McEwan’s 2014 Foodie Forecast Calls For Flavour & Good Health

The New Year has always symbolized exciting beginnings, new discoveries and innovative trends. And with dieting being the number one New Year’s Resolution every year, it’s no wonder these trends so often revolve around food. Last year was the year of Greek yogurt, tacos, the Paleo diet, outrageous food hybrids (like the infamous Cronut burger), Bourbon cocktails, and Sriracha.  With such an eclectic group of foods there, it seems like a shot in the dark at what we’ll be eating in 2014.

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The Aronia berry packs more antioxidants than Acai or Goji

Obviously, it takes a careful eye and an attentive ear to anticipate and stay on top of food trends, never mind to figure out where you can source these new foods! Thankfully, the folks at McEwan have done the work for you to make sure their Don Mills grocery store is your one-stop-shop.

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Every day, McEwan’s General Manager George Bachoumis scours through social media threads, food television shows, magazines in search of clues. They also take their customer’s requests incredibly seriously – “If there is a hole in our offer, or if we have missed something, they will let us know!” says owner and celebrity chef, Mark McEwan.

Both Mark and George have seen food trends come and go in the media, so they’ve developed a knack for distinguishing what consumers can actually sink their teeth into. Their predictions for 2014? Healthy foods that do just as much good for your palate as they do for your body.

As a chef and health enthusiast himself, Mark noted that, “No matter how healthy something is, if it does not taste good, it will not last. Treating your body right is no longer just a New Year’s Resolution that only lasts for a month.”

Gluten Free Almond Brownies

Gluten free almond brownies are sure to please both the sweet tooth and the health conscious.
Image source: http://carrotsncake.com

Thankfully, George has been sourcing a number of new nutritious products to hit the shelves this year- and every one of them has had to pass his rigorous taste test.  Look out for products with the Aronia berry (a sought after “superfood” with more antioxidants than Acai or Goji!), gluten free almond or coconut flour, “ancient” whole grains, prepared raw meals, and house-made green juice blends (with cheeky names like the Hulk!)

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House-made juice blends are taking the food community by storm.
Image source: http://p-ec1.pixstatic.com/

So whether you’re looking for that new gluten-free bread you saw on Dr. Oz, or want to try a new juicing regime your friend posted on Twitter, McEwan has it sourced, taste tested, and ready for you to take home.  Come see what the New Year buzz is about with a visit to McEwan.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

#McEwanAllAccess 2.0 Wrap-Up

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The second instalment of #McEwanAllAccess is proof Mark Mcewan wants to get to know you.  Mark’s team set out again, solely on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to source a select group that would enjoy a rare evening with Chef McEwan and further explore the night’s theme, Italian cuisine.

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The guests, hosted at Fabbrica, were delighted to be up close & personal with Mark. And, in unique fashion, Mark answered questions from his fans and followers on Twitter which were centered around one of our favourite tweets captured by @StephenDaCambra:

@StephenDaCambra  “The Italian kitchen will fool you with how simple it is.” @Chef_McEwan #McEwanAllAccess @inyourmouthTO

Of course he also spent time with every guest in the beautiful Fabbrica lounge over some lovely wines and fan favourite dishes like the insanely simple margherita pizza, short rib stuffed arancini and duck bresola.

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Guests raved and reciprocated on Twitter & Instagram:

PICK THE TWITTER QUOTES YOU LIKE

@YYZGourmand The inspiration for my salami room is my friends in Woodbridge – @Chef_MarkMcEwan #McEwanAllAccess     

@HotTorontoDeals At Fabbrica’s #McEwanAllAccess with Mark sharing his insights and very personable. Thanks @Chef_MarkMcEwan. #toronto

@YYZGourmand  Tonight, I high fived @Chef_MarkMcEwan for still being happily married and being so proud of his kids. Food and fun! #McEwanAllAccess

@sexyfoodtherapy  Big thx to @Chef_MarkMcEwan for a wonderful eve for the #mcewanallaccess. Psssst Godfather II still trumps Godfather I

@brian_woodland  With @Chef_MarkMcEwan of @themcewangroup #McEwanAllAccess such a sincere, amazing guy. And the food. Wow.

This round of #McEwanAllAccess also provided each guest with a copy of the newly rebranded Rustic Italian cookbook. Of course, Mark signed each one, offering some valuable one on one time.

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It was a unique experience, with an approachable and laid back Mark who reminds us that many dishes, especially with Italian should be about simplicity, expressed through the quality of ingredients.

Find out more details through the #McEwanAllAccess hashtag and let us know if #McEwanAllAccess 3.0 would be of interest and we will ask him.

