Behind The Scenes with The Chew for My Epic 35 Days of Epcot!
Want to know where I’m spending the next 35 days? At Walt Disney World’s Epcot! I kicked off My Epic 35 Days of Epcot with The Chew!
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of EPCOT, I will be spending 35 epic days at my favorite festival – The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! Each day, I will highlight a fun festival experience, global marketplace, Must Eat and Drink items, Must Do activities and Must See sights. Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram for LIVE videos and behind the scenes. I’m so excited to share all this fun with you!
I’ve always wanted to do a crazy consecutive days stunt like this. I figured since I have an annual pass, I might as well use it to the fullest. Here it goes! Time to #MakeSomedayHappen Join me!
DAY 1 of My Epic 35 Days of Epcot: The Chew
ABC’s Emmy Award-winning lifestyle series, “The Chew,” returned to Walt Disney World Resort for the third year to broadcast five shows from the 22nd Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Once again, I had the opportunity to be in the audience for a taping and the food and fun was bigger than ever! This show is the perfect match for Epcot.
“The Chew’s production adds another level of excitement and fun to our iconic fall food and wine festival,” Epcot vice president Melissa Valiquette said. “It’s magical to see our Epcot stage light up as the show’s celebrated hosts cook, dish and entertain each live audience of festival guests.”
The Chew shows, recorded on October 4-6 with Epcot’s iconic Spaceship Earth backdrop and visits with Mickey and Minnie as well as several celebrities, will air on the ABC Television Network, October 9-13, 2017, at 1 p.m. EDT, 12 p.m. PDT (check your local listings).
Day 1 of My Epic 35 Days of Epcot kicked off with a big hit! I’ve been a fan of The Chew for years as it shares much in common with my mission at GoEpicurista.com.
The Chew celebrates life through food – from cooking and home entertaining to exploring food trends and bringing original ideas to holiday events. The dynamic hosts share tips and recipes to make cooking and home entertaining easy, affordable and fun. That’s also what I strive to do with my Easy Entertaining tips and recipes. There’s no excuse to put off entertaining friends and family at home to an elusive someday. With inspiration from the show, you can definitely “Make Someday Happen”.
9 Favorite Moments from The Chew Taping
Here are my 9 favorite moments of The Chew show taping, which will air on October 9th. Be on the lookout and see if you can spot me in the crowd. (hint: I was in the second row. I may come out during a special game.)
1. Lots of Disney Love!
The fabulous Emmy Award-winning co-hosts, Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, and Michal Symon love to share stories of their Disney adventures and their favorite eats and drinks around the parks. After three years, they continue to find new favorites just like I do.
Carla Hall’s enthusiasm and kid-like glee for all things Disney is absolutely contagious. I love to see how everyone who comes to Disney is just as excited as I am, no matter how many times I visit.
I said this the first year I watched the show taping at Epcot (you can read all about the behind the scenes here), and I will say it again. I would love to go eating and drinking around the world with Carla! Maybe someday…
“It’s our favorite week of the year,” raved Gordon Elliott, executive producer of “The Chew.” “The hosts enjoy the excitement of the park along with their fans, and for a few days everyone is on holiday, with amazing food!”
2. Vanna White in the house!
Clinton Kelly whipped up a next level White Russian Banana Cream Pie with none other than the fabulous co-host of Wheel of Fortune, Vanna White! To say she is just as gorgeous and glamorous in person is an understatement. I remember watching this show as a kid with my dad and I can’t believe it is celebrating 35 years on air. Vanna shared that she has worn over 6,000 different glam outfits over the years. She never repeats a dress!
The Wheel of Fortune show will also be taping from Epcot during the festival, to air at later dates.
3. Eat Local Citrus!
Carla Hall highlighted our Florida citrus in a healthy salad recipe that I can’t wait to get my hands on. It had Florida grapefruits, oranges and limes. Repeat after me, “Grapefruits, oranges and limes, oh my!” Watch the show and you’ll see why this phrase is stuck in my head now.
