SeaWorld Celebrates Global Cuisines
Back for 2021, the “Seven Seas Food Festival” at SeaWorld Orlando in Florida presents more than 200 unique eats and specialty beverages to guests every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through May 9. Throughout the park, 26 food and beverage (F&B) locations offer their own tasty menus, which SeaWorld’s culinary team spent months planning and preparing. How do they do it? The park gave Funworld a special behind-the-scenes look on how the culinary side of a large food festival comes together.
“We have to make sure that we think about approachability so every guest sees at least one or two things in each booth that they feel comfortable eating and then maybe one item that’s going to be a little bit more on the adventurous side,” says Chef Heberto Segura. “We have to start with a good amount of time so that we can have a perfect balance of all of those items, and that’s even before we start getting into the pairing of drinks and which items are going to be coming out of which booth.”
While the team looks at popular, fan-favorite F&B items from previous years to bring back for the festival, they also focus on new items to introduce, such as giant tempura prawns, goat cheese croquettes, jack fruit sloppy joes, and beignets. It’s all in an effort to keep the event fresh and appeal to a wide palate. This year’s lineup of global cuisines includes Asian, Latin, European, Polynesian, and North Atlantic dishes, as well as various wines, specialty cocktails, and local, international, and craft brews.
“We know the Palermo Fontina cheese meatballs [at the Italian Market] and the Brazilian picanha steak [from the Brazilian Market] are items that have recognition among guests,” Segura says. “People love them, so we did a little bit of a tweak to what was being served with them, not necessarily the dish itself. It’s a challenge, but we try to make sure that we hit notes with everyone.”
Sustainability is also an important element taken into consideration when developing a food festival’s menu. Flavored edible straws that are 100% biodegradable are served with specialty drinks; for instance, the frozen espresso martini found at the Sweets Market includes a chocolate-flavored edible straw.
“We put a lot of work into making sure that everything that we’re using is going to be not only readily available but also sustainable. It’s one of the things that SeaWorld does a really good job on,” Segura says. “We have a great team here. They know how to execute, they know how to plan, they know how to work it.”