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Posts Tagged ‘hotels near Disney World’

Having an office next to the director of Food & Beverage for Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek  has it perks.  Especially when that office is occupied by Francis Metais, one of the most brilliant minds in food and beverage today.

Sometimes, Francis would emerge from his office and make an official pronouncement of the day’s conquest, often to nobody in particular.  It was a ritual to mark the beginning of his latest project.

This happened time and time again, always with amazing results… and a parade of “test meals” fresh from the Waldorf Astoria kitchens, located one floor below.

These were innovative  ideas that eventually became menu staples, along with raves from our guests – items like “The Lemon” and “Pasta Explosion” at Bull & Bear, for instance. Sometimes they were twists on a favorite, like hummus made from edamame, or a chocolate dessert made from lentil beans.

I didn’t always comprehend his vision, partially because of his perfectly thick French accent.  But the proof, as they say, was always in the pudding.  And I (as well as other members of the Marketing and PR team), made sure we were readily available to lend our taste buds to the cause.

Bonnet Creek Cinnamon Rolls But one day, I understood Francis loud and clear:  “Keith, this week we will make the most amazing cinnamon rolls you have ever tasted,” he said.  “I will bring you one.”

As you can imagine, it was difficult to work that morning.  I love cinnamon rolls, and I had no doubt these would dazzle.  Francis is a classically trained pastry chef from France, and his work alongside executive pastry chef Kurtis Baguley is legendary.  He is the pastry team’s biggest cheerleader, as they have developed new menu items that lead the Orlando market.

That afternoon, I heard the door open, and a team of chefs came in, led by chef Kurtis.  I could smell the sweet aroma of cinnamon.  My mouth began to water.

I heard muffled conversations, followed by a click.  The door closed. The cinnamon smell slowly faded away.

Oh no.  Panic set in.   I could hear the ticking of the clock.  My mind raced.

Confused, I stuck my head in Francis’ office.  “Where’s the cinnamon rolls,” I said, hoping to find a platter in his office.

“They were good – really good,” he said.  “But we had some more ideas.  We’ll try again tomorrow.”

This happened several more times that week:  a team of chef came in… followed by discussions… and the team of chefs would leave with an unfinished platter of cinnamon rolls in tow.

I could barely stand it.

Then finally one day, Francis appeared in my office:  “Keith, we are ready,” he proclaimed.  “Take a bite.”

The magic hour had arrived.  It all came down to this.

And one bite was all it took.  I was in love.

I could see the smile on Francis’ face.  “Now that is a Waldorf Astoria cinnamon roll,” he said.

If this were a movie, there would have been a crescendo of music.  People would have applauded.  Tears would have been shed.

Me?  I took a second bite.

Wow.  The dough,  a wonderful mixture of textures similar to that of a croissant or a Danish, was extremely light, airy, and flaky.  The icing soaked into the dough, creating, well, the perfect cinnamon roll.

Hungry?  You can experience for yourself what we refer to as the Bonnet Creek Cinnamon Roll.  At Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, they are served warm at MUSE, the lobby coffee and sweet shop.   Guests come down early in the morning to claim their treat before we sell out for the day.   Yes, they are that popular.    At Waldorf Astoria Orlando, they are often found on the breakfast buffet at Oscar’s, where a pastry bar is filled with the many of innovations of Francis and Chef Kurtis… all developed with enthusiasm and baked with love.

A visit to either hotel just isn’t complete without a bite.  And listen for the crescendo of music in your head!

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Bar du Chocolat

As part of our Chocolate Wine & Romance Weekends at  Waldorf Astoria Orlando, you will find Bar du Chocolat, a chocolate extravaganza!

Valentines Day Chocolate Weekends at Waldorf near Disney

At this weekend fantasy of chocolate indulgence, guests can sample a selection of approximately 30 hand-made chocolates and pastries from the pastry kitchen of Chef Kurtis Baguley.  These aren’t your normal candy counter treats, either.  You can expect to find exotic creations made in-house using recipes from the most romantic spots around the world.

Bar du Chocolat will be offered at Peacock Alley from 6-10pm every Friday and Saturday evening throughout February, 2012.

Bar du Chocolat, a Chocolate Extravaganza!

Bar du Chocolat, a Chocolate Extravaganza!