[Photo credit: Jeffrey Chan]

 

 

Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Attracts Top Talent

On Sunday, October 27, 2013 at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver ten red seal chefs created a main course for four with a limited pantry and just two hours to work with. The top three finalists then had two and a half hours to cook a main course and dessert course using all the black box ingredients.

The winner was Chef Paul Moran who received a $10,000 bursary, provided by the Chefs’ Table Society of BC.

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Chef Mark McEwan joined the judging panel along with Vikram Vij (Vij’s), Author Jacob Richler, Chef Normand Laprise (Toqué!), Chef Anthony Walsh (Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants), Chef Scott Jaeger (Peartree Restaurant) and Chef David Hawksworth (Hawksworth Restaurant).

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On the last day each judge created a course for a collaborative fundraising dinner that showcased the best of Canadian cuisine and Canadian culinary talent.

[Photo credit: Jessica Haydahl Photography]

Rustic Italian : Pay Chen Talks Entertaining, Recipes & Restaurant Gossip with Mark McEwan

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On November 27, Chef and Author, Mark McEwan sat down with television and radio host, blogger, and food columnist, Pay Chen, to chat Top Chef gossip, entertaining tips, the Canadian grocery scene, keeping the business fresh, and of course, Penguin Group Canada’s new release, Rustic Italian: Great Italian Recipes Made Easy for Home.

Mark describes himself as wanting to be Italian in his next life, so it was no surprise when he opened the Italian restaurant, Fabbrica in 2010.  Since starting in the food business years prior, in 1985, Mark has been reading, tasting and observing fantastic Italian dishes abroad and at home, and has funneled those lessons into Fabbrica’s authentic Italian menu.

“I don’t own any of these recipes myself,” he told audience members, but rather “I’ve studied the historical record and have added my own twist.”

While not Italian himself, apparently he’s done a pretty fantastic job playing the part judging by the hoards of happy Nonnas from Woodbridge who consistently give him the nod of approval. “That’s the litmus test- it doesn’t get better than that,” Mark said. With the cookbook, Mark has made his restaurant quality Italian dishes accessible to the home cook, whether for a weeknight family meal or an elegant dinner party for 12.

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When it comes to entertaining, Mark warned audience members not to stretch themselves too thin. So rather than locking ourselves in the kitchen with plans for an elaborate 10 course meal (hey, we’ve all done it), he suggests we get all the components ready and assign family and friends to different tasks in the kitchen. Who cares if Uncle Jerry’s gnocchi are all different sizes, or your little niece overworks the bread. The point is you actually got to spend time with your guests.

And with the holidays behind us, and we start pondering our new years resolutions, maybe it’s time we take a tip from the chef and rethink our grocery shopping habits.  For Mark, the most important determinant when grocery shopping should always be quality, the reason why he’s personally sourced the best quality ingredients for his restaurants and grocery store, McEwan. In comparison to 20 years ago, “Canada has made leaps and bounds” in what’s been locally produced and available in the market – Mark says you just need to check out the remarkable local cheese selection at his store to see that! And while buying quality is one hurtle, maintaining it and not letting it go to waste is a whole other concern.

“Shop like the Europeans do!” Mark suggested to listeners, “I buy only what I need for 1 ½ days, use it until it’s gone and then go back for more. There is certainly no point in spending money on a quality fish if it’s going to lose its freshness when not used promptly.”

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And speaking of freshness, for a man owning some of the longest-running restaurants in the city, Mark certainly knows how to keep things exciting. How does he manage to keep his business fresh despite not always being the “new restaurant” in town? “Challenge yourself” he says, because “the moment you take your foot off the accelerator you can feel the draft.” Right now, for example, Mark is undertaking a physical and conceptual facelift in his financial district restaurant, Bymark, with a menu of more fun, playful new dishes coming out and an interior design to match!

Mark also finds inspiration through his work as Head Judge on the hit Food Network show, Top Chef Canada, where up and coming Canadian chefs bring their A game for the title and prize. With so many impressive and inventive young food entrepreneurs, it’s no surprise Mark feels the need to “look in the rear view mirror” from time to time.  It’s clearly a very exciting time for Canadians who love good food.

And if you’re one of those food-loving folk, Canadian or otherwise, you’re going to want to get your hands on a copy of Rustic Italian. Available online or in stores for only $26 CAD plus tax, this would make a perfect gift for any aspiring chef or foodie. So grab a copy, a few friends, and like Mark suggests, get everyone in the kitchen helping out. Not only will the meal live up to Mark and your high quality standards, but the memories made in the process will be worth much more.

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Life of North 44′s Roasted Dover Sole

On December 11 we hosted an Instagram Chat on Twitter where we brought to life our famous North 44 Roasted Dover Sole in a photo editorial.  Watch the chef’s creation below.

This regular feature will showcase the many steps it takes to put together popular dishes at our restaurant properties.