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Ever wonder how the chefs at Disney do it all? From fork tender filet mignon, to cultural specials like sushi and escargot, Walt Disney World offers a huge diversity of food around its four theme parks and numerous resorts. Now guests will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn how they do it all first hand. Beginning July 8, the new “Disney Family Culinary Adventure” at Disney’s Contemporary Resort whisks guests backstage for a fun, interactive evening that includes plenty of time with the Disney chefs, hands-on cooking and a festive, five-course dinner with beer and wine served in the kitchen by the professional catering staff.
Aimed at guests 9 and older, the evening starts at 5 p.m. with a friendly introduction to the massive catering kitchen. A maximum of 30 guests are provided with aprons, hats and gloves and divided into five cooking groups. Every station has features “wow” technique, from the ease of making homemade butter (equal parts buttermilk and heavy cream) to a fresh pasta with just three ingredients.
“We want to show them the tricks of the trade,” says Chef Frank Brough. “It’s a guided experience but they do everything from making cheese and butter to rolling out pasta and breaking down a whole beef tenderloin.”
The five stations include:
– Garde manger, which is the French term for food produced in the cold kitchen. This is where guests learn how to make farmer cheese, from-scratch butter, and how to plate a gourmet salad on a rapidly moving electric belt in the professional kitchen.
-Sushi, with sushi chefs teaching the art of rolling sushi and sashimi. (This station may rotate with other culinary ideas.)
– Boucherie, or butcher station, where guests learn how to trim a beef tenderloin to make the perfect filet mignon.
– Pasta, with just three ingredients (semolina, olive oil and egg), guests learn to make tender noodles from scratch, along with fresh basil pesto.
– Patisserie, or bakery, where guests get to play with chocolate, mousse and other sweet endings.
Once the food prep is complete, guests may move freely about the big kitchen to chat with the chefs. No culinary question goes unanswered. It takes about an hour for all the prep work to be completed, then everyone is seated at a long table in the center of the kitchen to enjoy the five-course meal they’ve just prepared. (Vegetarian, vegan and selections for guests with allergies are options for dinner.)
Lights are dimmed, background music plays, and a toast begins the special meal, where each course is served with wine and beer. At the meal’s end, a special (and secret) demonstration is presented to the guests. They also receive a special toque (chef’s hat) to take home, along with a Disney cookbook signed by the chefs. A Disney PhotoPass photographer will be on hand to capture photos of the group during the experience.
“We really want them to leave the kitchen with ideas for a spectacular dinner party that they can do at home without opening a can or reaching for something frozen,” says Chef Brough.
The program is planned two evenings a week (days vary), starting at 5 p.m. Cost is $175 plus tax, $125 plus tax for ages 9 to 12. (Younger guests may have their own cooking station.) Complimentary transportation is provided for Walt Disney Resort hotel guests.