The restaurant is set to open by fall 2009 in the space currently occupied by Spoodles, and will be owned and operated by Disney.
"I am pleased to welcome Cat Cora and her engaging new concept for Kouzzina to the Walt Disney World Resort," said Jay Rasulo, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "This collaboration between Cat and Disney represents a significant step in our ongoing commitment to offer unique culinary experiences and choices for our guests."
As a Mississippi native born to a family of Greek restaurateurs, Cora grew up immersed in two different and flavorful cultures, and has taken from that unique background the kitchen "know-how" handed down through generations. The cuisine at Kouzzina (Greek for "kitchen" and pronounced "koo-zee-nah") will showcase Mediterranean cuisine and Chef Cora's philosophy to create simple yet sensational meals.
Cora said that the new restaurant will feature "time-honored recipes passed down from my ancestors, as well as my favorite Greek and Mediterranean dishes that my family loves."
She began working with Disney in 2008 by creating a Disney Video on Demand series to showcase ways to help families develop more healthy eating habits. "I'm extremely excited about this latest extension of my relationship with Disney," she said. "Together, we're going to develop a truly amazing contemporary Mediterranean restaurant."
The first and only female Iron Chef on Food Network's hit show "Iron Chef America," Cora is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She also is Executive Chef for Bon Appetit magazine. In addition to hosting the instructional cooking demonstrations for Disney Video on Demand, Cora has been a featured chef at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and at Disney's California Food & Wine Festival at Disneyland Resort.
I hate this idea because Spoodles is a great restaurant but mostly because they are taking a good, Disney operated restaurant and replacing it with a restaurant not operated by Disney (which means no more DDE/Tables in Wonderland discount) and I'm sure higher prices.
It's also been my experience service at non-Disney owned restaurants pales in comparison to the Disney ones. Besides, it's yet another example of Disney outsourcing, well, everything.