19 November 2012

Interview with Chef Mark Boor at Fulton's Crab House

Recently, Levy's restaurants in Downtown Disney (Fulton's Crab House, Portobello's and Wolfgang Puck Cafe) made changes to their kids' menus.

Fulton's Crab House in Downtown Disney
Trying to find health dining options for kids can be difficult when vacationing. Hamburgers, hot dogs and fried chicken tenders are so easy to get. Levy Restaurants had made it easy for families to choose healthy, good-for-you foods. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the Executive Chef at Fulton's Crab House, Mark Boor, to discusses healthy dining.

Executive Chef Mark Boor at Fulton's Crab House
Eating healthy with kids
Chef Mark has three children with ages ranging from 3 to 17 so I asked about tips he had for getting kids to eat healthy and try new foods. He has directed his kids away from unhealthy food and towards foods that are healthy. Exposing them to other foods that are  healthy and encouraging them to eat fruits and vegetables. Both him and his wife teach the kids proper eating habits. All which have worked. Even the three year old likes brussel sprouts.

As far as advice for helping parents to get their little ones to try new foods, he has a few suggestions that have worked in their home. When going out to dinner, have the kids try a bite of what you have ordered. "I really try to make an effort, if I'm ordering something for myself to get my kids to try it. And sometimes it's a failure, a complete and utter failure. Other times the are like, my three year old will go back for a second bite, a third bite. Gabrielle, would you like to have this sometime. 'Ya Daddy.'", said Chef Mark. Share food with your kids to get them interested. Reintroduce items again, and if they seem interested in and start to bring that into meals at home. He said to not go directly into introducing a new item as a meal. It can often lead to meltdowns. Chef Mark's wife searches Pinterest, websites and blogs for ideas on how to introduce new, healthy foods at home. She's found some great ways. For example, she makes mashed cauliflower with just a little bit of potatoes. The kids can hardly tell they aren't.

Crab Cake BLT
Favorite healthy options on the menu
There are several healthy options on the menu for kids, even some unusually ones. Chef Mark said "Either the grilled fish or one of the crab leg options. Crab legs, not every child has the opportunity to go to a restaurant and have crab legs on a menu. It gives them the opportunity to use their hands, get interactive, kinda play with their food. And keeping kids contained at a dinner table at Disney World when they've either been at the parks all day or they're getting ready to go to the parks. They are always excited. So at least for that time it allows Mom and Dad to eat and enjoy themselves for a minute." Fish of the day is another favorite because it gives kids a fresh, grilled option not available at most restaurants. There are also grilled chicken tenders, a standard but with a healthy twist. Other healthy items are corn, green beans, kid-friendly vegetables and fresh fruit.

As far as adults, Chef Mark considers the menu to be 60% on the healthy side. All the fish can be grilled without sauces and many of the fried options can be broiled or grilled. He tries to stay away from heavy butter sauces and instead go with more natural ones. The Key West Yellowtail Snapper has a mango infused vinaigrette that is made in-house. The Florida Group has been certified heart healthy by a heart institute because it's low calorie and saturated fats and the steamed foods are low in sodium.

For dessert, the healthiest option is the sorbet. It’s made at a local artisanal ice cream shop. Currently, the dessert menu is under renovation. As with more people being gluten-free, he's looking for something that is healthy.

If you have special dietary needs, Chef Mark recommends to contact Fulton's Crab House directly. That way he can work hands-on to accommodate those needs. Most of the time he'll contact you ahead of time to work out the menu for you.

Lobster Narragansett - Fulton's Crab House Signature Dish
Signature items
What items are signature on the menu? There are two answers to that. The Fulton's Crab House signature dish is the Lobster Narragansett. It's a 1 1/4 lb of lobster stuffed with béchamel of shrimp, scallops, mushrooms and spinach baked with Panko bread crumbs. Chef Mark's signature dish is the Florida Group. It's Florida Grouper that sits on a bed  of artichoke heart, tomato, sautéed spinach and topped with guacamole and micro greens. It's absolutely delicious!

Florida Grouper - Chef Mark's Signature Dish
Disney favorites
I always have to ask about Disney favorites. So here are the lightening round questions and answers.
  • Favorite Park: Epcot because of the food and Magic Kingdom with his kids.
  • Restaurant in Epcot: Tokyo Dining
  • Snack in the Park: Mickey pretzel
  • Attraction: Pirates of the Caribbean, it's a family favorite
  • Character: Grumpy, it's the nickname that his kids gave him

Five tips, tricks or must-haves:
  • Fulton's signature spice blend (he developed)
  • Bottle of Sherry
  • Whole grouper
  • Avocado tree
  • Heirloom tomato plant
When I asked what kitchen essential that he would recommend to anyone he said either a food processor or kitchen blender. I use my food processor for so many things that I can understand why that is a must-have for anyone's kitchen.

Check out the kids' menu here.

Ahi Tuna Tartar and Crab Ceviche
Our Lunch
Chef Mark made us an appetizer sampler that included the following: Ahi Tuna Tartar - avocado-cucumber relish, sweet chili aioli, plantain chip; and Crab Ceviche - blistered tomatillo, sweet onion, heirloom tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado. These were amazing! Both were fresh and light, perfect for starting a hot, Florida day.

We also enjoyed the Florida Grouper and Crab Cake BLT. Crab Cake BLT with jumbo lump blue crab, avocado, cheddar cheese, applewood bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mustard sauce on toasted ciabatta. I asked Chef Mark how it is that the crab cake seemed like it had no binding and only crab meat. He said that they make it fork tender by using back fin crab meat (which is finer) and saltine cracker to make it light. This crab cake was easily the best crab cake that I've ever had.

Thank you to Chef Mark Boor for his hospitality, fantastic food and his time. We really enjoyed sitting down and talking to him. The food was absolutely amazing and we look forward to our next visit.

Thank you to Josh, our server, who made sure we never needed anything, offered great recommendation and was a job to talk to. We will be asking for him on our next visit to Fulton's Crab House.

Tune-in to WDW Tiki Room on Sorcerer Radio to listen to the interview with Chef Mark Boor. It will be airing soon!

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1 comment:

  1. Edward Owen referred me to your blog and I love it!


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