Here comes #Winterlicious 2015!

Winterlicious is an annual gastro tradition that we look forward to every year since its inception in 2003. 

All of the McEwan Group restaurants have always had a great time coming up with new and interesting menus for Winterlicious that show off some of their favourite dishes of the season.

This year it came down to the wire for Chef Darby Piquette. Darby took over as Chef de Cuisine of One Restaurant just before Christmas. After scouring over the past chefs choices for the menu, Darby made an “2 minutes left of the fourth quarter decision” and threw a Hail Mary. With the permission of the Winterlicious organizers, Darby switched the menus to reflect Darby’s new menu at One, which launched on January 8th.

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We asked Chef Darby “If you were to come into the restaurant and select the perfect meal from your menu for that time of day, what would you choose?” and below are his recommendations!

Lunch – $28

Crispy Pork Belly with Korean BBQ Sauce, Avocado, Nappa Slaw, Sesame Oil and Spiced Pork Crackling

Heirloom Squash Ravioli with Telaggio Creme, Pickled Pearl Onions, Pine Nut Brittle, Crisp Sage and Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Cirtus Pavolva with Fresh Berries and Passion Fruit Sorbet

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Short Ribs with Pomme Puree, Mirepoix, Crisp Onion, Horseradish and Natural Sauce

Dinner- $45

Scallop and Pork Belly with Korean BBQ Sauce, Avocado, Nappa Slaw, Sesame Oil and Spiced Pork Crackling

Short Ribs with Pomme Puree, Mirepoix, Crisp Onion, Horseradish and Natural Sauce

Dark Chocolate Cake with Caramel Chocolate Ganache, Hazelnut Brittle, Coffee Anglaise

Want to take a look at our other menus? Here’s a sneak peak at Bymark‘s featuring some of their regular menu items including Variegated Beet & Walnut Pesto Salad, Lightly Smoked Salmon and Chocolate Nut Tart.

To book your reservation, click on Bymark, Fabbrica, North 44, or One Restaurant

Staff Profile: Darby Piquette

As of December 22nd, 2014 Darby Piquette became the new Chef de Cuisine at One Restaurant. Having been there from opening day, in many different roles, he was the perfect candidate for the job. Congrats Darby on everything you have accomplished,

Head to One Restaurant to check out his first menu, which launched on January 8th, 2015.

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Name: Darby Joel Piquette

Birthdate: September 1, 1989

Hometown: Aurora, Ont

Culinary School Attended: George Brown–but I did not graduate. Learning hands on at a restaurant is much better than spending money to go to school to learn less.

Previous Restaurants:

Maunders Food Shop in Aurora. It was a small catering company, butcher shop, fish monger, and prepared food counter. I started there when I was 14 years old as a dishwasher working full time, washing dishes after school every day, and open to close on weekends. My Chef, Rob Lizotte, told me the faster I washed dishes, the sooner he would teach me how to cook. Within a year I was no longer a dishwasher, I was a prep cook. As I got older I took on much more responsibilities at the shop, learning as much as I could before going to school.

 Year You Began at One: Year 1

 When did you know you wanted to work in the food industry?

When I was a little boy, I would obsess over the Food Network. When I would get home from school, I would watch that channel all afternoon, and attempt to make dinner with mom when she got home from work.

What was your first meeting with Mark like?

Nerve wracking. I was only 18 years old when I met Chef. I knew a lot about him, and my roommate had gotten me an interview at the restaurant. I did my stage from open to close, and asked first thing the next morning if I could come work there again. By the end of the day I was a full time employee. I worked every station around the kitchen, full time, for long periods of time, learning as much as I could. And now I am the Chef de Cuisine.

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What are some of the more notable lessons you’ve learned working with Mark McEwan?

This afternoon he taught me a very important lesson. I am stressing out over the office, and the financial side of the restaurant now, as it’s my first time doing all this paperwork. Chef Mark told me “None of this really matters, the food cost, the labour, the office work. The most important thing in a restaurant is making sure that every single plate that leaves the kitchen is as close to perfection as we can possibly make it. Without clean plates and hot, tasty food, there is no satisfaction. And without satisfied guests, where would we be?”

What’s your favourite dish on your newly launched menu at One?

My venison dish … cocoa rubbed venison short loin, with seared foie gras, heirloom squash ravioli, wilted spinach, agro dulce cippolini onions, dark chocolate, fried sage, and a black currant veal jus. I first thought of this dish many years ago when I first started at the restaurant. I had the chance to test run it for my girlfriend’s birthday, Amy who is the Head Pastry Chef at One. And now I finally had the chance to put it on my first menu as the Chef of the restaurant.

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If you could pinch-hit at any other McEwan restaurant, which would you choose and why?

100 % Fabbrica, without a question. When I was growing up in the restaurant industry, all the chefs and sous chefs at Fab were the senior staff at ONE. I wouldn’t be any where with out Al, Kovac, Le Clair, Gentile (BUCA), and especially Missy. Missy taught me everything about the Grill and Saucier station, which was the biggest challenge for me in the kitchen at the time. I owe you 1, actually more like 1 000 000 000 Missy!

 

Riesling Apple Brown Butter Ricotta Napoleons

Looking for the perfect dessert to serve during the cold winter months? These Napoleons couldn’t be easier – make the puff pastry and whipped ricotta a day or two beforehand and just spoon on the McEwan’s Own Riesling Apples straight out of the jar right before it’s time to serve.

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and rolled out thinly to about 10″ x 15″

2 tablespoons brown butter

475g container smooth ricotta

2 tablespoons honey

¼ cup powdered sugar

1 jar McEwan’s Riesling Apples

powdered sugar, as needed

Riesling Apple Napoleons

Thaw according to the directions on the package and roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface. Cut it into squares or rectangles, depending on how big you want your Napoleons to be.

Lay the rectangles on the larger baking sheet, lined with parchment. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from fridge, cover with another sheet of parchment and place the second smaller baking sheet on top to weigh the pastry down and prevent it from puffing up. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and transfer the pieces to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it foams and starts to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and scrape the melted browned butter into a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Add the ricotta, honey and ¼ cup of powdered sugar. Mix well.

Lay one piece of puff pastry down on a small serving plate. Add a couple of tablespoons of ricotta cream and then cover that with a couple of tablespoons of the McEwan’s Riesling Apples. You can serve them just like this with a dusting of powdered sugar and let people pick it up and eat it out of hand.

For a more elegant dessert, add a second piece of puff pastry and sprinkle with powdered sugar. For a real showstopper, add another layer of ricotta and apples and top with a third piece of puff pastry. For the whole shebang, add a second layer of ricotta and apples and top the whole thing with a third piece of puff pastry. Using a fine strainer, sieve some powdered sugar over the top and serve.

Carole Nelson Brown, The Yum Yum Factor
Blogger, Make-up Artist
Twitter @SMmamashack
Instagram @mamashack

Top 10 McEwan Gift Ideas

Christmas has arrived at McEwan and the store is filled with sweet holiday cheer. Whether you are looking for a great hostess gift, an appetizing stocking stuffer or ingredients for Christmas dinner…we have you covered.

This year we asked our staff to pick their favourites and here’s what they’d like to see under their Christmas tree.

Barrel Aged Balsamic

McEwan Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Dip your bread, dress your salad or marinate your meat.

Candles

Aromabotanical Candles

Australia’s much loved luxury fragrances for the home.

Cheese Knife

Magisso Cheese Knife

 For cheese aficionados and wine lovers. For festivities and everyday life.

Christmas Pudding

King George Christmas Pudding

A lovely, fragrant end to any Christmas dinner with family and friends.

Cookbooks

Cookbooks

A little gift to treat the foodie on your list.

Dowton Abbey Tea

Downton Abbey® Tea

just in time for the new season of the hit show Downton Abbey will make you a hit.

Floral

McEwan Floral

pre-book your Holiday arrangement or CENTREPIECE & fill your home with Christmas cheer

Gingerbread Cookie House

Dancing Deer Baking Co. Gingerbread Cookie House

A wonderful Holiday activity for the family. All you need to add is the creativity & candy decorations.

