Life of McEwan Catering

On December 11 we hosted an Instagram Chat on Twitter where we brought to life what catering orders from receiving to shipping in a photo editorial.  Watch the process below.

This regular feature showcases the many steps it takes to put together popular dishes at our restaurant properties or behind-the-scenes at McEwan.

McEwan’s Festive Meals Make Entertaining a Holiday Miracle

If you’re reading this in the midst of the hectic holiday season, you’re likely buried in a to-do list longer than Santa’s. There are decorations to hang, gifts to buy, events every night of the week and of course, that grand dinner party you promised you would host. Amidst the chaos in the week, pulling off a bountiful spread may seem like an impossible task…and isn’t the purpose of the holidays to spend time with family and friends rather than be chained to a stove basting a turkey with one hand while mashing potatoes with another?Well, until we find a clone under the tree that can help us make our cake and eat it too, we’re taking a little help from the holiday experts at McEwan.
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This giving season they are offering a variety of full Festive Meals that will let you actually relish in those precious once-per-year moments.

McEwan Catering Manager, Eric McEwan told me, “a lot of our first time customers who were used to doing their holiday meals themselves were skeptical at first, but they all have come back in the new year raving about the meal, how easy it was and how much food they got for the price. Ultimately, they appreciate being able to spend the time they would usually be cooking with their families instead and these meals help them do just that.”

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Investing the same care and passion you would if you were cooking yourself, the McEwan chefs have developed a variety of holiday meals to satisfy your families size needs, preferences and holiday traditions.

The most popular option is of course the whole Turkey Dinner with classic sides like Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing, Brussels Sprouts and more which Eric anticipates to get over 200 orders for this Christmas Eve.

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For those exhausted from poultry, why not try the elegant Beef Tenderloin, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Heirloom Carrots, Seasonal Mushrooms and Caesar Salad supper.  There is also amore exotic Roasted Leg of Lamb with Parmesan Potato Gratin, Chili Garlic Rapini and an Arugula Manchego Salad. Even the non-meat eaters have a restaurant-quality option with McEwan’s stunning Maple Whisky Salmon with Dill French Beans, Slow- Cooked Sugar Beets and Bibb Lettuce Salad.

It’s not just about likes and dislikes, McEwan also recognizes that happiness and health always go hand in hand and are keen to accommodate various dietary concerns. Going gluten free? No problem, Eric showed me the batch of gluten free stuffing and flourless gravy that they’ve got going into holiday meals. Lactose Intolerant shoppers have a plethora of options as well with McEwan’s innovative dairy free recipes. Even vegetarians can get in on the jolly spirit with handmade vegetable pot pies and pasta entrees. If you don’t see something specific that captures your holiday traditions, Eric suggested their team of culinary superstars will happily take requests – “we ask you what you want and make it happen.”

What’s the point of getting your guests all riled up unless you’ve got a big showstopper to end the night? A quick trip to McEwan’s tantalizing bakery and your toughest chore will be deciding whether to go Yule log or pie, European cookie tray or petit fours. That is so much easier than last year’s struggle with the 20 pound stand-mixer and the worst flour blizzard of 2012!

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While a McEwan quality meal like this is sure to get gobbled faster than Santa’s cookie tray, there are lots of tasty possibilities for the lucky chance of leftovers.

Too much turkey? Executive Chef Shen Ousmand suggests you shred or “pull” it, mix it with some cranberry sauce and serve it on a mini bun as a Pulled Turkey Slider! Got extra Brussels sprouts? Try tossing them with some cooked potatoes, throw a fried or poached egg on top and call it a breakfast hash.

However you want to serve it, McEwan’s Festive Meals are a great way make this hectic season just as relaxing for you as it is for your guests- a scenario that may have previously seemed like a holiday miracle!  So if you started reading this piece a little anxious starring down your to-do list, I hope you’re now breathing a sigh of relief at the big ticket item you can cross off. With a McEwan’s Festive Meal on your menu, you can get back to what really matters this season – cherishing each moment spent sharing memories, stories and fabulous food with your closest family and friends.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

 

George Bachoumis: Hand-picked for McEwan Grocery

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When Mark set out to elevate the grocery shopping experience, a close friend recommended George Bachoumis to manage the operation. It didn’t take long for Mark to make it official.

