#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.

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[Photo credit: Jeffrey Chan]

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!

#McEwanAllAccess 4.0

Canadians know that the name Chef Mark McEwan is synonymous with great food. From his role as judge on Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada, to beautiful cookbooks such as Rustic Italian he inspires us at to create Great Food At Home. Here in Toronto, we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to shop and dine at the signature restaurants and stores that reflect the many facets of Mark McEwan’s food philosophy and his personality: ONE, Bymark, Fabbrica, North 44, and of course McEwan.

If you’d like to know more about the man behind this celebrated culinary enterprise, we have exciting news for you … #McEwanAllAccess is back!

photo1On November 10th, television personality Michelle Jobin will host an exclusive and informative event with Chef Mark McEwan at his contemporary Yorkville hotspot ONE. This highly anticipated event has been a huge foodie favourite in the past. Space is limited for this evening of great food and conversation .

 

ONE Restaurant Logo copyGuests will have the opportunity to savour the gourmet food and beverages that ONE has become known for, plus the “see and be scene” atmosphere that has made it a dining destination for so many. Michelle will be hosting a conversation with Mark so we can get to know him, and the dishes he creates, better. Tweet or Instagram photos of your favourite food from the evening, your favourite moment, or perhaps pose for a selfie with Mark.

Plus, all guests leave with a gift bag including a personalized copy of Rustic Italian cookbook, Stoneleigh Vineyards wine, Johnnie Walker shot glasses, Grand Marnier recipe book and garnish sticks valued over $60.00.

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Chef McEwan feels that the upbeat elegance of ONE makes it the perfect venue for this instalment, “Looking forward to welcoming everyone to One. I can’t wait to showcase the amazing talents of our kitchen and to have the opportunity to meet everyone face to face.”

The party (and the conversation) will be happening online as well. Be sure to stay tuned to social media before, during, and after the event for all the details and full access to the event.

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So just how do you get in on this evening of delicious food, wine, and chat? For the chance to be one of our 20 invited guests, just copy, paste, and tweet the following, then keep an eye out for a potential invite and instructions:

I want to get social with @Chef_MarkMcEwan at #OneRestaurant for #McEwanAllAccess

As space is limited, a few lucky tweeters will be notified each week with more details and instructions. Past events have sold out right away, so be sure to let @MichelleJobin know just how much you want to join in. Looking forward to meeting you all, and the great food and conversation that the evening has in store for you!

Event Details

  • November 10, 2014 :: 7 pm – 9  pm
  • One Restaurant at 116 Yorkville Avenue
  • $60 per person inclusive of all drinks, food, swag bag, taxes and gratuities (LIMITED SPACE)
  • There will be only one ticket available for those selected with no plus 1 option
  • Event format will be passed appetizers, wine and cocktails
  • Tweets, pictures and great conversation are encouraged

Chef Mark McEwan & Stoneleigh Wines

The cat’s out of the bag…
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We would like to officially announce that Chef Mark McEwan has partnered with Stoneleigh Vineyards. As the ambassador for this great New Zealand wine, Mark will be working throughout the year to elevate your home entertaining by providing tips, tricks and recipes on the Stoneleigh Facebook page.

To get this relationship started off on the right foot Stoneleigh is giving away a private dinner for 10 people, personally prepared by Chef Mark McEwan. Visit www.stoneleighvineyards.ca for your chance to win!

Contest ends November 29, 2014 where a winner will be drawn randomly.

Good luck to all!

“May the odds ever be in your favour!” – The Hunger Games

 

Fabbrica’s Dandelion Salad with Olives and Caciocavallo

The Italian salad repertoire features many that possess an assertively bitter flavour profile, and this is one of our favourite examples. Despite its scant list of ingredients, it packs a wallop of flavour. The sharp and salty nature of a well-aged artisanal caciocavallo from Sicily is a league apart from that of even the finest caciocavallo from Calabria or anywhere else on the mainland, so do make the effort to find one.

Serves 4

2 bunches dandelion leaves, torn
1 handful parsley leaves
1 cup (250 mL) small quality olives, pitted
¼ cup (60 mL) aged wine vinegar
2 tbsp (30 mL) fine olive oil salt and pepper
4 oz (125 g) Caciocavallo siciliano

In a salad bowl, combine the dandelion, radicchio, parsley, and olives. Toss.

Add vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper, and toss again. Taste and correct seasonings.

Shave half the caciocavallo over the salad, and serve with the extra cheese on the side.

[From: Mark McEwan’s Fabbrica: Great Italian Recipes Made Easy for Home by Mark McEwan. Copyright © General Purpose Entertainment, 2011. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Group (Canada), a Division of Pearson Canada Inc.]