4. The Cooking is Real!
Yes, you do have the magic of television with the final dish already prepared but the hosts actually do go through the steps of preparing each dish. The smells prove it! I’ve never been more jealous of the Tasting Table than I was when Michael Symon prepared his orechiette pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe. The smell of the garlic alone had me drooling. Sadly, only the Fiber One Tasting Table got a chance to try it.
When they said they had a surprise for the audience, I was really hoping it was a dish of pasta for each of us! Instead we got a gift card to Disney Springs, which was both a “woo hoo!” and weirdly disappointing. I really wanted that pasta. Another recipe I must try.
5. Mickey and Minnie Dressed For The Season!
Mickey and Minnie are the quintessential hosts. After all, they welcome millions of guests each year. They escorted the co-hosts of The Chew on stage and then came out in intricate fall costumes to promote Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I heard the costumes originated in Tokyo Disney. They were full of detail and stunning to see live!
You can’t help but smile when Mickey and Minnie are around.
6. Carla Hall Dancing!
It would not be a taping of The Chew at Epcot if Carla Hall did not dance with someone in the audience. Her energy is amazing!
7. The Camera Guy in Mickey Ears!
The fun is not just reserved for the on-air personalities. The crew behind the scenes get in on the fun as well! No one exemplifies this better than Hardy. The camera guy has made his food-inspired Mickey Ears for three years in a row. The first year, he had bacon and eggs ears. This year he had beer mugs! When asked if he made them himself, he said he had “the glue gun burns to prove it.” He also offered this piece of advice “Don’t drink before you glue gun!” Smart man.
8. The Warm Up Guy!
Every TV show which tapes with a live studio audience has a warm-up comic. His job is to make you laugh, get you pumped and get you to loosen up so that you come out on TV looking like you’re having the time of your life when they do those shots of the audience. His job is also to keep you entertained during that long period of time you are waiting around for the show to start filming (We were seated for about an hour before taping) and in between each commercial breaks. RC Smith has been the warm-up guy at The Chew since the show started. He has a big personality and although I’ve heard some of his jokes before (because I’ve seen the show tape 4 times) you will definitely laugh.
My favorite part is the audience sing along! Who can resist singing “I wanna rock and roll all night!” or Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer’?
9. It takes a village!
We may see the celebrity co-hosts on TV but there are hundreds of crew members behind the scenes making it all happen. During each commercial break, they storm the stage like busy bees, buzzing around re-applying make up, setting up the cooking demos, changing the stage and more. It takes a lot of coordination to tape a show like this on location. I have seen them each year and can say I’m always impressed at seeing the same faces in the crew and how well they work together. That was most noticeable last year when the schedule had to be adjusted last minute because of the impending arrival of Hurricane Matthew. They taped 5 shows in two days! This year, tropical storms also threatened but the crew at The Chew are pros at this by now.
Q&A with The Chew
During a special Q&A after the taping, we had the opportunity to ask the co-hosts a few questions.
Let’s Talk Disney Treats!
Disney Treats are just as iconic as any meal. From giant turkey legs, to decadent and gigantic caramel or candy covered apples, mickey ears ice cream and Rice Krispy treats to the famous Dole Whip, and more! You must always save room for a Disney treat.
Clinton Kelly was immediately nodding his head and jumped in “Like a churro” Yes, definitely a churro. Mario chimed in “I’m a churro guy too!” Clinton also loved the chocolate covered frozen bananas with nuts. Very refreshing on the hot Florida days!
Michael Symon said he goes for Rice Krispy treats. Carla Hall couldn’t contain herself “Oh my God. I love a Rice Krispy treat, I love a churro. I love those giant candy apples you can eat all day. I love the turkey legs. And the tea with the little girls but I’m probably too old for that. And the popcorn!” You could go on and on with all the yummy treats you can find at Disney.
Let’s Talk Eating and Drinking Around The World with The Chew!
“The Chew” will feature segments highlighting food and beverages from “around the world” of Walt Disney World Resort and its four theme parks and Disney Springs. There’s a lot of great food to talk about.
Delicious dishes inspired by “The Chew” are featured throughout the festival in the themed global marketplace, “Earth Eats, Hosted by The Chew.” It was previously called “The Chew Collective.”
