Behind the Scenes Tour with Executive Chef of Universal Studios Hollywood – Chef Eric Kopelow

 

NOTE: I apologize for the blurriness for some photos, my phone didn’t want to stabilize photos correctly that day.

To start this off, I want to thank Chef Eric personally for giving me this opportunity to learn more about the operations behind the food/beverage department at Universal Studios Hollywood. And also thanks Donna from Westlake Magazine for organizing this.

I was at Universal Studios Hollywood on Wednesday, March 30th, eagerly excited to meet the executive chef of Universal Studios Hollywood (Chef Eric Kopelow) to tour around many of the park’s kitchen facilities including the Production Kitchen situated backstage.

Here’s a background of the chef’s history (from UniversalStudiosHollywood.com:

Meet ERIC A. KOPELOW CEC, award-winning chef, graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in N.Y. and invited presenter in their Great Chef Series. Having trained all over the world, Chef Eric puts his expert stamp of approval on the food utilizing the Park’s 40,000 square foot kitchen, guaranteeing its freshness and flavor. Most of all, he leads the entire culinary team in ensuring your dining experience will be as impressive as any of the Park’s special effects!

Chef Eric was honored as Chef of the Year 2010 by “Chef Magazine”

My day at Universal Studios Hollywood started out nice, as I was there for the annual pass preview for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I scheduled to have the tour with Chef Eric that day to make it a fun and exciting day. I met him in front of Hogsmeade, and we started out our tour inside of the massive kitchen facility at Three Broomsticks. I learned that the kitchens for Three Broomsticks and Springfield are connected, but work separately from each other. Going through the kitchen was like going through a maze. There are so many doors that lead to different parts of the facility.

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This photo is from the bakery inside of the Springfield kitchen facility, smelled like freshly baked bread.

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What you are seeing here is the preparation of tartar sauce for the Fish & Chips inside of the Three Broomsticks restaurant.

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One of the highlights of touring that kitchen facility was seeing a bunch of Lard Lad Donuts being racked straight from the oven. (My favorite is the maple bacon donut)

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Here’s a picture of a fryer used for Cletus’ Chicken Shack for the fried chicken.

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This is the kitchen facility for the Plaza Grill located adjacent to Universal Plaza.

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These are the conveyor belts used to cook/char the meat at Mel’s Diner. (To note, there is a plethora of fryers for french fries)


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Anyone know where this is? This is the main production kitchen for Universal Studios Hollywood. Aka the headquarters of where all the food is prepped and shipped to the restaurants in the park.

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I thought this was neat. Never seen that lemonade sign anywhere in the park. I don’t know if it a relic of old Universal Studios Hollywood.

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This is where Shepherd’s  Pie is prepped and sent up to Three Broomsticks.

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Preparation for cole slaw.

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This is honestly the best highlight of the tour. This is the storage area for food/beverages. Throughout the tour, Chef Eric continuously said that all the food at Universal Studios Hollywood is made fresh daily, daily shipments arrive at this facility, and then is sent up to the theme park for the restaurants. This does look like a Costco (haha).

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It’s the backside of Panda Express in the Lower Lot. Here, this is a guideline for the cooks for when they make a batch for each item at the restaurant, so that everything is proportioned correctly.

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Well that ends my tour with Chef Eric. He has treated me to lunch inside the VIP Buffet located at Moulin Rouge next to Despicable Me.

To cap: Thank you so much Chef for this opportunity. This definitely is the most unique thing I have done inside the park, learning a lot of new stuff about how the food is created at the theme park. I’ve now seen the park from a different perspective, and I truly feel even more appreciative of all the cooks around the property. Cheers!


My review of the food at the VIP Buffet: 10/10

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This is some of the selections at the VIP buffet. The cuisine ranges from Italian to Japanese to Americana. Excellent array of food options. A+

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This is the dining area itself, very old school Hollywood like. Has some nice old movie posters from the Golden Era of Hollywood back in the day. Very inviting.

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My table display. Very nice. (Wish I got to keep the cup though)
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The desserts at the VIP buffet are very visually appealing. Both of these are tiramisu items. Tart and a brownie of some sort.
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My main course. Fries, steak roll, meat, California rolls, sausage, Caesar salad, meatballs, and chicken tenders. All the food tasted very fresh. Although my only complaint would be the California rolls. Should add more flavoring to the crab in it, but otherwise solid.

Thank you reading this, hope to see you next time! Our next series in our “New Perspective Series” will be soon!

– Eric