Victoria & Albert’s, the uber fine dining restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, will finally end its pandemic-induced hiatus when it resumes service on July 28. It will begin accepting reservations, which are mandatory, on Monday, June 20.
It will reopen with some personnel changes. Most notably, Scott Hunnel, who has steered the restaurant almost since it first opened in 1988, beginning as its chef de cuisine, now holds the title of Culinary Director and oversees multiple resort hotels, including the Grand Floridian. When V&A closed in March 2020, Hunnel was executive chef for the Grand Floridian’s food operations.
Kevin Chong now holds the executive chef position at Grand Floridian and Mathew Sowers is the chef de cuisine, the position last held by Aimée Rivera. Hunnel recruited Sowers, who advanced to working on menu development for the restaurant in 2010. Sowers also worked with Hunnel in opening the upscale Remy restaurants on Disney cruise ships in collaboration with French chef Arnaud Lallement.
Kristine Farmer, a veteran of several Disney kitchens (also since 1988), takes on the role of pastry chef, which had previously been the bailiwick of Erich Herbitschek. Herbitschek is credited as Farmer’s mentor.
Israel Perez will continue his long-running role as Victoria & Albert’s maitre d’hotel and sommelier. He has managed the front of the house since 2004.
The intimate dining room has undergone some redecorating during the downtime, some of it, according to sources, necessitated by issues that arose while the restaurant was closed. (Mold, I’m told.)
Victoria & Albert’s is one of the country’s most celebrated restaurants. It has earned AAA’s top Five Diamond Award since 2000 and Forbes Travel Guide’s Five Star designation since 2018. It was missing from the inaugural Florida Michelin Guide – hard to rate a restaurant while it’s closed – but it is a likely candidate to earn multiple stars in the next edition.
As long as it opens with the same high quality it had before.