Although the selection will vary every day, some of the items featured in the past have included:

  • Mudslide Cookies
  • Chocolate Bon Bons
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • Chocolate Marquise Cake
  • Chocolate Crunch Cake
  • Chocolate Raspberry Cake
  • Parisian Macaroons
  • Chocolate Filigree Macaroons
  • Pot de crème Egg Shells
  • Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies
  • Chocolate Nougat
  • Chocolate Florentine
  • Chocolate Crunch Cubes
  • After Eight Mints
  • Chocolate Marshmallow S’mores
  • White Chocolate Sabayon
  • Chocolate Sausage
  • Peacock Pops
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Lentil Poppy Cookies
  • Cherry Cookies
  • Chocolate Bark
  • Caramel Pecan Bars
  • Inverted Chocolate Mélange
  • Chocolate Financier
  • Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
  • Choc-tail Shooters
  • Saboyan in the Shell
  • Tartuffi Chocolatto
  • Manjari Chocolat
  • Chocolate Porto Elixir
  • Chocolate Truffles
  • Praline and Chocolate Mousse Cake
  • Ivore Framboise
  • Chocolate Cigar and box
  • Almond Chocolate Cake
  • Chestnut Manjari Dome
  • Jivaria
  • Triple Ganache Parfait
  • Chocolate Mousse Dome
  • Chocolate Granola
  • Divine Brownies
  • Chocolate Cloud Cake
  • Dark Chocolate Almond Cake
  • Flourless Chocolate Dome
  • Triple Pave
  • Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Chocolate éclair
  • Creamy Chocolate Flan
Chocolate Nougat with pistachio

Chocolate Nougat with pistachio

Raspberry tart in white chocolate shell with crystal sugar

Raspberry tart in white chocolate shell with crystal sugar

Bar du Chocolat
Friday and Saturday evenings in February, 2012
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Chocolate is priced by the piece.
407-597-5500

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Enchanted Evenings at Waldorf Astoria Orlando

As part of our Enchanted Evenings summer-long promotion at Waldorf Astoria Orlando, expect fun experiences for your family.

Walking on Water at Waldorf Astoria Orlando swimming pool

For instance, this child was more than happy floating on the water.  But what if he could WALK on the water?  Now we are talking enchantment!

Walking on Water at Waldorf Astoria Orlando swimming pool
Waldorf Astoria Orlando is featuring a new gigantic gizmo on summer weekends that will allow you to do just that… walk on water!

Walking on Water at Waldorf Astoria Orlando swimming poolYou simply have to climb inside (after getting permission from your parents and having them sign a waiver), and the staff takes care of the inflation.

Walking on Water at Waldorf Astoria Orlando swimming pool

Once it’s filled, you are free to start your trek across the water!

Walking on Water at Waldorf Astoria Orlando swimming pool… which is easier said than done!

Walking on Water at Waldorf Astoria Orlando swimming pool One thing is certain:  expect a whole lot of laughter!

Walking on Water at Waldorf Astoria Orlando swimming pool…and some envious glances from your poolmates!  Not to worry… they can be next!

Walking on Water at Waldorf Astoria Orlando swimming poolJust wait until your friends at home hear about this adventure!

[Ask the pool staff or Concierge for details about the “Walk on Water” experience.  A $6 fee is charged to your guest room.]

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Orlando Cupcake Lovers Weekend

When we decided to create a CUPCAKE LOVERS WEEKEND at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Food & Beverage Director Francis Metais and Executive Pastry Chef Kurtis Baguley wanted to create something spectacular as a centerpiece for the weekend.

So, the two clever minds — with the help of an engaged and excited team — devised Florida’s Biggest Cupcake.

Florida's Biggest Cupcake - Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

Florida's Biggest Cupcake at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

As it was designed, this colossal creation became a focal point for the weekend’s cupcake displays… but with a built in surprise for our guests!
Florida's Largest Cupcake

The cherry on top was created using Rice Krispies Treats wrapped in red fondant.

And gigantic it was, at nearly 10 feet to the top of the cherry stem!  The entire cupcake with its contents used the equivalent ingredients of nearly 600 large cupcakes!  (That’s Chef Kurtis topping off the cupcake after it was placed in the lobby!)
Bonnet Creek Pastry Team

Bonnet Creek Pastry Team

Why is this team smiling?  They just pulled off the creation of Florida’s Biggest Cupcake!  AND… they know a secret about what was INSIDE the cupcake!
Florida's Largest Cupcake

What's Inside?

A sweet surprise indeed!  Inside were more than 500 cupcakes decorated with 30+ clever designs… including lions and monkeys and bees (oh my!)
Florida's Largest Cupcake

The surprise "filling" of Florida's Largest Cupcake

The topper was made of cake and decorated with frosting.  The large sprinkles were made of fondant.  The cherry on top was created using Rice Krispies Treats, covered in red fondant.  The Bonnet Creek carpentry shop created the shelves that held the surprise 500 cupcakes inside!

Florida's Largest Cupcake

The Big Reveal

At 2:30pm on Saturday, immediately following our SummerBlast pool party and DUCKTONA 500 Rubber Duck Race, our guests joined us in the lobby for the surprise reveal!  Talk about an excited group!  These were CUPCAKE LOVERS after all!

Want to see some of the “behind the scenes” photos from the Pastry Kitchen?  Click on the video link below!

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