If you visited Epcot this past week, you couldn’t miss the huge stage set up in the center of the World Showcase promenade. That’s because the cast and crew of The Chew television show were filming at Walt Disney World as part of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. The group of relatable chefs and hosts offered audiences a glimpse into what such a successful production requires while bringing their own sense of magic to The Most Magical Place on Earth.
As a member of the local media, I was invited to view the taping of the cooking show and participate in a group interview with the cast afterward. Our questions ranged from favorite foods and rides at Walt Disney World to advice for parents of picky eaters and aspiring restaurateurs. You can watch Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Mario Batali answer our questions here:
This was my second time to view The Chew in production, and it was just as much fun as the first time. Our group of bloggers was seated close to the stage about a half hour before the taping was scheduled to begin. Once the other audience members filed in — keep reading to learn how you can get tickets — the show’s comedian, R.C. Smith, began to warm up the crowd. Smith did a great job keeping the crowd excited about the show. He told jokes, he interacted with the audience, and he even got people to clap and sing along to high-energy songs both before the taping began and on the commercial breaks.
Before the cast segments began, the audience had some “work” to do. We were asked to clap and laugh at different intervals while the cameras filmed crowd shots that would be edited into the final program. The cast came out on stage and greeted the audience before heading down the pathway they would use for their entrance with a few special guests at The Chew’s start. The backdrop to the stage was Spaceship Earth and the monorails passed by frequently.
Then it was time for the show, which focuses on cooking shortcuts, to begin. The episode’s theme was “Treat Yourself!” The hosts demonstrated in short segments how to prepare White Russian Banana Pudding Pie, Grilled Citrus Salad, and Orecchiette with Pork Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. During the first cooking lesson, Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna White visited the set and chatted with Kelly about her show’s 35th anniversary, which parallels Epcot’s milestone that was just celebrated on Oct. 1. Audience members at the Fiber One Tasting Table were, of course, sampling the dishes as they were presented. Chef Carla’s mother was among these special guests for our show!
Recipes for dishes made on the show are posted online an hour before the show airs. “Treat Yourself!” will air at 1 p.m. EST (noon PT) Monday, Oct. 9 on ABC affiliates. The other shows filmed at Walt Disney World will be aired Tuesday through Friday (Oct. 10-13) of next week.
Viewers and audience members also will see a pre-recorded video of some of The Chew staff visiting Disney Springs, which has undergone a multi-year transformation into a shopping and dining destination. Audience members were surprised with $50 Disney Springs gift cards at the conclusion of the taping so they, too, can explore the entertainment district. Plus, three audience members were chosen based on their answers on a questionnaire they filled out prior to the taping to receive tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. These generous giveaways were something different from the taping I attended last year, so I don’t think you can go into a television production (other than a game show) expecting to receive prizes.
Wish you had been able to attend a taping of The Chew at Epcot? Here is what you need to do for 2018 — if the show returns to Walt Disney World. Audience tickets were given away for the Epcot shows through contests and The Chew’s website. This year, it was announced in June that The Chew would be taping again at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. If that is the case next year, watch for an announcement on the Disney Parks Blog and then check The Chew’s website to sign up for tickets. Audience members must be at least 14 years old. You can read other rules and restrictions relating to audience participation at the link above. Audience members who are chosen to attend Epcot shows do receive complimentary admission to the theme park. If you do not receive tickets, there is a standby queue for each show, and Epcot guests who have their own admission to the park can join it in case there are extra seats at the tapings.
In the meantime, The Chew fans who visit Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival can taste dishes inspired by the talk show at the Earth Eats marketplace in Future World. Look for Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots and Feta Cheese; Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce; and Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with a Caramel Drizzle. These dishes are all returning from last year’s festival. My children and I have sampled each one this year and found them to be full of flavor. The beef skewer and the dessert were our favorites. These dishes can be paired with Kurt Russell’s Gogi Wines Chardonnay Gogi “Goldie” and Pinot Noir or the Redstone Meadery Black Raspberry Mead, which are also sold at the marketplace.
The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival runs through Nov. 13, and admission is included with any Epcot ticket or annual pass.