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Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what's on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.
Many things come to mind when thinking of Hollywood darling John Stamos: actor, musician, Disney-fanatic and ... burger-flipper? Long before he became a household name, the devilishly handsome A-lister grew up behind the grill at his family's restaurant in Southern California.
"My dad had fast food restaurant chains," Stamos tells Yahoo Life. "I worked there a lot." The first family restaurant was in Gardena, Calif., but quickly grew to include several more. Not terribly unlike the terrain of Hollywood, the restaurant industry can be cutthroat, but Stamos says his patriarch always kept his cool — much like he would later on in the role of Jesse Katsopolis — AKA "Uncle Jesse" on the ABC sitcom Full House.
"My dad was always a superhero to me," Stamos shares. "He was always the coolest guy to walk in any room. He treated the busboy the same as he would treat the most important customer, and so I've sort of tried to adopt that. The way he treated people was beautiful, and I'm trying to teach that to my son."
His father was building the family restaurant business in hopes of one day passing it on to his son, but when it came time for Stamos to choose a career, he opted for the tempting lights of Hollywood over business school. "I wasn't very 'academical,' if you will," he says.
His dad gave his blessing for Stamos to pursue acting for one semester, otherwise, his fate in the kitchen would be sealed. "I was working in the restaurant and said, 'Please let me get on TV. Please God, please let me get on TV," the 58-year-old actor recalls, "and I got General Hospital."
He quickly grew to become a familiar face on the television soap series while continuing to fulfill his commitment to the family restaurant as their Sunday cook. "I said, 'Dad, I'm famous. I gotta quit,'" says Stamos. "But he also knew if he kept me there, girls would come around."
While he's long left the restaurant industry behind, there's one skill that's particularly useful now that Stamos is dad to a 4-year-old son, Billy, with wife, model and actress Caitlin McHugh.
"He loves egg sandwiches," Stamos says of Billy's eating habits. "I was a pretty good breakfast cook."
His egg-making skills go back to the family restaurant's 99-cent breakfast special, which would draw lines of hungry hopefuls, wrapped around the block. "I had to remember, 'Oh he wanted it over-easy, he wanted it over-hard, he wants scrambled eggs whites,'" Stamos recalls. "Oh, the egg white people drove me crazy."
Stamos spoke with Yahoo Life aboard the christening sailing of the Disney Wish, the fifth ship in the Disney Cruise Line (DCL) fleet and home to some of the most ambitious dining experiences DCL has yet to offer.
"I don't eat a lot," Stamos admits. "My wife on the other hand — the more she eats, the skinnier she gets. She loves food. For some reason I've had this great appetite on this ship. I've been eating everything."
He counts Enchante´ — an elevated French restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Lallement — as one of his favorites on board. "You gotta plan about a week to eat there," Stamos jokes. "We started there last night, and I still think there's two more courses coming this morning."
Other restaurants aboard the Disney Wish include Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure, a dinner-theater-meets-gourmet restaurant (which son Billy was particularly excited for) and Worlds of Marvel, an on-screen dinner show — starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly — that celebrates the diverse cuisines of the cinematic universe.
"Every restaurant is themed, too," Stamos notes. "It's not like you just go and eat food: There's a show going on here, there's a screen over here, they're shrinking you over here. I gotta look at Paul Rudd when I eat."
And that's the Disney Magic — something Stamos has been familiar with his entire life, growing up just 20 minutes from Disneyland Park. Young Stamos would save his hard-earned paychecks from the family business to explore Disneyland.
"Me and my friend would love to save our money and eat at the Blue Bayou (Disneyland's Louisiana-inspired restaurant) and get the Monte Cristo sandwich," he recalls. "I also used to love the turkey legs — they look like you're in the Flintstones."
Stamos continues to visit Disney Parks regularly with his wife and son. "He likes anything sweet,” Stamos says of Billy's favorite Disney treats. "He's addicted to sugar — loves the sugary stuff. And, he likes corn dogs — but he calls them 'horn dogs.'"
Stamos' favorite Disney attraction?
"I love the Tiki Room — it's one of my favorites," he says. The family recently incorporated elements of Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room into their son's 4th birthday party, where a neighbor recreated a small version of the iconic Disney Parks attraction in their yard. Not surprising, as Stamos is a widely-known to be both a Disney super-fan and collector of vintage park memorabilia.
Stamos shares that Disney memories are woven throughout his life, like when he and the Beach Boys — with whom he's been touring on-and-off since 1985 — were the first guests at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa as they filmed the music video for "Kokomo" on its sandy beaches.
But, he does have a bone to pick with Walt Disney World's food and beverage team: "Why does Neil Patrick Harris have a drink named after him and not me?" he asks. The drink he's referring to is the Black Magic Margarita, a mezcal-based cocktail Harris created for La Cava del Tequila, a popular bar at Epcot's Mexico Pavilion, where he happens to be a regular fixture.
So, what would Stamos' signature drink be called? "Johnny's Sparkling Water of Love," he says. No booze here as Stamos abstains from alcohol — "it's just sparkling water ... with love," he explains.
His dream dinner guest? "Walt Disney," Stamos enthusiastically proclaims. "Wouldn't it be great to just pick his brain?" And, in a way, he did share a meal with the creative visionary. "I was having dinner with Tom Hanks one night and he had this little mustache, but I didn't really think twice about it," Stamos shares. "He knows how much I love Disney: The next morning we happened to be going to Disneyland and he's there [filming], playing Walt Disney [in Saving Mr. Banks]."
"You don't tell me you're playing Walt Disney?" Stamos recalls shouting at Hanks.
Stamos is currently on a world tour with the Beach Boys and can be seen on the Disney+ original series Big Shot — or, you know, walking around Disneyland Park with his 4 year old and a "horn dog" in tow.
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