“As soon as I met with George I knew he was a perfect fit for the position. He’s evolved the store into a well oiled machine.”  Mark McEwan

25 Years of Prep

George got his start in the grocery business when specialty stores were just starting to trend. He knew that’s where he wanted to be, and so intentionally worked for a number of stores to learn how each one approached things. Over time, he developed his own style and we love where he’s netted out.

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George said that finding unique products with great stories is the best part of his job. That’s why everyone who wants shelf space is asked the same question: what makes you different?

It’s also why some of his favourite customers are travellers looking for that something they tried on the road, and hosts looking for that something to wow their guests with. These are people who make their own stories, and George is only too happy to be a part of them. When you work with Mark McEwan, you learn a thing or two about creating stories with food.

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[Left to right] George Bachoumis, Mark McEwan and Eric McEwan

The Corner of Up and Downtown

While being at the Shops At Don Mills makes it easy for people from both ends of the city to visit, the McEwan Grocery still very much a destination. It’s a commitment to come here and George likes it like that.

“People are more likely to be more adventurous once they’re here” he says.  That’s how stories get written.

Supporting Local Eats at McEwan’s Farmers Market

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If you’re a regular farmers market shopper, you know how exciting it can be to stumble upon unique entrepreneurs and their products, while supporting our local food economy.  But wouldn’t it be nice to experience the discovery of exploring a grassroots local market while in the comfort of your favourite luxury grocery store?

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Well, at McEwan’s Farmers Market you absolutely can! Each week, Eric McEwan, son to Chef Mark McEwan, searches the local food scene using popular social media apps like Instagram to uncover unique, innovative and healthy local food products. 

By Saturday, these products and the passionate people behind them, get to set up in the store to sample and sell their delicious wares to you! The most popular products get a permanent place on store shelves. 

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General Manager, George Bachoumis described the process to me, stating “We believe in giving everyone a chance. It’s a great entertaining atmosphere in the store and our customers love the experience of showing their support to local producers.” 

It’s also your chance to work with the staff at McEwan to get your say on what’s sold in store, and as a result, what goes into your family’s mouths. The market is just one more way that McEwan demonstrates their commitment to putting its customers first.

So if you want to support local business, have your say on the next hot inductee into the McEwan’s store, and of course, load up on tasty food samples (because who doesn’t like free snacks?), then be sure to stop by the McEwan Farmers Market for your local food fix!

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

Catering: We Deliver

“When someone trusts you to set up their evening it’s very rewarding, especially when they have high standards.”

That’s Eric McEwan talking about his favourite part of the catering business. But truth be told, it’s hard to find someone with higher standards than this 28 year-old. It’s why his father put him in charge of McEwan Catering and why it’s done so well.

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Mixed Appetizer Platter includes Pork Spring Rolls, Grilled Shrimp, Beef Empanadas, Vegetable Dumplings and Chicken Drumettes

 

Step 1 – Placing the Order

You call with an event in mind, but you’re having trouble picking a menu to complement it. First of all, you should know that that you’re definitely not the first. We get asked for recommendations all the time, and we’ll almost always point customers out of their comfort zones; even ones with specific dietary restrictions, many of which we can accommodate including kosher. After 20 years of dinner parties, occasions and conferences, we’ve come to learn that (a) people remember good food and (b) people remember different food.

Step 2 – Preparing an Event

Gourmet catering is about doing what it takes to make the host look and feel their very best. Part of that is the food, but it’s certainly not the only thing. For example, we work with you find the perfect wine to match the menu and the event. We offer on-site servers and chefs, all trained in-house through the North 44 program. We send some of our dishes on wooden boards and bowls for presentation. We even help you with choosing the perfect space.

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Customers recently hosted a small gathering before heading to a TIFF party.  Their catered spread also included Seasonal Harvest Vegetables with Chili & Lemon Garlic Aioli and Mini Prime Rib Sandwiches

 

Step 3 – Packing the Food

“Organization is the key to catering” says McEwan. “It doesn’t matter if it’s for 5 or 500”. For example, because catering orders usually have to travel and aren’t consumed immediately, sauces and dressings have to be approached differently. Many items are created, then de-constructed and packed to be re-assembled on site by a staff member or by the host. Eric prefers the latter – he says customers like feeling part of the creative process. We agree.  For example the Tuna on Homemade Potato Chip with Mango Mignonette & Fresh Micro Greens includes all the components needed to make this appetizer a hit at any party.

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IMG_7350Have an event coming up? Look at our catering menu, call 416.444.6262, ask for extension 228 and we’ll start turning you in to the host with the utmost.