Disneyland Resort Restaurants Win 15 Awards At Southern California Restaurant Writers Banquet

ANAHEIM, Calif., March 12, 2009 – Disneyland Resort celebrates 15 new awards for its restaurants and chefs as it prepares to launch the 2009 Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival, a six-week “World Celebration” that features delicious food and wine from Disneyland chefs and celebrity chefs and winemakers.

The 2008-09 awards were presented to Disneyland Resort restaurants and chefs at the recent Southern California Restaurant Writers Awards Banquet at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California. A highlight for Resort restaurants was the recognition of Alex Flores and Francisco Origel, sous chefs at the perennially popular Napa Rose in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, as co-winners of the “Sous Chef of the Year” award.

Napa Rose was honored further with a Golden Bacchus Wine Award and a Golden Sceptre (Five Star) award, the highest, in the continental category. Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel also received highest honors, with a Golden Bacchus Wine Award and a Golden Sceptre (Five Star) award in the American category. The awards reflect Disneyland Resort’s commitment to guest service, which has been enhanced under the guidance of Master Sommelier Michael Jordan and his wine education program. The Resort has 300 certified sommeliers who assist guests with the pairing of wine and food.

Andrew Sutton, the executive chef who has helped guide the culinary success of Napa Rose since it opened in 2001, lauded the success of his sous chefs, saying, “This is a tribute to their hard work and dedication to the Napa Rose. Alex and Francisco have been instrumental in the restaurant’s success, contributing to the culinary vision with their expertise, dedication, talent and integrity.”

Francisco Origel worked with Sutton for five years at Auberge du Soleil in the California wine country. He was promoted to sous chef at Auberge du Soleil in 1997 following a rigorous selection process. He joined the Napa Rose culinary team in fall of 2002. “Francisco has amazing plating and cooking skills that he loves to share with his fellow chefs,” Sutton said.

Alex Flores was part of the opening culinary team for Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel in 2001, working in Storytellers Café. He moved to Napa Rose in June 2002 and worked his way through the culinary training program at all stations in the restaurant, being promoted to sous chef in 2007. “Alex is a self-starter and dedicated to his craft,” Sutton said. “He is incredibly imaginative and has the culinary disciplines to back it up with sound cooking and flavor combinations.”

Napa Rose showcases California wine country cuisine with menu options that change seasonally to follow the holistic dining philosophy of Executive Chef Sutton.  The restaurant features a 16,000-bottle wine cellar, more than 1,000 vintages and 80 wines available by the glass. At Steakhouse 55, which also earned top honors for the Disneyland Resort, guests experience classic and delectable American fare while enjoying the feel of vintage Hollywood through the restaurant’s retro décor.  The restaurant is also home to the posh Lounge at Steakhouse 55 that features an extensive wine list and light menu of new and old American classics.

With a total of 15 awards going to 12 restaurants – seven in Disneyland Resort hotels, two in Disneyland, two in Downtown Disney and one in Disney’s California Adventure – Disneyland Resort guests have a vast array of outstanding dining options.

Guests will be able to meet some of the Disney chefs and enjoy hundreds of complimentary demonstrations at Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival, which runs April 24 through June 7 inside Disney’s California Adventure. For details and information, go to www.disneyland.com/foodandwine.

The complete list of Disneyland Resort awards:

Special Award Category
•    Sous Chef of the Year:  Alex Flores/Francisco Origel (Napa Rose, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel)

Golden Bacchus Wine Award
•    Napa Rose (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel)
•    Steakhouse 55 (Disneyland Hotel)

Golden Sceptre (Five Star):
•    Napa Rose (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel)
•    Steakhouse 55 (Disneyland Hotel)

Gold (Four Star)
•    Ariel’s Grotto (Paradise Pier, Disney’s California Adventure park)
•    Blue Bayou (New Orleans Square, Disneyland)
•    Café Orleans (New Orleans Square, Disneyland)
•    Hook’s Pointe & Wine Cellar (Disneyland Hotel)
•    Storyteller’s Café (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel)
•    Yamabuki (Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel)

Sterling (Three Star)
•    Goofy’s Kitchen (Disneyland Hotel)
•    Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Downtown Disney)
•    Tortilla Jo’s (Downtown Disney)

Silver (Two Star)
•    PCH Grill (Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel)

The Southern California Restaurant Writers, Inc. has operated for 35 years as a non-profit seeking to improve the quality of restaurants in the region.  Award winners are chosen from Santa Barbara south to the Mexican border.

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