J.K. Rowling Had Wizarding World of Harry Potter Food Samples Flown to Scotland

Weeks before the Universal park's April 7 opening, the author sampled all treats and food that will be available at its restaurants, stores and snack bars.
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J.K. Rowling

A version of this story first appeared in the April 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

There isn't a detail of the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood that hasn't been approved by Potter author J.K. Rowling, including the food at the snack bars.

Weeks before the park's April 7 opening, samples of all treats available at its restaurants and stores — from the Chocolate Frogs and Every Flavor Beans being sold at Honeydukes (named and designed after the wizarding sweets shop in the books) to the shepherd's pie and fish and chips served at Three Broomsticks restaurant — were shipped to Rowling for a personal taste test.

"The chefs at Universal flew to Scotland and brought the food to her," says Alan Gilmore, the park's supervising art director. "She got to see everything. It was a huge effort to get everything exactly right."

And in doing so, Gilmore adds that they employed many members of the original staff from the franchise. 

"We've involved all of the same people, the same costume designers, the same set designers, the same artisans, the director, the story writer, J.K. Rowling — they’re all involved," he adds. 

Rowling was also very particular about the Forbidden Journey experience through Hogwarts Castle, the illustration of the ancient art of astronomy in Wiseacres, the wands chosen for Ollivanders, and interactive spells performable at 11 locations throughout Hogsmeade. A final insider tip via Gilmore is that Universal Studios Hollywood will soon be the first location to experience "Firewhiskey," another concoction that will most likely be summoned by Rowling to get just right.