Kevin Dundon Culinary Demonstration – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2014

this culinary demonstration took place on Wednesday, October 1, 2014

This is the fifth year in a row that we’ve seen Kevin Dundon’s Culinary Demonstration at Food & Wine. And yes, he’s that good; he’s not only a great chef, he can demonstrate and talk and tell stories and banter all at the same time, did I mention that he’s also quite charming?

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Kevin Dundon getting ready before the demonstration began – there’s a slight touch of grey in his hair these days, quite distinguished

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The recipe for today – Spiced Duck Breast

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The rest of the recipe

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photo of the finished product (not what was served to us, this was on the menu)

The host today was John Ekin (on the right) and the wine representative was Mark Shapiro from Lake Ridge and San Sebastian wineries here in Florida. Lake Ridge does a lot of festivals throughout the year, they’re only about 30 minutes up the road – our table mates live about 6 minutes from the winery, they said the festivals are nice but the wine… um, not so much. We’ve not been impressed with any of the wines we’ve tried from Florida – the grape wines tend to be made with muscadines, which we like, but the ones from Florida seem to be off balance from the muscadines we’re accustomed to from the Carolinas.

In a nutshell, the wine was tolerable with food. It wasn’t impressive on its own. It isn’t something we’re likely to drink or seek out. Sorry.

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Mark Shapiro (wine guy) and John Ekin (WDW host)

One of the best things about this presentation was the craic between Kevin and John. They’ve worked together for years and both have a good sense of humor. They bantered and badgered back and forth. It was a hoot!

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John says that Chef Dundon is one of my favorites to work with, his tv show was seen in 319 homes – Kevin comes out and says it was seen in 219,000,000 homes on 325 PBS stations

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Kevin’s recipe for success in the kitchen “good food, simple preparation, simple sauce”

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always the salesman (but in a non-offensive way) – I’ve got books, I’ve got DVDs, I’ve got cookware 🙂

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the newest book is available on October 14, 2014 – but you can get it now at the Festival Center or at Raglan Road Pub… Back to Basics and he included photos of various steps so that you can SEE if you’re doing it right

So what were some of the topics bandied about on stage?

  • Today, I’m making spiced duck breast with baby food (pureed vegetables are comfort food)
  • The duck today came from Maple Leaf Farms (they’re in Milford Indiana and at one point in my professional career I considered going to work for them – betcha didn’t know I have a minor in Poultry Science)
  • Kevin’s new show “Back to Basics” will be on PBS in the U.S. in January 2015
  • The mango for the salsa is pretty green, John tried to get Kevin talking about why but John stepped on all of Kevin’s lines in the process and Kevin just said “why should I tell them about it, you just said everything?”
  • Long discussion of beef
    • Kevin likes how in the US we have Prime, Choice, and Select
    • Most restaurants choose high Choice or low Prime beef – the pure or high level Prime is just too rich for most preparations in restaurants
    • Most beef in US is grain-fed and nearly all beef in Ireland is grass-fed – difference in climates and it makes a difference in the meat
    • Irish Beef should be available in the US in 2015, looks like the FDA is going to approve importation
  • Lots of the food at Raglan Road is inspired by childhood food memories – check out his book “I’d ate the backdoor buttered Ma!”
  • The second sauce for the famous Raglan Road Pub Bread and Butter Pudding was a fortuitous accident – during the soft opening of his restaurant in Las Vegas, the desserts were flying out of the kitchen and the butterscotch sauce was accidentally placed on the bread and butter pudding plates… the hotel management thought it was fantastic! so, there it stayed!
  • To test your meat for doneness, squeeze it – that’s the same way to tell if you have the right woman (this devolved into a long story about the first cuddle/squeeze between Kevin and his wife (they were 17), he says he knew right then and there that he’d found THE ONE for him)
    • Someone asked about the internal temperature of the duck breast – Kevin said “I don’t do that shite! I touch it!” – then he realized the questioner wanted to know about rare / medium rare / medium
      • Duck = medium to medium-rare
      • Lamb = slow roasted or medium to medium-rare; rare lamb can be very tough
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lamb perfectly cooked, warm and delicious!

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the puree tastes of Thanksgiving

Kevin incorporates the same flavors and spice/herbs throughout each component of the dish, this creates a nice cohesiveness.

Every year, Kevin Dundon and the chefs from Raglan Road Pub manage to produce food for over 100 guests AND it’s all cooked perfectly and served at temperature. We aren’t certain, but we strongly suspect that he uses some of HIS staff and not a lot of the Epcot Food & Wine kitchen staff AND that he insists that things be prepared and served to HIS standards. Good show mate.

We were shocked that there wasn’t a dessert course this year. Every other year, he’s managed to pull off two dishes to all the other chefs’ one dish. Maybe Disney asked him to stop showing up everyone else.

we were fortunate to talk to Chef Dundon at the Signature Dinner at Raglan Road the next night… He confirmed that he was asked or it was suggested that he not make two dishes Doesn’t matter, he still showed up everyone else.

This was loads of fun. The food was great. And now, we’re even more excited about the Signature Dinner at Raglan Road Pub as part of Food & Wine… You’ll see that in a few days!

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