Victoria & Albert's reopens with new look

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victoria albert domePhotos courtesy Walt Disney WorldVictoria new interior

When I told you last month that Victoria & Albert’s, the jewel in Disney’s dining crown (and named after someone who actually wore the crown jewels) would reopen July 28. It has done.

And along with the personnel changes I reported, including a new executive chef for the resort and chef de cuisine for V&A – developments that would be major announcements any time – I eluded to decor changes, as well.

Now we know that the entire space has been redesigned to present a “classic, yet contemporary touch” that pays homage to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration. The decor has been lightened up with light blues and ivories and even a new crystal chandelier, as you can see in the photos – top is the old design, bottom is the new. It appears that even the dining room chairs have been given a fresh coat and upholstering.

Thankfully, it hasn’t been turned into a casual dining restaurant, as happened when California Grill went through an interior redesign a dozen or so years ago. It’s still meant to be fine dining at its finest, and jackets are still required, one of the few restaurants in the United States – no, the world – that still has that policy. The age restriction for children – 10 and older – is still in place.

As reported previously, Scott Hunnel, who has shepherded the restaurant almost since Day One, now holds the title of culinary director and oversees the food operations at multiple resort hotels. I assume that’s sort of like having the title of chef emeritus.

Before the pandemic closed the restaurant, Hunnel had the title of executive chef for the Grand Floridian, home to Victoria & Albert’s. Although he served for many years as the chef at V&A, he had not been the chef there exclusively for some time.

Kevin Chong now holds the executive chef position at Grand Floridian and Mathew Sowers is the chef de cuisine at V&A, the position last held by Aimée Rivera. Hunnel recruited Sowers, who advanced to working on menu development for the restaurant in 2010. Sowers also worked with Hunnel in opening the upscale Remy restaurants on Disney cruise ships in collaboration with French chef Arnaud Lallement.

The able Israel Perez remains as maitre d’hotel and sommelier.

Victoria & Albert’s still offers three dining experiences: the main dining room; the Queen Victoria Room; and the hard to book chef’s table.

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