Last night I attended “A Virtual Taste Of Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival” sponsored by Florida Blue Medicare and the Walt Disney World Resort and it was so much fun! This will be the first time in many years that I won’t be able to attend the event in person, so I was thrilled to have a little piece of the festival magic streamed to me directly in my home.
The event opened with a live and funny performance from Epcot’s beloved JAMMitors! These musically talented chefs create music from cookware on Epcot’s main stage while telling hilarious jokes and singing tunes. It was so nice to feel like I was back in the audience for a live performance once again! If you missed it, check out this fun video!
Next, Walt Disney World Resort Ambassador, Stephen Lim, took viewers backstage to the office studio of Disney Senior Artist Brett Owens. With his expert guidance and incredible artistic talent, Brett helped viewers at home draw their very own Remy picture free – hand! While I struggle to draw even a straight line most days, my drawing came out great! In fact, my 6-year-old daughter as asked to take possession of it and have it framed! As we drew, Brett told his story of improving his art skills and taking a position with the Walt Disney Company- it was both captivating and inspirational.
All that drawing worked up an appetite, so fortunately the next part of the event included a live recipe demo by Disney Chef, Kevin Downing who leads the Epcot Festivals Culinary Team. Click here to watch him in action!
As a Dietitian, this was the best part of the program! I loved going backstage into an Epcot kitchen and watching how all the magic happens to create the delicious cultural dishes that keep so many guests coming back to the festival year after year. Chef Kevin has quite an impressive background. He is responsible for developing menus across the parks’ four festivals – Food and Wine, Festival of the Holidays, International Festival of the Arts, and International Flower and Garden Festival. He has worked at JIKO- The Cooking Place, The Flying Fish Café, Disney’s Very Beach Resort, and California Grill. In 2019, Kevin became the Chef at Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot and currently works with his team to provide guests with creative and unique menu items for each of the festivals.
We love when Disney streams these fun events with Disney Chefs – they’re so fun to watch! The recipe Chef Kevin prepared live on air was Jerk Chicken with Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt. For those who can visit in person, you’ll find the Jerk-spiced Chicken with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt is Gluten/Wheat Friendly and available at the Islands of the Caribbean (Showcase Plaza). This was a highlight for me from the Virtual Taste Of Epcot® International Food and Wine Festival!
I can’t wait to recreate this on my own – he made it look so easy and based on the response from Walt Disney World Resort’s Ambassador Marilyn West, it is just as delicious as it looks!
What I loved about this segment was when Chef Kevin provided insight on how to make the recipe allergy-friendly and shared some tips on how to modify ingredients for diets lower in sugar and sodium. Scroll down to check out the full recipe from Disney! If you can’t make it to the festival this year, this is a great recipe to try at home in your own Kingdom Kitchen to get a little taste of the festival and to remind you of what awaits in this magical place when the festival returns next year!
For those who can attend in-person and are booking/have booked travel, lucky you! This is the time, to once again, to sip, savor and stroll your days away during the Taste of EPCOT® International Food & Wine Festival. A Silver Lining to this modified experience is certainly the fact that it is the longest running festival ever. This year’s festival debuted July 15th and runs until November 22nd at Walt Disney World® Resort. While this year’s event will be understandably different from what it was in the past, you’ll still be able to venture across six continents and beyond as you sample mouthwatering delicacies from over 20 destinations. You’ll also find many of your favorite flavors along with some tempting new ones to try. Of course, there’s family fun like the return of Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt; entertainment including the merry Mariachi Cobre and the rhythmic JAMMitors crew; plus, a collection of limited-edition 25th anniversary merchandise for purchase. Have you attended yet? Be sure to visit TasteEpcot.com for more information!