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Super Nintendo World's Chef Breaks Down Your Mario-Inspired Summer Dining Options

Universal Studios Hollywood Executive Chef Julia Thrash works hand-in-hand with Chef Toad to craft delicious, Mushroom Kingdom-approved meals.

Princess Peach, Mario, and Luigi characters walk out of a green tunnel at Super Nintendo World Hollywood.

Summer is here and with that comes family vacations to theme parks across the globe, including to Universal Studios' new Super Nintendo World. Located in Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood, Super Nintendo World brings the Mushroom Kingdom to life by transporting guests into a Super Mario-centric theme park that includes exciting rides, characters, and, of course, perfectly on-theme food.

When SYFY visited the Super Nintendo World located in California, we got a chance to speak with Universal Studios Hollywood Executive Chef Julia Thrash, who works hand-in-hand with Chef Toad to craft delicious, Mushroom Kingdom-approved meals and snacks to keep busy park-goers happy and energized.

RELATED: 7 things we learned inside Universal Studios Hollywood's Super Nintendo World

"Chef Toad is very collaborative," Chef Thrash reassured. "He knows exactly what he wants most of the time but he's very open to work with us to really make sure we're putting the best offering on the menu. It's been great working with him.

"Chef Toad actually took all his inspiration from out in the Mushroom Kingdom," she continued. "So if you look at every one of the dishes on his menu, there's to eat you'll either find in the Mushroom Kingdom or a nod to one of the characters you'll find within the Mushroom Kingdom."

To get the full Super Nintendo World experience means diving into the carefully crafted dishes. Thrash describes it as a "truly immersive experience."

A Nintendo block dessert

"When we even look at [for example] the Question Block Tiramisu, when we serve the Question Block Tiramisu, it's actually slightly open so it has the power up coming out of the Question Block," she explained. "So everything that we're doing is truly trying to take what is happening in the Mushroom Kingdom or within the video game and trying to translate that into real life."

If you're not so sweet tooth-inclined, maybe the two most popular dishes in the land are up your alley: the Mario and Luigi Burgers.

"The Mario Burger or the Luigi Burger, it's truly taking the essence of those characters," Thrash said. "So if you look at the top of it, the Luigi Burger has [Luigi's mustache] and it comes with his hat as well. And if you look, his hat is always going to be in the same exact position because that's how the hat sits on Luigi's head [in the games]. So even going down to those specific details. And then if you look at the flags that are on the Beanpole Cake, it's facing a certain direction; it will always coming out facing that direction. So it's really taking those small, minute details and really trying to bring them through so it's truly an immersive experience all the way through."

A Nintendo burger and fries

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The true challenge, she said — the challenge all chefs face — is balancing the aesthetic of the dishes with the taste. "You want it to be visually amazing but you also want to have it taste great. A lot of times when we're working through menu offerings, it's 'Where do we start? Do we know what it's going to look like or do we know what it's going to taste like?' And we really have to make the harmony between the two. 

"You might see this amazing thing and it looks awesome but then you tasted and it's like 'OK, great. I've had better.' So it's really just trying to find that fine line between the two because we do try to get both. You need the taste to be there and it needs to look fantastic."

Despite loving the most popular dishes, Thrash has a soft spot for the Chef Toad Special. "It's that rich and creamy mixed with the savory and richness of the sauce, so it balances very well," she said. To her, it's not the traditional kind of food people associate with a theme park — and that's by design as she and Chef Toad work to "showcase theme park food can be just as great" as anything you'd find at restaurants outside theme parks.

"The Chef Toad Special deserves more love," she said, while also acknowledging that a short rib-based dish might not be every summertime park-goer's go-to. Hopefully, this beloved dish will get more of the attention it truly deserves down the line.

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood is now open, head here to learn more. The Super Mario Bros. Movie is now available to watch at home.