Italian Cake

Panettone Italian

for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great to toast and smoother with butter.

Nuts

McEwan’s Nut Trays

A wooden tray arrives carrying an array of gourmet goodies.

Cranberry, Brie and Prosciutto Crostini with Balsamic Glaze

A delicious, yet impressive and simple holiday appetizer that anyone would be proud to offer up at their next party or get together

1 French baguette
1 package quality Prosciutto
1 medium round of Brie cheese
1 jar McEwan’s Own Cranberry Sauce
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
1 bottle McEwan’s Own Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar

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To make balsamic glaze:
Place one cup of McEwan’s Own Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar along with brown sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat.

Simmer, stirring frequently, until vinegar is thickened or the back of a spoon is nicely coated. Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

To assemble crostini:
Cut baguette into one-third inch slices, on a bias. Lightly coat with olive oil and bake for eight minutes until lightly toasted.

Slice Brie cheese into thin strips and place on bread. Top with prosciutto and a generous teaspoon of McEwan’s Cranberry Sauce.

Sprinkle chopped walnuts, if using, and drizzle cooled balsamic glaze over assembled crostini. Embellish with mint leaves or arugula. Serve immediately.

Jenny Jack, The Brunette Baker
Blogger, Baker, Writer, Photographer
Twitter @Brunette_Baker
Instagram @brunette_baker

What’s (NEW) on Fabbrica’s Menu

As seasons change, so do menus, especially when you source local produce like we do. For winter 2014/2015, we’ve added 9 fresh items to our already-acclaimed dinner line-up. It’s not an easy process because when one’s added, often times another has to be ‘retired’.

“The colder season is the time for seeking comfort an warmth”  says Chef de Cuisine Rob LeClair. “These are the days as cooks, that we love to spend in the kitchen. Canning the last of the harvest, tending to braises and developing flavours over time”

His favourite is the Braised Rabbit with Parsnips folded into tender fettuccine and topped with crisp pancetta and in the truest sense, comfort.

Abbey’s Top 10′s for Your Healthy Holiday Charcuterie Spread

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Holiday meals at my house are hectic enough so I always kick things off with a care-free charcuterie board. It’s really the perfect dish for entertaining because I don’t have to cook it, it looks impressive, there’s something for everyone (even the picky Pollys) and it keeps mouths and bellies happy while I fuss over the main meal. But let’s be honest- most typical party platters aren’t much better for you than the mini sausage rolls and fried shrimp- they’re often loaded with saturated fat and refined carbs from all the rich cheeses, fatty meats, and buttery crackers. So this holiday season, why not let McEwan help you build a better board with an assortment of lighter, more elegant bites.

The key is to choose an assortment of big bold flavours so that a little bit goes a long way- no processed diet food, no deprivation, and no Debbie Downers. Need proof? Check out the top ten delicious and balanced items you’ll be seeing on my cocktail spread this season.

Niagara Berkshire Prosciutto- Skip the well marbled salumi and go for prosciutto which is one of the leanest yet tastiest charcuterie options at the deli.

Fresh figs – Jammy and sweet, ripe figs are irresistible with salty prosciutto or cheese.

McEwan Spanish Marcona Almonds- Packed with protein, fibre and good-for-you fats, a small handful of these will keep the hunger monster at bay.

Mary’s Organic Crackers- Forgo the carb overload of the bread basket and opt for these whole grain gluten free crackers instead that deliver tons of flavour and great crunch in their petite size.

Pastrami Smoked Atlantic Salmon- Loaded with protein and healthy omega-3 fats, pescaterians and meat lovers alike will swoon over this pastrami-inspired smoked fish.

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co’s Bagel Chevre (Garlic & Chive)- Made simply with just some hormone and antibiotic free goats milk, bacterial culture, rennet and salt- this is a far more nutritious alternative to cream cheese.

McEwan Olive Trio- Olives are packed with heart-healthy fats and a ton of bold flavour so you only need a few to get your briny fix.