Making Your Mark ~ Claudio Aprile

There’s a lot of movement in the restaurant business. We’re really fortunate that our best people tend to stick around, but we lose our fair share of gems.

Making Your Mark catches up with the ones that got away.  This time around we caught up with Claudio Aprile, Chef & Founder of Orderfire Group and MasterChef Canada Judge. 

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What’s the best part about being in the food business? And what’s the hardest part?

The best part about being in the food business is that change is the only constant. This is also the hardest part about being in the food business. Evolve or die.

How do you know when a recipe’s right?

When the chef doesn’t follow every step and the result is still delicious.

What was the worst food review you ever got and how did you handle it? 

All I’ve ever done is cook, no fallbacks, so when I get a negative review it dose sting. But it’s not how hard you hit that matters, its what you do when you get hit that speaks to who you are. I tend to keep it to myself and try to learn from the miss-fires and fix the problem.

Why do you think foodie culture has exploded the way it has?

Restaurants have always been cultural hubs and are integral in the gentrification process of a city. Toronto’s current housing boom is fertile ground for startup companies such as restaurants. Toronto has never had so many amazing restaurant options, we now have one of the most diverse and exciting restaurant scenes in the world.

How do you think your stint with Mark McEwan has helped you in your career?

Chef McEwan has been a constant source of inspiration and guidance for most of my culinary and business life. I have always admired how he has seamlessly been able to merge his culinary talents with the world of commerce.

Our TOP 10 Instagrams for Summerlicious 2014

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Summerlicious is an annual summer tradition in Toronto that we look forward to every year since its inception in 2003. This year we were pleased to see Fabbrica picked by BlogTO‘s as one of 20 restaurants to eat at.

Here are our top #LiciousTO Instagrams from customers who wined and dined at Chef Mark McEwan‘s restaurants: ONEFabbricaNorth 44, and Bymark.

Bymark’s Shellfish Platter [Photo Credit : carmyy_1219]

Bymark’s Lindt Chocolate Pudding [Photo Credit: modernpicasso_]

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Bymark’s Pasta & Braised Short Rib Cacciatore [Photo Credit: seasaltandthyme]

Bymark’s Pan Seared Halibut [Photo Credit: lynnc68]

Fabbrica’s Beef Carpaccio [Photo Credit: josiu26]

Fabbrica’s Pizza Campagnola [Photo Credit: is_a_belly]

Fabbrica’s Spinach Pesto Tagliatelle [Photo Credit: bibiyyamy]

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North 44′s Arctic Char [Photo Credit: pheeburoo]

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One’s Pork Belly [Photo Credit: citygirlchef]

One’s Iceberg Salad [Photo Credit: planking_in_pearls]

Matt Bryan: Stirrin’ & Shakin’ at Bymark

There’s a lot more going on than just making fabulous cocktails and savvy bartender moves.  We sat down with Matt Bryan, head mixologist from Bymark to find out more about the industry, celebs and what it’s like working with Mark.

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

Since I was a child I was always interested in food and cooking. Originally, I wanted to be a chef. I learned how to cook and bake with my mom and step mom and loved the idea of making something with my hands that would make people happy. I am not sure where the transition into the front of house mentality came into play, but being the centre of attention was right up my alley, being a bartender you get to have that everyday.

What goes into setting the cocktail menus? How often does it change and where do you get your inspirations from?

Seasons are the biggest thing for me.  We usually do big menu changes in spring and fall and make minor adjustments in the summer and winter. So looking at a particular menu change I look at what flavors and ingredients are seasonal and fresh. I pay attention to whats trending in the cocktail scene via liquor, flavors, glassware, techniques etc. I come up with tons of different flavor combinations and cocktail ideas on paper first then test them at the bar. Also, you can’t forget about clientele from place to place. A cocktail that sells out the door at one may be the least favorite at Bymark. I am inspired by all sorts of things. When I travel I find out new flavors and ingredients. Chef Brooke McDougall always has some cool new things to try coming through the kitchen. Sometimes its a new toy like when we got our sous vide set up at Bymark. Lets try sous vide infused cocktails or vacuum sealing orange slices with a Negroni cocktail.

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

I love going into all the other restaurants and meeting all the people that work for the company. A lot of people that I used to work with at Bymark years back and lots of new faces. But to be honest Bymark is my home, they are all like my family there. I guess if I really had to choose it would be the grocery store just for something different.

Who’s the coolest celeb to belly up to the bar at Bymark?

That’s a tough one. A-Rod and Kate Hudson were in one time they were super chill and very nice. Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones was scary big, but cool dude. Loved his tequila.

What was your first meeting with Mark McEwan like?

