Tallahassee native and Florida State University senior Lake Meadows, 21, who has been an intern at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, writes about one more reason fall at the theme park is a fantasy for foodies.
By Lake Meadows
My love of food goes back to a really early age. When I was two years old, my dad took my mom and I to Osaka Steakhouse in Tallahassee for my mom’s birthday dinner. My mom handed me a piece of tuna sashimi, not knowing whether I would like it or not. My parents tell me I not only ate that piece but everything on my plate and I wanted more.
My continued love for all things culinary eventually led me to the Florida State University Dedman School of Hospitality, where I am currently in my senior year.
This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, a short walk or boat ride from the theme park’s Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Working in some of the best restaurants in Orlando all under one roof — well, technically two roofs — was a life-changing experience.
Most foodies are familiar with the month-long International Food and Wine Festival held at Epcot, but there’s another culinary event within walking distance to complement your gourmet experience.
On Oct. 28 and 29, The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin will hold its 7th Annual Food and Wine Classic. You can stroll the
causeway on Crescent Lake, which will be lined with tents, tables and booths, listening to live music, sipping wine and tasting international dishes all prepared by the culinary team from the hotels’ 17 restaurants and lounges.
Attendees can also meet chefs including Todd English of bluezoo and the hotels’ executive pastry chef Laurent Branlard,
The Causeway ticket price for $98.85 includes unlimited food and wine. A different selection will be offered each evening. For an additional fee of $24.54, you can add a ticket to the Beer Garden and sample a variety of brews on tap along with house-made bar snacks.
The event also offers 10 classes during the afternoons of Oct. 28 and 29. The afternoon classes, for a separate fee, include Wine
Blending, Italian Wines, Base to Bubbles, Craft Cocktails, Tequila University, Sushi and Sake and Cheese and Pasta Making. The classes are all taught by the Swan and Dolphin’s food and beverage team.
This summer, I had the chance to take the pasta making class taught by the resort’s executive chef, Robert Ciborowski. He takes you through the process step by step, from making dough the way his grandma taught him to turning that dough into various pastas such as agnolotti, chitarra and farfalle. Once all of the pasta is made, Ciborowski and his team take over, turning the freshly made pasta into about a dozen dishes. This was the best pasta I’ve ever had.
This year’s classic will also feature some new concepts. One will be Chinatown, the event’s take on the famed San Francisco district. Apart from a motif to match the name, Chinatown will feature classic dishes such as crispy duck, steamed bun and pan-roasted pork dumplings. Sunday’s Bubble Brunch with J Vineyards and
Winery at Il Mulino New York Trattoria will present traditional and some not-so-traditional menu items as well as a glass of champagne or specialty mimosa included in the price. There’s an option to upgrade to bottomless champagne and mimosas.
You don’t have to be a hotel guest to attend the event but the hotels do offer ticket and accommodation packages. The Food and Wine Classic also offers an a la carte option for $50. See the event website for more details or call 407.934,4000.
I am proud to be a part of The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic. When you visit, make sure to find me and say hey.
When: 5:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28 and Oct.29
Where: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, 1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd., Lake Buena Vista. 407.934,4000