Four Seasons Orlando: Perfect Luxury For The Non-Disney Disney Goer

If the thought of a Disney vacation strikes fear in your heart, and, yet, you still long to be parent of the year, you are seriously in luck. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is the answer to all of your, "I want to delight my kids with Disney but I shudder at the thought of Mickey sheets and wallpaper and carpet" dreams. The property is as luxe as it gets and the nods to Disney are so subtle that even those with the keenest of eyes will have to look twice. And, there is a luxury bus you can take to and from the parks for free, and you can watch the fireworks from the parks all at once from balcony suites. It's the perfect, perfect balance.

If there is a resort heaven, this is it to be sure. For one, if the sky's the limit when it comes to budget, they will make nearly any Disney dream come true from a ball that Belle would swoon over to luau Moana would hula for. The luxurious adults only pool, the lazy river, the extravagant, truly over-the-top suites, the impeccable staff, the complimentary kids' camp, and, of course, the dining. Oh, the dining.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort has native Italian Chef Fabrizio Schenardi as their Executive Head Chef, serving up the freshest ingredients in his modern Italian cuisine that is mixed with both Mediterranean inspiration, as well as his own personal twist, from distinct styles of cooking to combining spices in a way most would never dream of.

A graduate of the Istituto Alberghiero Ravizza in Torino, Italy, Schenardi has served at the helm of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando kitchens since it opened in 2014. There he oversees six restaurants, as well as a massive banquet operation. Being an Italian himself, Schenardi is especially thrilled to oversee the resort's Italian restaurant Ravello, where everything is authentic and house made. He has also been key in putting the resort's steakhouse, Capa, on the map.

Here's Executive Chef Fabrizio Schenardi from Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort on all things culinary now and into the yet unseen.

Daily Meal: From where did your love of all things culinary develop?

Schenardi: My love of food developed when I was very young. My family has been working with food for generations. On my father's side of the family, they have been producing olive oil for generations, and on my mother's side, apples and chestnuts. Also, some of my aunts and cousins worked as executive chefs in Sanremo and London, and my mother use to have a bakery. I always find it interesting how mixing simple ingredients will produce baked goods, sauces, pasta........ I guess food is part of my DNA.

Daily Meal: What would you say is your overarching food philosophy?

Schenardi: My food philosophy is very simple: flavor and good recipes,and it must be well executed!

Daily Meal: How would you describe the vibe at Ravello?

Schenardi: Ravello is a good family restaurant ideal for a relaxing meal with attentive service that is not overbearing, where guests can interact/talk with cooks.

Daily Meal: Can you tell readers a bit about the inspiration behind your menus and what you are hoping to achieve with their offerings?

Schenardi: The menu is based on traditional recipes and some of my creation. Everything is house made with the best produce available; all of the pasts are made from scratch, the breads and the pizza dough, for instance. My goal is to please as many people as possible and for them to leave the restaurant and to remember the flavor of their food.

Daily Meal: What do guests tell you they love the most about the restaurant, the menu, and the food?

Schenardi: At Ravello, guests love the ambience and the design—it's very relaxing with a touch of sophistication. The menu is well balanced because it appeals to everyone in the family or for those who may be dining for business. The food has a good flavor, is well presented, and is not pretentious. Many times I have been told from guests who are Italian descent that when they are eating my food, they are going back in time, and remembering their grandparents' cooking or a trip to Italy.

Daily Meal: What are some of your personal favorite menu items?

Schenardi: I love branzino, veal ravioli, and manzo.

Daily Meal: What are some of your favorite ingredients and/or cooking styles to experiment with right now?

Schenardi: I like to experiment with extrusion cooking, a complex multivariate process. It requires careful control to maintain product quality. I find this method extremely interesting but difficult. I love tomato and use it in many different ways, including dessert.

Daily Meal: What do you think is the most important thing that people don't know about food right now?

Schenardi: First, respect the food that you are eating and in turn, respect your body. Second, a gluten free diet should be for a medical reasons only, not to be part of a trend.

Daily Meal: What culinary surprises can guests at Four Seasons Orlando look forward to?

Schenardi: Four Seasons Orlando has six restaurants, from grab-and-go to fine dining, and you can have a breakfast in-room service, mid-morning break in Lickety Split with pastry and cappuccino, a Cuban lunch in Plancha and dinner in Ravello with homemade pasta and grilled sword fish with sale speziato. And the following day you still have many options to try for your meal. In my opinion, you need to spend three days in our resort to be able to try our outlets. Each one has something unique to offer, and don't forget the gelato!

Daily Meal: Can you speak to the bar program at Ravello as well?

Schenardi: The Ravello bar program is very interesting. We have many hand crafted cocktails. We have liquor infused with citrus, herbs, and spicy Italian style, and obviously a good mix of Amaro, liquor, wines and grappa from Italy.

Daily Meal: What's it like being part of the movement towards turns putting real restaurants in hotels and doing away with the old guard of boring, low- quality restaurants that used to be the hallmark of hotels?

Schenardi: I have been part of this movement for the past twenty years, and I'm very proud! My guests love to dine in our restaurant because I'm a firm believer of doing everything possible to maintain the integrity of the product and the cuisine with the best ingredients available.

Daily Meal: Anything else you'd like to share with readers about all things culinary?

Schenardi: I believe that everyone should be able to recognize good food and real products. Do some research and ask chefs. Good food is not necessarily inexpensive, but it is a good investment for your future!

Schenardi: Anything else you'd like to share with readers about all things culinary at Ravello specifically and at the Four Seasons Orlando in general?

Our culinary team in Ravello and the rest of the resort is easy going and like to interact with guests and explain culinary techniques. Our kitchens are completely open for guests to watch how the chefs make the food and feel like they are part of the action. I am very proud that we have such an incredible team. Our team has cooked at the invite-only James Beard House in New York; our Executive Pastry Chef Rabii Saber was on the American team for the Coupe du Monde pastry Olympics; and we have award-winning restaurants. At this resort, culinary is a true highlight, and guests will discover this when they come and dine!


"The meal and part of the hotel stay that are the subject of this review were provided at no cost to the contributor."