Meeting?  Like sit down and talk? Matt Montis and myself had a pretty fun night with Mark at Bar Chef to chat about cocktails and the direction of the cocktail program for the company. It was pretty rad, I was a bit nervous but we ended up just chatting about cocktails and drinking a lot of bourbon which are two things I really enjoy doing so it was great.

If you were at home or at the cottage, what is your “go-to” drink?

If I am at home an old fashioned with American rye preferably Bulleit. If I am at the cottage then beers. I am lazy at the cottage.

If you weren’t a bartender, what would you see yourself doing?

Probably be a ski bum out west somewhere.

What kind of personality does it take to work at Bymark?

Fun, be able to roll with the punches, be able to laugh at yourself, energetic, adaptable.

What is something that not many people know about you

I am addicted to ice cream

~ R A P I D   F I R E   R O U N D ~

Dogs or Cats – cats way easier

Wakeboarding or Snowboarding – snowboarding

Beer or Cocktail – both depends on the time, or back to back or whatever

Summer or Winter – both have there perks

Tacos or Ybor Meat- tacos

Burgers or Sandwiches – isnt a burger just a glorified sandwich?

iPhone or Android – Android

Skateboarding or Rollerblading (lol) – really?

20 Questions with Chef Mark McEwan

Jesse Wallace from FS Local fired off a slew of questions at Mark McEwan as part of their popular 20 Questions feature.

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Here’s a peak at some of Mark’s responses:

What do you do on a day off? 

Work…I don’t typically spend days relaxing, my mind is always working…sometimes I garden to keep my hands busy.

Favourite local landmark

The grassy knoll at the TD Centre in the financial district.

Favourite local restaurant

I love sidling up to the bar at Origin on King.

Tell us something only locals know

That there are a lot of people with beards, plaid shirts and tattoos in this city. They all start to look like one person after a while.

What does supporting local mean to you? 

It’s good common sense business practice.

To find out more about what he loves most about Toronto, what he does on his day off and his favourite Mom & Pop shop head over to their blog.

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FS Local’s blog aims to tell the stories behind Canadian small business. They share a mix of expert advice from local business owners, in-depth features detailing the motivations behind small business owners, detailed coverage of Canada’s Business Improvement Area’s, interviews with Canada’s best and brightest as well as a host of other fun stuff.

McEwan Fires Up the Grill for Father’s Day

It’s that time of year again. Father’s Day is around the corner, and he can probably do without another patterned tie, a garden hose, or a meal out at a restaurant packed with screaming kids. Instead, why not give a gift that everyone will appreciate- a delicious and healthy BBQ feast shared by family and friends at home.

This year, McEwan is out to help you nail your Father’s Day plans as your one-stop-shop for everything BBQ this summer season.

Marinated meat? Check. Rubs and Sauces? Check. Condiments? Check. Coals for the Q? Yep, they thought of that too. So here’s you’re official check list to throw an al fresco Father’s Day feast that will make any dad proud to call you his own.

Ready to Grill Meat, Poultry & Fish

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From classic North 44 Striploin Steaks, to succulent Korean Miami ribs, Herb Rubbed Lamb Chops, Cedar-Planked Fish and Marinated Kabobs, there is plenty of tasty options. For a more casual cook-out, opt for one of McEwan’s housemade burgers or gourmet sausages available in a variety of flavours like Greek Lamb, Cheddar and Jalapeno, and Turkey.

Rubs & Sauces

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While McEwan’s meat can certainly hold its own, why not give it an upgrade with some of their designer rubs or sauces. Try massaging Dad’s chicken thighs with some Montreal Chicken Spice, or treat his Striploins to some R&R with the BBQ Steak Rub. Then slather on one of the tasty in-house sauces, like their Hot and Sweet Strawberry on Pork, Yellow Mustard BBQ for Ribs, Wild Blue Berry on Game, Horseradish Apricot for Chicken, and Cola BBQ for the classic Brisket. You can also opt for a fun little DIY saucing station to mix and match. Who knows, maybe Dad will create an unexpectedly tasty combination!

Condiments

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Some folk prefer a clean condiment smear to compliment their Q, while others pack on more add-ons then there’s meat! Whatever your dad’s gameplan, there’s no shortage spreads, sauces and toppings to dress his plate. Try McEwan’s Housemade Ketchup or Pepper Jam on the classic Bymark burger, the Lemon Garlic Aioli and Roasted Bell Pepper Escabeche on the Italian Sausage, the Eggplant Relish to accompany the Pork Souvlaki, or some Mango Salsa atop a Salmon kabobs. And don’t forget to serve it all with lots of their crunchy pickles, available in classic cucumbers, green tomatoes, okra, and cauliflower.

So this Father’s Day, swap the cheesy gifts and hectic family outings for an experience Dad will savour for years to come. And with McEwan delivering the quality food to Dad’s big day, you can focus on the quality time with people you love.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN