Top Tips from Top Chefs to Help You Simply Cook and Enjoy!

At some point we vow to eat a little bit better.  Some may try to sneak in an extra veggie at dinner, others may swap their French bread for whole grain, but for the great majority, cooking and eating at home is one of the most challenging tasks to tackle.

I’ve discovered as much as I love to be waited on in a pretty dining room, I also love to experiment with good quality ingredients in the comfort of my own home. And guess what? I’m apparently not alone! Despite countless hours spent in a professional kitchen, even the top chefs from the McEwan Group told me they crave a healthy homemade meal that’s easy to pull together and tastes great. So I sat down with the group of them to get their best tips on preparing healthy home cooked meals.

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“A nutritional diet can be achieved by sourcing out the best fresher’s seasonal products, Buy only enough for a day or two, use appropriate cooking methods, (steaming, oven roasting are good options.) Add at least one high fiber component to your meals.” – Chef Shen Ousmand of McEwan

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“Take an hour or so out of your week to pre-blanche your favorite vegetables, and portion them in baggies and refrigerate. Then minutes before your next dinner, just poke a few holes in a baggie and plop it into boiling water. No oil, or butter, just flavour!” - Chef Sash Simpson of North 44

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“Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness.”  - Chef Rob Leclair of Fabbrica

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“Use less saturated fats [like butter, cream or rendered meat] when cooking, and cook [mainly] protein & salad base items.” - Chef Brooke McDougall of Bymark

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“Vinegar based marinades and spice mixtures are a great way to bring out flavor without adding too much fat and or salt.” - Chef Matt Beasley of One

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“Let the market dictate your menus. Don’t complicate meal time. Keep it simple and achievable using the freshest and healthiest whole foods that are in season.” - Chef Drew Ellerby of One, McEwan and Fabbrica (Executive Chef)

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“Use good quality, unprocessed foods as the basis of your dishes. Fresh, wholesome ingredients have a greater effect on the outcome of your dish and will lead you to create the healthiest options.” - Chef Mark McEwan of The McEwan Group and Head Judge Top Chef Canada

See, there you go! Even the city’s top chefs who are praised for their culinary precision and perfection agree that eating well doesn’t have to be hard work. When you have a premium grocer like McEwan on your side, the challenge merely disappears! Celebrate the way the pros do- by cooking at home using wholesome ingredients that deliver on flavour and nutrition to your family’s table.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

Miso Glazed Tofu & Watercress Salad

Miso Glazed Tofu Recipe Ingredients

This recipe has been created by Joann MacDonald from Women in Real Life.  She is a writer and vegan recipe creator.  Her tasty salad makes a healthy side dish for any special meal. She brushes the tofu with McEwan‘s Own Miso Sauce and uses some for the dressing. It’s definitely a satisfying main dish for your vegetarian friends. It comes together quickly and isn’t at all fussy.

For the full recipe visit her blog.

Miso Glazed Tofu & Watercress Salad

#McEwanAllAccess 3.0 Wrap-Up

On May 6th, 30 hungry foodies gathered at McEwan for #McEwanAllAccess, an exclusive invite-only meet, eat and tweet session with Celebrity Chef, Mark McEwan.

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Hosted by Food and Nutrition Expert Abbey Sharp of Abbey’s Kitchen, guests had the chance to sip and savour delicious food prepared by McEwan’s Executive Chef Shen Ousmand and from our sponsors, Hot BunzzItaca ProsciuttoVON Doughnuts, Makaron, Vineland Estates wine and Beau’s All Natural Beer.

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There was plenty of time to pose for selfies with Mark himself.

We also saw lots of photos of the craveworthy spread shared with fans and followers online, all while chatting up a storm.

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Once satiated, the group gathered for an intimate Q & A session, where Mark divulged exclusive details of his future store expansion plans, his most memorable Top Chef meals, his favourite McEwan restaurant dish and so much more.

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Before calling it a night, the foodies indulged in a few last Von Doughnuts, shopped the store at 10% off, purchased signed copies of Mark’s cookbook, and went home compliments of Hailo with a fabulous swag bag, great memories, and a ton of insta-pics.

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Didn’t get an invite to this round? Be sure to keep you eye on our Blog, and @Chef_MarkMcEwan‘s Twitter to be the first in on #McEwanAllAccess 4.0.

[Photo credit: Jeffrey Chan]

From Bucket to Bouquet: A Trip to the Market

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz (not really), wonder where the flowers is?

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The prolonged winter has had an effect on more than just your vitamin D intake, just take a look at the gardens in your neighbourhood. By this time each spring McEwan Floral would be welcoming the local tulips (farmed outside of the greenhouses) and peonies into the shop. This year however, local floral and fawna are a little more difficult to come by.

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_DSC0491McEwan Floral’s manager, Rachel Sherlock is always in contact with her connections in the Terminal to stay on top of the best imported selection. Each week, Rachel heads to Hoffland in the west end to spend time with her rep, Nikki to keep tabs on the ever evolving variety of available stems. Much like the restaurants in The McEwan Group, McEwan Floral strives to source the highest quality, seasonal and unique flowers to brighten the homes, restaurants and hotels across the city.

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With notebook in hand full of the week’s worth of orders, Rachel scours the aisles in the fridges at Hoffland for inspiration. Almost always pulling from the largest and most statement impacting pieces Rachel’s vision trickles down to the most minute details. After working with Nikki for years, the two women are in constant contact throughout the week so that Nikki can pre-pull items that will be of interest Rachel and that will compliment McEwan Floral’s design style.

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At the end of the visit, the women load up the McEwan purple truck and Rachel heads back to the store in the Shops at Don Mills to begin building the masterpieces needed to fulfill her orders.

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Throughout the week there will be many more deliveries to keep up with the demand of the everyday shoppers at the store. From bouquets to cocktail arrangements, dinner party centerpieces, weddings and grand scale pieces at The Hazelton Hotel and The McEwan Group restaurants, even if the sun isn’t shining there is never a dull day in the McEwan Floral department.