EXCLUSIVE -- I thought there was something different about Jens Dahlmann when I saw him walk into the World Showplace Saturday evening at the first Party for the Senses of this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Dahlmann, as Epcot's executive chef, has been in charge of the festival for the past several years. He's been very much a hands-on overseer, frequently seen in his crisp chef whites bouncing around the World Showcase from kiosk to kiosk to things are going smoothly.
That's what was different about him Saturday night: He wasn't wearing his chef's jacket. He arrived at the event in a blue blazer and open-collared white shirt. He might have been mistaken for just another Party for the Sensors if not for the ever-present oval nametag that identified him as a cast member.
The reason for the costume change, it emerged, is that Dahlmann is no longer Epcot's executive chef. Effective immediately, he is now general manager for Epcot Food and Beverage operations. His longtime assistant, Gregg Hannon, takes over as executive chef for the park.
It's interesting that the changes would be made mid festival, but Dahlmann and the other team members have turned the multi-week event into a smooth running machine. The transition should be seamless.
Besides the sartorial shift, Dahlmann had another different look: one of relative calm. And he looked ready to party. I'll have notes about Saturday's edition of Party for the Senses on Monday.