Don’t miss the Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots and Feta Cheese; Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce and a sweet finish: Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with Caramel Drizzle.
Let’s Talk Festival Dishes Inspiration!
The Chew co-hosts are always coming up with new recipes to share on the show. This year they have incorporated more vegan and vegetarian dishes. When asked which marketplace they would most want to create a dish for, Michael said Greece and Poland. He loves going to the Greece marketplace and enjoying grape leaves. “I would probably go over there and put on some of my mom’s recipes.”
Mario Batalli said “I want to work the Chinese booth and prepare Italian style noodles with Chinese ingredients. We share so much passion and love for noodles and dumplings.”
Carla Hall wants to learn something new and said “I would love to go to India. I love all the spices. I want to learn more about the cuisine and bring it home.” This is often what is so special about the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. The opportunity to try new flavors and cuisines from around the world and then share it with family and friends.
Clinton Kelly loves New Zealand mostly because of the green lip mussels. He prepared a green lip mussels with sauvignon blanc recipe on The Chew stage at Epcot last year that looked to-die-for. He said “I could be there all day.”
Let’s Talk Disney Restaurants!
There are so many Disney restaurants on my favorites list it’s always difficult to choose one. When asked, the hosts had no problem naming their faves.
Mario Batali says “Morimoto Asia, everything they do is fantastic!” and Michael Symon agreed.
Carla Hall visited “Prime Time Café at Hollywood Studios where the servers are really snarky and make you eat your vegetables. The chicken and the meatloaf are really good.”
Clinton Kelly loved the Indian food at Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Let’s Talk Disney Rides!
It’s not all about food for the The Chew co-hosts. Clinton Kelly couldn’t wait to shout out his favorite Disney Ride, Toy Story. “I went yesterday! I’m going three times today and three times tomorrow!” He will be happy to check out the new Toy Story Land opening at Hollywood Studios next summer!
Mario Batali said “we went on the Pandora ride yesterday and it was a game changer. The best ride I’ve ever been on. It was thrilling. I was amazed.” Mario’s previous favorite was Hollywood Tower of Terror and I will never forget last year’s Q&A when I mistakenly said that the ride was closing. He quickly corrected me and pointed out it was California’s Tower of Terror that was being converted to a Guardian’s of the Galaxy ride. Major embarrassing moment! But I am glad we still have the original Tower of Terror in Orlando.
Carla loves the Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Let’s Talk Travel Around The World!
When asked if they could be anywhere else in the world, other than Epcot of course, where would they be, Michael Symon immediately said “Scotland! Finishing up a nice round of golf and then enjoying a cold beer and sausage.” He’s a golf fan and also got a chance to enjoy a round with Mario Batali while in town.
Clinton Kelly wants to be in “Paris having a pain au chocolate and crème caffe” and Mario Batali chimed in with “The Amalfi Coast drinking fiano and eating alici marina”. Both on my list!
Carla Hall had the best answer of all. She wants to be at the not-yet created “Pandora Spa.” She was absolutely mesmerized by Disney’s Animal Kingdom newest attraction, Avatar: The World of Pandora, and the wealth of sensory experiences there. “With Himalayan salts, drinking tea not yet designed”. Disney imagineers, here’s your next project. Create a Pandora spa!
Let’s Talk Favorites around the festival
Mario Batali said he enjoyed the molecular gastronomy dishes (the Liquid Nitro Chocolate almond truffle in The Chocolate Studio is a must eat!), Italy and Australia. He’s looking forward to sampling new items this year.
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
At the Festival Center, guests can watch screenings of “The Chew” show highlights, cooking and entertaining tips. For more information on the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, check out my Ultimate Guide and the website. The festival is celebrating 22 delicious years with more food and beverage items, more global marketplaces (35 in total!), more premium experiences and entertainment. It is an event that should be on every foodie bucket list. If you haven’t been, now is the time to Make Someday Happen!
Disclosure: I was an invited media guest of Disney Theme Parks for the taping of The Chew. No other compensation was provided and I am under no obligation to write this post. All opinions are my own. As always, I only share with you experiences worth celebrating and products I love to inspire you to #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time. For more information on my guidelines, please read my disclosure policy. Cheers!