Welcome to our first special event at the the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Today has been circled on our calendar for a while. We usually attend a few of the paid events every year, and 2018 would be no exception. However, those events usually involve boring (not really) old chefs like Morimoto or Robert Irvine. Not today, no siree Bob! Today we would be attending an event featuring none other than Kelly Kapowski! Growing up, Saved by the Bell was one of my very favorite shows. I was very invested in Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski’s relationship. I was devastated when she broke Zack’s heart and hooked up with Jeff. How could she!?!?!?
Anyway, today’s event was the third in the “Sunday Brunch with the Chef” series. The first event was held two weeks earlier, featuring Jamie Deen. The second was one week earlier, and had featured Richard Blais. I had considered attending that one, but there were two guests that interested me more, and these events aren’t cheap! The details for this event are below.
Sunday Brunch with the Chef
Venue: World ShowPlace
Cost: $129 plus tax
Includes: Wine toast, brunch, meet & greet.
In the days leading up to the event, I read on a forum that the seating was preassigned, and as such there was no reason to arrive especially early for this event. That ended up not being true, much to our detriment. We strolled up at about 11:10, only to find out that seating was assigned as you arrive, and lots of people had arrived before us. So we ended up a pretty bad table, too far away to get any useful photos during the event. Had I known, I would have arrived at about 10:30 to make sure we got a good table. Grrrr! Pictured below are our tickets, with “Flavor” being our assigned table.
They opened the doors a couple of minutes before the 11:30 start time. As we entered, we were handed a glass of sparkling wine. We had issues finding our table. Right when we entered the building, there was a table labeled “Flavor Chefs Table”. We were assigned to the Flavor table, but it said nothing about Chefs Table. None of the other tables said Chefs Table on them. So I asked one of the employees there. I showed our tickets, and asked if this was our table. She saw that the table said Chefs table, and reacted as though this was a sacred table that we couldn’t possibly be worthy of sitting at. She pointed to the opposite side of the room and said our table was over there somewhere.
We went over there, and there were no “Flavor” tables in that direction. So we asked another employee, and he basically walked around the whole room, and decided that the “Chefs Table” must be our table, as there were no other Flavor tables. Not the best start, but we’ll soldier on. You can see how the room is set up below.
There were a couple of items already sitting at each place setting. A menu, and a small autographed picture. Both are pictured below.
After a few minutes, Pam Smith took the stage. If you’ve attended any special events at the Food & Wine Festival, you should be very familiar with Pam. She hosts most of the seminars and chef events. She explained how the event would work. We would be called over table by table to load up at the buffet. We were given little cards where we could write down a question for Tiffani. Of course, I couldn’t resist asking a Saved by the Bell question. More on that later.
Once everybody had eaten, Tiffani would take the stage for her Q & A. After that, she would do a meet and greet for all interested guests.
Eventually, our table would be invited to the buffet. The menu sounds much more upscale than the buffet actually was. It was decent, but nothing special. My main plate is shown below.
In addition to the buffet spread, there was a dish from the guest’s own recipe. For Tiffani Thiessen, it was Naked Carrot Cake. This tasted good, but if I’m being honest the one served at the Hops & Barley booth is better.
Nobody was really there for the food, so I wasn’t too put off by the averageness of the offerings. I was ready for the main event. Finally, Tiffani took the stage.
They sat down, and Pam proceeded with the Q & A. I’m not sure how many questions were submitted by the audience, but she spent very little time on those. She asked her own questions, and three from the audience. Luckily, mine was the first of those three, and the only one that had any real time devoted to it. Remember at the beginning of this post when I mentioned how devastated I was when Kelly left Zack for Jeff? Well, I asked how she could do that to him! Unfortunately, she kind of took my question literally, and explained that she is just an actress reading a script. She did eventually say that she was excited when it happened, because Jeff was cute, and she was tired of Zack. She then made it clear she was kidding.
Overall her time on stage was enjoyable. I’d say about half the time was spent talking about her acting career, and the other half talking about her food-related career. She mentioned that she and Mark-Paul Gosselaar are neighbors. For some reason that made me oddly happy.
It was time for the Meet and Greet. Pam explained that this would work just like the brunch, and we would be called over table by table. You can see her Meet and Greet line below.
The timing for this event was unfortunate. My wife collects signed cooked books. Tiffani has a cookbook coming out, but it comes out a week after this event took place. So we couldn’t get the book signed. So I designed a book plate, and printed it out on a mailing label. I then cut it down to a typical book plate size. Prior to posing with Tiffani for photos, my wife asked if she could sign the book plate. This was just a photo opp, not a signing, so we weren’t sure it was allowed. But she was more than willing.
After that we posed for photos. She was happy to pose with us together, and then with each of us individually. She was friendly and personable, and made it a wonderful experience. Here I am with Tiffani, wearing my Saved by the Bell t-shirt!
Overall we had a very good time. Due to the high price, I would only consider attending this event if you are really interested in the guest. The food will not come close to justifying the price. For this particular Saved by the Bell fan, the Tiffani Thiessen event was well worth the cost of admission!
Thanks for reading!