Epcot Food & Wine 2010 – Chef Robert Irvine

Food Who: Robert Irvine, Dinner Impossible™, Robert Irvine’s eat! in Hilton Head SC

Also: Jared, the chef du cuisine at eat!


Wine Who: Ceclia Flores from Pascual Toso, Mendoza, Argentina

What: Pascual Toso Malbec Reserve

The Mendoza region is located at the foot of the Andes mountains. The area is semi-desert, very dry, yet great for growing grapes. The winery founder moved to this area in 1890 from Italy. The wine that we were tasting is 100% Malbec grapes (a uniquely argentinian grape), look for very sweet & soft tannins and tastes of blackberry. The wine is mostly aged in American oak.


This was a real whirlwind – as I’m sure anyone who’s seen Chef Robert on television can appreciate; in person he’s even more dynamic and irreverent. Chef Robert began by telling us about his new television projects and about how much he LOVES coming to Disney World. (Before the event began, we were told that guests sitting at the first seven tables would have to sign releases because we were being filmed by Disney and by the Food Channel.) I’m not sure that Chef Robert got that memo because he was always moving through the audience with raw lamb, with a knife in his hand, with a bottle of wine, basically with whatever struck his fancy at that particular moment AND he didn’t seem to respect any restriction to stay at the front of the audience.


An audience member helps Robert countdown to the start of the demonstration


Be Enthusiastic About Food!


Getting acquainted with the audience


Joking with Jared about the poor guy's hair & muscles


Demonstrating how you french the bones for a crown rack of lamb (this is when he was carrying a knife around in the audience - Disney was having a cow!)


Wash your knife steel after every use, especially if you're going to use it make a big hole in your eye of lamb


That's Marianne Hunnel on the far left, in addition to shepherding Robert around Epcot on his many visits for television, she also plans/organizes the entire Food & Wine Festival


Robert has just dumped a huge pile of butter onto the cutting board and said "Now, if I was Paula Deen, here's where I'd say 'and we start with a lot of butter'!"


Disney CM's, all fans of Robert's; Marianne, the gentleman organizing Disneyland's Food & Wine Festival, and our announcer


At the end, Robert brought the youngest audience member up - to tell him to do his chores for his mom & to try to get a cut of the kid's allowance for this sage advice

A few notes…

  • rack of lamb
    • if it doesn’t smell, it’s good to eat
    • to remove the gaminess, soak in milk for one hour
    • sears very quickly
    • you must rest your meat <giggle>
    • don’t be afraid to cook with lamb
  • grapeseed oil versus olive oil
    • grapeseed oil has a higher flashpoint
    • grapeseed oil contains omega 3 fatty acids and B6
    • grapeseed oil has no flavor
    • grapeseed oil is Chef Robert’s preferred oil for cooking
    • olive oil has a lower flashpoint
    • olive oil has definite flavors
    • olive oil is for salads not for cooking/frying
  • Marianne Honoau (sorry if the spelling isn’t correct) – Organizer of Walt Disney World Epcot Food & Wine Festival (hope I got that correct) – anyway, this is the lovely lady that makes everything come together
  • Paula Deen is like his mama
  • if someone tells him that he can’t do A or B, he’ll go do A or B just because
  • next year, Chef Robert will be participating in the Disneyland Food & Wine Festival and he expects to be back at the Disney World Food & Wine Festival

Stuffed Lamb, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans (Haricort vert) - like our friend Harry, Robert is very particular about his mashed potatoes (must be an English thing)


Olive Tapenade Stuffed Lamb with Balsamic Fig Glaze

serves 4


2 racks domestic lamb

2 cups breadcrumbs

1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced

1/2 cup re-hydrated sundried tomatoes, minced (soak in hot water to rehydrate)

2 tbs minced garlic

1 tbs basil, minced

1 tbs rosemary, minced

1 tbs grapeseed oil

(and I’m not certain, Robert said “figs” at this point, but I didn’t taste any in the final product)

Method for Stuffing

  1. In mixing bowl blend, by hand or with a wooden spoon, olives, basil, rosemary, salt, pepper, tomatoes, olive oil & garlic
  2. This mixutre will be our stuffing for the lamb eye (loin)
  3. Next, with a knife steel, knife or dowel, create a 1/4 inch hole through the eye of lamb chop (loin), end to end
  4. Carefully fill lamb with stuffing (put stuffing into zip bag, snip corner, use as pastry bag to stuff the loin) and hold cold while preparing the sauce

Balsamic Fig Glaze


1 quart of balsamic vinegar, dark (cheaper alernative… mix one quart of inexpensive balsamic vinegar with one quart of honey, reduce back to one quart stirring constantly)

1/4 cup fresh figs

salt & pepper to season

1 tbs granulated sugar

2 tbs grapeseed oil

Method for Glaze

  1. either reduce your quart of balsamic vinegar by 50% or reduce your quart of balsamic vinegar & honey by 50%
  2. reduce to minimum heat, add sugar and figs and further reduce by 30%
  3. remove from heat when you have 3/4 cup remaining
  4. pour through strainer to remove remaining figs

Method for Lamb

  1. Season exterior of lamb with salt and pepper, then in sauce pan over medium high heat, bring grapeseed oil to verge of smoking (see comments about grapeseed oil)
  2. Once oil is hot, add seasoned lamb, eye portion, to hot oil and sear to a golden brown, this should take 4-5 minutes, reduce heat to medium and repeat searing process on bottom side, then remove lamb from heat
  3. Allow lamb to cool to the touch and then spread top of lamb rack with apricot glaze and finish with breadcrumbs, evenly topping, then finish in 400degF oven for 10-12 minutes or until desired temperature is reached
  4. Remove lamb from oven and pan, allowing rack to rest for 5 minutes
  5. Slice and serve with balsamic fig glaze and starch of choice

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