The announcement I’ve been anticipating has finally been made: Delicious Disney, A Chef Series, will continue through 2017.
The series started as a sort of experiment or trial last sumemr. In fact then it was called “A Summer Series.” There were three dinners, all of them at Markham’s, the private restaurant at Golden Oak, but each featuring a chef and team from another restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort.
This year, the series will expand to nine dinners in all, and throughout the year. And while a majority of them will also be at Markham’s, which offers a pleasant atmosphere in its comfortable dining room (but seating for only 60 guests), three of the dinners will be at other venues throughout the property.
That includes the first dinner of the year, which will be at Cinderella’s Royal Table at Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom Tuesday, January 31. It begins with a Fireworks Reception at 7: 45 p.m. and dinner begins at 9. The dinner will be under the direction of Magic Kingdom’s culinary director Robert Gilbert and his team. The cost? Hold on to your tiaras: $499 per person.
Most of the other dinners are $249 (and all include tax and gratuity) so you know there must be something really special planned for this one. No one is giving any specifics, but I do know that the park closes at 8 p.m., so it will be an after-hours dinner. (To see the full list of Delicious Dinners, A Chef Series, and for reservation information, see Pam Brandon’s article at Disney Parks Blog.)
And if the dinners held last year under the Delicious Disney banner are any indication, the evening will be an impressive presentation of food and wine excellence.
I told you about one of the dinners I was invited to attend the dinner featuring the team from California Grill, including chef Dennis Thompson, manager sommelier Michael Scheifler, and pastry chef Jeff Barnes. You can read about that delicious Delicious Disney dinner here.
I was also invited to the final dinner, also at Markham’s, put together by executive chef Lenny DeGeorge and pastry chef Stefan Riemer of Disney’s Flavor Lab, with wines from master sommelier Brian Koziol. (So great to have a master somm back at WDW.)
While the other two dinners were less themed, focusing on the creativity of the food itself, this dinner was put together to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Disney animated film Alice in Wonderland.
We started with a course called Down the Rabbit Hole, because of course. It had ash-roasted carrots, sheep’s milk ricotta, and drunken goat cheese. Koziol offered a Chateau de Montford Vouvray to go with it. It had wonderful notes of apple on the nose and a bit of sweetness from the Chenin Blanc grapes to stand up to the ash.
The second course was called the Lobster Quadrille, which is what the Mock Turtle recited to Alice. This feature lobster tail (it could just as easily have been turtle soup, right?) with miso aioli, nori bread and caviar. Jean-Marc Brocard’s Chablis Grand Cru les Clos from Burgundy was the wine.
Advice from a Caterpillar had mushrooms, sweet potato, smoked paprika polenta and crystal lettuce in a caterpillary pile, paired with a Pinot Noir from Hamilton Russell in Menel-En-Aarde Valley.
A Mad Tea Party was the delight of the evening. We were presented with an eclair, cream puff , scone and macaron. The the Mad Hatter being, well, mad, they were turned topsy. Instead of getting dessert before the entree, each of these sweet looking morsels was actually savory. It was a green onion and cheddar scone topped with bacon jam, the eclair was filled with tomato-goat cheese custard. The macaron was a little chicken liver pate snadwich, and the cream puff was filled with smoked salmon and chive onion.
And of course Koziol directed that the Chateau de Aqueria Rose from Tavel be decanted from glass teapots.
Looking-glass House — the Jabberwock was the name of the meat course, featuring tenderloin of beef Wellington and parsnip puree with a violet mustard sauce.
DeLille Cellars D2 Bordeaux Blend from Columbia Valley was the pairing.
Then of course the actual dessert had a savory title: Pig and Pepper. But it was definitely unporky and not peppery, featuring blackberry-beet opera cake, passionfruit balm and basil. The port was from Taylor Fladgate, a First Estate Reserve.
Eat me cake, indeed.