Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Interview with Celebrity Chef, Kevin Dundon of Raglan Road Irish Pub

Chef Kevin Dundon, Raglan Road
Chef Kevin Dundon, Raglan Road Pub
Many of you are probably familiar with Raglan Road Irish Pub in Downtown Disney.  It’s a REAL Irish Pub that was built in Ireland and flown over to the U.S. and reassembled.  It is owned and managed by folks from Ireland.  This is the real deal and it shows!  It’s a great place to go for delicious Irish food, nightly Irish dancing, Irish music, and most importantly, a feeling of welcoming family.  Even at Disney, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more hospitable place to eat, drink, and be MERRY!

If you would like to learn more about the history of Raglan Road, the people behind it, as well as find many delicious recipes of the food served at the restaurant, you can purchase “The Raglan Road Cookbook, I’d Ate the Back Door Buttered Ma: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.”  Chef Kevin and his Raglan Road Partner John Cooke compiled the book over a period of two years.  A review of the book as well as Chef Kevin’s Signature Dinner featuring food from the new book is HERE.

A sampling of the food found in the book that was served at the Dinner.
Smoked Haddock, Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Vintage Dubliner Cheddar Bake
(Listed as Smokey City and was on the menu the day the restaurant opened.)

Creme Brulee Topped with Raglan Road’s Bread and Butter Pudding
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with Chef Kevin, owner and executive chef of Raglan Road.  He spends a lot of time traveling back and forth from Orlando to Ireland (where he lives with his wife and children).  His dedication to be a constant presence in overseeing the Pub is evident.  He sacrifices a lot being away from his family but his love of food shows in every meal.
I asked him about what experience he wants guests to have when they dine at Raglan Road.  “We have traditional food with an Ireland focus. We use the BEST quality from Field to Plate.  I want to show that Irish food isn’t gloopy or stewy.  There’s more to it than that.”

When questioned about how the people in Ireland feel about adaptations to the cuisine he said, “There are culinary changes towards lighter food.  It is happening everywhere.  Heavy food like corned beef and cabbage is not something that you find in Ireland.  It’s not traditional.  That’s an American tradition.”

In Chef Kevin’s other new book “Modern Irish Food” (companion DVD also available) he showcases his style of lighter cooking as well as his field to plate/farm to table focus.  The day that I spoke with him, he created a lunch menu from this book.  “I’m proud of the lightened version.  It’s a new spin of fresh and light,” he said.  A review of this book as well as some food featured from it can be found HERE
A sampling of food served at lunch from the book.
Pulled Corned Beef and Cabbage Infused with an Asian Broth

Upside Down Steamed Orange Pudding with Caramelized Clotted Cream 

This dessert should appear on the Raglan Road menu soon according to Chef Kevin.
Chef Kevin also talked to me about some other exciting projects that he is working on currently.  He has a PBS cooking show called Modern Irish Food (check your local PBS listings for dates and times).  Again, the focus of the show is on fresh ingredients and simple cooking methods to make beautiful and delicious food.
Most recently he also partnered with Shophq to provide a line of cookware for the home cook.  You can look HERE for his Signature Collection of cookware.  

He explained to me that the Fusion non-stick coating is a new water-based, scratch resistant product.  They are stainless steel on the outside and have a variety of colors on the inside with the coating.  He also has a few other kitchen gadgets making their way to the market.  They include an electric pressure cooker and 3-layer steamer, as well as a chopper.

I did purchase a full set of the new stainless steel cookware.  It is a good starter set for the home cook.  Only two of my pieces (2 skillets) from the set have the fusion coating.  I tend to prefer pans without coatings as a personal preference.  Unfortunately, one of my skillets has a scratched coating from stacking it in the cabinet (prior to using it).  However, the cookware does come with a warranty.  Overall the pans are a nice heavy weight with good heat induction.  They also look very attractive sitting in the kitchen…even when dirty.

I’d like to thank Chef Kevin for taking the time to sit down and speak with me during his very hectic trip to the states.  Your love for food and the respect that you give to not only those of us eating it, but the ingredients that create the masterpieces are evident in every morsel. Thank you for sharing your passion.

“Serving the best food possible is the secret to the success.”
-Chef Kevin Dundon
Twitter @KevinDundon
Twitter @PrincessPapers

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