After the 10k, Pete and I headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and grab some breakfast. We were planning to go back to the ESPN Wide World of Sports that afternoon. When we got off the monorail at the Contemporary, we decided to grab breakfast at the quick service counter, the Contempo Café, before heading back to the room. By that time, I was pretty darn hungry so I devoured the breakfast sampler plate that was loaded with eggs, bacon, potatoes, French toast, and a Mickey waffle. Yum! I was starving!
With food in our bellies, we headed back to our room to shower and relax a little bit. Just before noon, we went down to the car and drove over to the ESPN WWOS. We could have taken one of the busses but we wanted to stop by Downtown Disney before going back to the hotel. A few weeks before our trip to Disney, I was invited to participate in a fun event being put on by the folks at Cigna, the presenting partner of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. The folks at Cigna were hosting a blogger cook off and showcasing their new health app. At first, I was a little nervous about participating in a cook off (I am not a professional chef!) but then I thought it would be an amazing experience to get to learn from some of the awesome chefs at Disney.
We arrived at the ESPN WWOS and wandered around the Health and Fitness Expo before heading back to the meeting place. While we were walking around, we got to see some of the kids races. The kids that participate in those races are absolutely adorable. When we reached the meeting place and checked in, we scoped out the different tables trying to figure out what the cook off was going to be all about. It looked like we were going to be split up into groups and that the mystery ingredient would be a protein of some kind.
As the event got started, we were introduced to Pascale Jean, Cigna’s Health Promotion Manager and nutritionist. She was also one of several Cigna employees who were given the chance to participate in the weekend. Jean was running the Dopey Challenge too. She gave us the run down of what the afternoon would entail and then introduced us to Chef Jarrod, the head chef for the event. After all of the introductions, we were split up into four groups and given a Disney chef to help us with our creations. Oh and whatever we came up with was going to be our lunch for the day.
When we got to our table, we discovered that our mystery ingredient was shrimp. I love to eat seafood but I am usually pretty intimidated to actually cook it. Our group brainstormed and eventually we decided to go with Shrimp and Grits as our dish. It wasn’t exactly a the healthiest dish but it was bound to be delicious. We headed over to pantry tables and picked up everything we needed. To spice up our dish, we decided that the grits portion would super creamy and cheesy and that the shrimp would be cooked in a scampi sauce. We chopped tons of garlic, sliced onion, and chopped cilantro. The shrimp was coated in a blend of seasonings and the grits were cooked to perfection. Pete ended up helping Chef Antonio on the grill with the shrimp. In the end, our dish turned out amazing. (Pete has already requested that I make it for him.)
After everyone was done cooking, we had a chance to try everyone else’s dishes and to hang out with Chef Mickey for a little bit. The other groups were given beef, turkey, and chick’n (the vegetarian option). The dishes that everyone came up with were all delicious. I am a little partial and think that ours was the best. Pete like it so much that he wants to serve it at our wedding. (Maybe we can request Chef Antonio to work our reception …)
While we ate lunch, we learned a little bit about what Cigna does. Not only is Cigna a healthcare provider, but they also provide people with inspiration for living a healthier life. One way that they make this happen is through their partnership with Achilles International, a non profit organization that provides athletes with disabilities with a community of support. Each athlete is paired with a guide who helps them achieve their goals and provide them with the support that they need. One of the Achilles athletes during Marathon weekend was Cedric King, a master sergeant in the United States Army and a bilateral leg amputee. He completed the Dopey Challenge!
I can’t thank Cigna enough for this opportunity to learn more about what they do and how they support community. Also, it was such an amazing experience to learn from some of the chefs at Disney and to create such a fabulous dish with them.
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