wood Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Chipotle-Cord Mash
and Texas Peach Barbecue Sauce
paired with
Bunratty Mead (Bunratty Mead and Liquor Co. Ltd., Ireland)
and Ravenswood Zen of Zin Zinfandel (Ravenswood Winery, Sonoma, CA)

 

Saturday, November 13, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Jeff Henderson, “The Chef Jeff Project,” Las Vegas, NV
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
King Crab Gumbo
paired with
Fairy Tale Cuvée (Iron Horse Vineyards, Sonoma, CA)

 

Saturday, November 13, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
Chef at culinary demo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
David Pasternack, Esca Restaurant, New York, NY, and Eataly, New York, NY
 
Sample at culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival, 2010
Salmon with Figs, Saba and Watercress
paired with
Cline Cellars Viognier (Cline Cellars, Sonoma, CA)

 

And the winner for the best Culinary Demo that I attended in 2010 is...

Kent Rathbun of Kent Rathbun Concepts in Dallas. Great presentation. Great food. Great fun. (And two glasses of wine.)


There’s more...

Continue to the 2011 Culinary Demos.

Or travel back to the 2009 Culinary Demos.


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Epcot Flower & Garden, 2011
Epcot Food & Wine, 2010
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© 2010-2012 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated August 9, 2012

Photographs of culinary demonstrations at Epcot Food & Wine Festival by Werner Weiss, 2010.
 
Disclosure per FTC guidelines: This article reviews consumer offerings from The Walt Disney Company. Werner Weiss personally paid for park admission and for tickets to the culinary demos shown in this photo essay.