McEwan Pickled Beans- Virtually calorie free with a good bite of heat, these snappy beans are more addictive than chips.

McEwan Spiced Orange Marmalade- Try this bitter-sweet preserve on your cheese and crackers for the spicy sweet flavour of the holidays.

Beemster Slimkaas Matured Cheese- Skip the processed “low fat” cheese, and opt for a naturally lower fat offering like this Slimkaas which has 33% less fat than most regular Gouda cheeses.

To pick up my ten tasty essentials and everything else you need to pull off a healthy and delicious holiday meal, visit McEwan Foods at Shops at Don Mills.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

 

#McEwanAllAccess 4.0 Wrap-Up

After the success of past events, #McEwanAllAccess 4.0 was highly anticipated, and did not disappoint! On November 10, 20 lucky foodies met at One Restaurant for an exclusive, invite-only meet, eat and tweet with Celebrity Chef Mark McEwan.

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Co-hosted by television personality Michelle Jobin, it was an evening full of opportunity to savour delicious food and drinks while mingling with fellow foodies and chatting one-on-one with Chef McEwan himself.

The luxurious, yet cozy atmosphere of One Restaurant’s bar lounge was just perfect for guests to sip Stoneleigh Vineyards wines. Cocktails featuring Johnnie Walker, Grand Marnier & Ciroc were the ideal compliments while sampling such signature McEwan favourites such as Pork Belly Steamed Buns, Steak Tartare and Blue Crab and Avocado Spoons.

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We also saw lots of tweets and Instagram photos of the evening that were shared by the guests with their fans and followers online.  

Everyone were given their very own copy of “Great Food at Home” and then sat down with Mark for a personalized book signing, and to take a few selfies with the Chef. At the end of the evening, guests departed with a gift bag that was full of foodie favourites, including wine from Stoneleigh Vineyards, and of course memories of a great event.

Didn’t get an invite to this round? Follow our Blog and @Chef_MarkMcEwan‘s Twitter to be the first in on #McEwanAllAccess 5.0.

Adrian Berg TweetEat N Mingle Tweet

[Photo credit: Jeffrey Chan]

Life of McEwan’s Curry Bar

On October  we hosted an Instagram Chat on Twitter where we brought to life McEwan’s popular Curry Bar in a photo editorial.  Watch Chef Shen’s creation below.

This regular feature showcases the many steps it takes to put together popular dishes at our store and restaurant properties.

Chef on Board at PEI Fall Flavours

Every September Prince Edward Island puts on a month long festival showcasing all of the wonderful products that the island has to offer. Over the years Chef Mark McEwan and team have taken part in the Beef Festival, the Shellfish festival, Applelicious and much more. This year however the team took to the “high seas” and hosted a dinner for 350 lucky guests on the car deck of a massive ferry, the Confederation.

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Upon arrival on the island, Mark, Executive Chef Andrew Ellerby and Assistant Jordie McTavish were treated to an amazing dinner at Terre Rouge (if you are ever in Charlottetown, do not miss this spot) and the next day the fun began.

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They were given the opportunity to speak with students of the Holland College culinary program and then headed out to the boat (which was like nothing they had ever seen before). The first comment out of Chef Andrew’s mouth was “Feeding 350 on a ferry eh? Check that of the bucket list!”

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The evening was filled with great music, great food a dose of healthy competition, wine from Stoneleigh Vineyards and a little bit of dancing. It was a huge success and could not have been pulled off it weren’t for the culinary students and their ability to cook and plate food for the masses!

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An early evening flight on Sunday meant that the team had their first opportunity to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the final day of the festival. Farm Day on Queen Street gave them the opportunity to meet local purveyors of fantastic products, from cheeses, to beers, to smoked salmon. In the afternoon they headed to a beef farm half an hour out of the city and met with the Drake family of Steerman’s Meats for a tour of their 125 year old farm.

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The weekend was a fantastic mix of everything that PEI has to offer. We highly recommend heading to the Fall Flavours Festival next September and we will see you there!