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.


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.


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!”



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!



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.


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!

Freshness, Taste and Nutrition – McEwan Celebrates Eating Local in 2014

Last month here on The McEwan Group blog we explored some of celebrity chef, Mark McEwan, and McEwan’s General Manager, George Bachoumis’ top predictions for this year’s hottest food trends.  The consensus? Us Canadians care about the quality of ingredients we’re putting into ours bodies, and McEwan wants to make sure we only eat the best. One of the most popular health-driven movements we’re seeing for 2014 is an emphasis on locally sourced meats and fish.


Local products have long been known to have health benefits, largely associated with the reduced time between harvest and eating- the fresher the food, the more nutrients and flavour it retains! But it’s not only about micronutrients, as George points out.

Customers are also concerned about where their food comes from, how it was raised and how it was prepared.

This type of information is much easier to obtain from smaller operations that are locally grown than from massive corporate organizations with countless international plants, allowing you to feel much more at ease with a familiar local supplier.


The McEwan process for buying local acknowledges that as a result of variable landscape and terroir, the different Canadian provinces and regions have their own specialty in what they farm and produce best. Mark describes this as the “best in show” approach to sourcing the products on his shelves. Rather than buying all from only one Canadian region, McEwan finds the crème de la crème across our delicious country. For example, Mark sees Prince Edward Island as an absolute gem for fantastic seafood- “the saltiness of the air and the natural programs make their products pristine which is why I am happy to serve them to my clients.”


And while it may be easier to buy from just a handful of massive production facilities, the McEwan team know the value of seeking out the very best. So every day George meets with local sales representatives, and visits Toronto’s food terminal to hand-pick the freshest products. Him and his team also attend a variety of food shows throughout the year to network with passionate suppliers, farmers and food entrepreneurs.

To George, Mark and the rest of the McEwan family, buying and selling local is a no brainer, especially because it’s what you, the customer want. As George says, “Supporting local creates a relationship between the producer, us, and the customer”, and that’s what McEwan is all about.