For the sixth year in a row, The James Beard Foundation has named Chef Scott Hunnel of Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa as a finalist on its annual list of top chefs in the country.
Nominated for the prestigious “Best Chef: South” award, Chef Hunnel is familiar with earning recognition as one of the nation’s best. He also received nominations from the Foundation in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
“The amazing creativity of Chef Scott Hunnel helps make Victoria & Albert’s restaurant in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa an unparalleled experience for our Guests,” said Norm Noble, general manager of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. “For 12 consecutive years, Victoria & Albert’s has been the recipient of the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award, celebrated the world over thanks to Chef Hunnel’s exquisite culinary creations. Scott’s nomination in the prestigious James Beard Awards for ‘Best Chef: South’ is well deserved.”
Chef Hunnel finds great joy in delivering a ”wow” factor with his culinary creations. He enjoys taking gastronomic journeys around the world for inspiration and ideas. In recent years, his search has taken him to the kitchen of George V in Paris, truffle hunting in Italy, and to markets and restaurants in Hong Kong, Bangkok and London.
“To me, the James Beard recognition is such an honor because the nomination comes from your peers,” said Hunnel. “There are so many talented chefs out there and to be nominated by them is very special.”
Chef Hunnel takes a refreshingly contemporary approach in the kitchen, with a straightforward cooking philosophy: fresh, seasonal ingredients from around the globe with a focus on local markets including seaports in Florida and area farms.
The James Beard Foundation Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and emphasize the Foundation’s mission – celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity. Each year, the Foundation holds an online open call for entries beginning in mid-October.
This year, more than 57,000 entries were received. Semifinalists in 19 awards categories are determined by a governing committee and placed on a nominating ballot sent to more than 550 judges across the country.
Winners will be announced in May during a gala in New York City.
For the 12th consecutive year, Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’ Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has been awarded the coveted AAA Five-Diamond Award. Victoria & Albert’s is the only restaurant in Orlando and one of only three in Florida to be honored with the highest accolade a restaurant can achieve.
Victoria & Albert’s Chef Scott Hunnel has drawn national and international applause for his preparation and delivery of American regional cuisine with classical influences at the elegant, 50-seat restaurant.
“Earning the AAA Five-Diamond Award is like winning an Oscar,” said Victoria & Albert’s Chef Scott Hunnel. “To be one of 55 restaurants in all of North America to receive this prestigious award is such an honor. It confirms our philosophy that it takes passion and a synchronized team to deliver consistent, top-quality cuisine night after night!”
A Disney cast member for more than 20 years, Chef Hunnel understands that the fundamentals of cooking don’t change, rather with time, palette’s change. He believes it’s the continuous evolution that goes into each dish that makes the cooking and the menu at Victoria & Albert’s different from other restaurants. To keep pace with the ever-changing food & beverage industry, Chef Hunnel takes gastronomic journeys to visit world-class restaurants, hotels, farms and markets for healthy and savory inspirations.
“Working for Disney has been very gratifying because the company understands that to be the best, we must never stop exploring and growing in constant pursuit of excellence.”
Take for example one of his signature dishes — the prosciutto-wrapped lamb served with cipollini onions and sherry vinaigrette – which tastefully demonstrates classical European influences combined with the culinary expertise behind the Victoria & Albert’s team of award-winning chefs.
“What makes Victoria & Albert’s exceptional is not only the incredible cuisine, but the entire dining experience,” said Kevin Myers, vice president of Walt Disney World Resort Operations. “From reservations, the very personal table-side service, sommeliers, chefs and pastry chefs…..the whole team is dedicated to delivering a memorable evening for each of our guests. We couldn’t be prouder of the entire team.”
Those memorable experiences have led to other accolades including the Orlando Sentinel’s 2011 Culinary Hall of Fame, the Forbes Four Diamond Award, Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence and Florida Trend’s Golden Spoon Award. Chef Hunnel was also a 2011 semi-finalist in the annual list of top chefs in the country by the James Beard Foundation. He has also been recognized annually since 2007 by the Foundation for his refreshingly contemporary approach in the kitchen and straightforward cooking philosophy.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 24, 2009 – For the 10th year in a row, Victoria & Albert’s restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has been awarded the AAA Five Diamond Award. As one of only 52 restaurants to receive this symbol of excellence in North America, Mexico and the Caribbean, Victoria & Albert’s delivers “haute cuisine” with seven-course prix-fixed menus, wine pairings and the finest ingredients from the world market.
At the helm of this critically-acclaimed restaurant is 15-year Victoria & Albert’s veteran, Chef de Cuisine Scott Hunnel.
“It takes every individual on the team to achieve such a great honor consistently, from the reservationists to the wait staff and culinary team,” remarked Hunnel about reaching this prestigious milestone. “The secret to our success is realizing that it’s a continuous journey of reinvention in the restaurant and what we’re doing today has to be better tomorrow.”
Only 0.27 percent of AAA’s 60,000 Diamond Rated lodgings and restaurants in North America received this honor for 2010. According to AAA’s ratings guidelines, to achieve Five Diamond status, restaurants must “consistently provide a world-class experience.”
Orlando’s single five-star restaurant, Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, will be hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration dinner. The dinner will run from 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm with a chef and sommelier preparing an 8 – 10 course menu that includes caviar from around the world and a collection of some of the most eclectic and famous champagnes available. Chef Scott Hunnel and his team will also make personal appearances during the event.
Please note that viewing the fireworks is not included in this package.
The price of the dinner which includes wine and gratuity is $395 plus tax. V&A’s has a strict dress code and does not allow children under the age of 10 to dine at the restaurant, including during this event. Reservations are currently being accepted at 407-WDW-DINE.