Party for the Senses is the weekly event during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival that features chefs from around the country who are visiting the festival. This year there was something new: An all-Disney Party for the Senses with chefs from properties around the world. I was invited to stop by the party on Oct. 25 and experience this first-ever gathering. (Click the video above to see some of the sights and hear some of the sounds.)
Not all of the company’s properties were accounted for, as it turns out. Conspicuous in their absence were any representatives for Disneyland Paris, which you’d think would be a natural for a food and wine event. At least, no one from Paris was listed in the official program, and I did not come across any Frenchmen as I wandered the vast space, but I certainly could have missed a thing or two.
Not surprising, the majority of the chefs cooking Saturday didn’t have to travel too far. They were from the various restaurants and properties situated throughout the WDW campus. And among them were some of the food highlights of the evening, including Tim Keating’s Fish Tacos a la Flying Fish and Lamb Four Ways from California Grill’s Brian Piasecki. Victoria & Albert’s sous chef, Tom Hill, standing in for a missing Scott Hunnel, had a delicious Tuna with Black Radish and Celery Root.
Michael Pythoud, listed on the program as executive chef at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, even though he was recently promoted to executive chef of resorts, offered a baked Salibut – a salmon and halibut fusion — with fennel confit, saffron pearl potatoes and pinot noir sauce “inked” with squid ink. Stefan Riemer, pastry chef and concept developer, offered Marscapone-Lemon Cremeux, and Erich Herbitschek, executive pastry chef at the Grand Floridian, had Peruvian Chocolate Timbale with Raspberry Foam. Curiously, Herbitschek’s booth featured a Darth Vader helmet.
Christine Weissman was still listed in the program as the executive chef at Disneyland in Anaheim even though she has returned to Orlando to oversee the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. She offered Braised Veal Cheeks with Butter-Poached Lobster and Carrot Puree.
Among the out of town chefs, Kevin Chong of Aulani, a Disney resort and spa in Hawaii, stood out with his Spicy Tuna Poke stuffed with Yuzu Crab Salad and coated with Puffed Furikake Rice.
Masayoshi Suzuki, executive chef at Disneyland Tokyo, had Deep-Fried Mille-Feuille of Scallop and Mushroom Duxelles, and Tony Leung, executive sous chef at Hong Kong Disneyland, presented Braised Pork Belly with Chinese herbs.
As with other Parties, entertainment was provided by cast member of Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba.
Only one more Party for the Senses remains for this year’s festival, on Saturday, November 1.