#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

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.]

Our Chefs Get Their 5-10 a Day with Ripe Seasonal Fruit

Between cottage weekends, road trips, warm weather and patios, there’s no shortage of reasons to love summer in the city. But at the top of the list for many food-loving folk is the arrival of summer fruit. At the peak of sweet-season, August at McEwan means juicy stone fruits like plums, apricots and peaches, antioxidant-rich berries like blueberries, gooseberries and raspberries, and a refreshing selection of hydration-rich melons. Fruit is always a healthy choice when you need something sweet, and whether it’s in dessert for a family cookout, a salad for a lazy brunch, or snacks for the kids at camp, the selection at McEwan’s is worth the year long wait.

For the chefs across the McEwan Group, the arrival of summertime fruit opens up a world of tasty and nutritious possibilities that they’re eager to transform into tasty dishes and snacks for their families. Curious about what fruity delights these culinary masterminds most look forward to each year, I sat them down to get the sweet scoop on fruit.

 

Chef Shen Ousmand of McEwan 

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Seasonal fruit is the ultimate expression of perfection in the culinary world. It allows me to be cost effective because I can use seasonal fruits at its peak to make jams, chutneys, and all kind of preserves to store for the winter. This process gives me great joy.

Chef Sash Simpson of North 44

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The only thing that can improve the perfect summer fruit, the peach, is the peach cobbler. Baked with oatmeal, brown sugar and served warm with vanilla ice cream, makes this the easiest and tastiest summer fruit treat.

Chef Rob Leclair of Fabbrica

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I love fresh stone fruits. Fresh cherries and plums are a favourite snack, or toss them in a salad and their flavours are well complimented by vinaigrettes. Grilling fresh peaches or roasting apricots also intensifies their sweetness.

Chef Matt Beasley of One

I truly believe that the summer fruit that comes out of Ontario is some of the best you can find anywhere.  My favorite fruit from Ontario has to be peaches, and when I think of peaches, my next thought goes right to pork.  A BBQ pork chop with roasted peaches would be my first pick for a summer dish.  When it comes to all the great fruit from Ontario, I prefer to prepare them simply to allow the true taste of the product shine through.

Chef Brooke McDougall of Bymark

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I make a raw juice in the morning to start my day with apple, kale, celery, ginger and lemon. On weekends, it’s a pineapple and tequila Mojito.

Chef Drew Ellerby of One, McEwan and Fabbrica (Executive Chef)

I love spring and summer in Ontario- there’s so much product to work with. My favourites by far are fresh Niagara peaches. I like to roast them with a touch of butter and brown sugar and serve them with seared foie gras. Or grill them with a sweet balsamic glaze, some stewed cipolinni onions and a big fat bacon chop. Warm stewed peaches on ice cream is a pretty amazing thing as well.

Chef Mark McEwan of The McEwan Group, Top Chef Canada

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Making a great seasonal fruit juice every morning gets me ready for the day. I always look forward to using fresh, Ontario strawberries.

Feeling hungry for something succulent, seasonal and sweet? Check out McEwan this month to pick up some of your family’s favourite fruits, and give some of these chef-inspired tips a try in your house before summer is gone.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

Flavours Pop at Taste of Toronto

Photo Credit: urbanmomsca

For those of you that were able to make it down to historical Fort York this past weekend for Taste of Toronto you already know that you took part in a food festival, the likes of which the city has never seen before. After more than a decade of “Taste of…” events happening around the world (Sydney, Dubai, London etc.) their team chose Toronto to launch their first EVER North American event!

Photo Credit: everythingmom

Photo Credit: everythingmom

Thankfully the weather reports… as always, were wrong; as the sun shone all weekend long!

The McEwan Group signed up for the event in the winter when it was first brought to our attention and after months of planning the fruits of our labour were realized. The booth was always filled with hungry guests coming to sample some of Mark McEwan‘s favourite and most iconic dishes from the menus at Bymark (Lobster Poutine), One Restaurant (Fried Chicken) and Fabbrica (Lamb Bolognese Crostini) as well as to shake hands, and take hundreds of #selfies with Chef Mark McEwan himself.

Photo Credit: jdomakeup

Photo Credit: jdomakeup

Photo Credit: kat_pearce

Photo Credit: kat_pearce

Photo Credit: sunny_fong_

Photo Credit: sunny_fong_

We had many rave reviews on our food and we couldn’t have been happier to see and hear that everyone was enjoying what we had to offer…once you made it to the front of the line!  For those of you that didn’t get a chance to come out make sure you don’t miss this event next year!
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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]

Brunching at Fabbrica

Last month Chef Rob LeClair hosted and treated a group of media to some of our popular brunch items to some newer items at Fabbrica. Our guests included Suresh Doss from Zagat Toronto, Eric Wainwright from Notable, Lisa Jackson from Eat, Drink, Tavel and Brian Sweigman from Product.  Top on everyone’s list Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Preserved Blueberry, Whipped Mascarpone and Candied Lemon with the Shortrib Hash with Poached Egg and Caramelized Onion close behind.  We didn’t think their would be room for dessert but the Matteo Panini with Nutella, Crunchy Peanut Butter and Banana was gobbled up in no time.

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan

 

 

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

Rob Leclair

“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

Brooke McDougall

“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

Fabbrica’s Garlic Soup

From the perspective of cost, this simple dish must be seen to carry the banner for Italian peasant food. Its traditional ingredients–old bread, garlic, and water–are even cheaper and more pedestrian than the handful of basics required for a spaghetti alla puttanesca. But they acquire majesty in their symbiosis (especially if you make the profligate choice of using good stock in place of the water.)

Serves 6

2 QUARTS (2 L) VEGETABLE OR CHICKEN STOCK (PAGE 286)

4 BAY LEAVES

4 JUNIPER BERRIES, CRUSHED

30 CLOVES GARLIC, PEELED

15 SAGE LEAVES

1 TSP (5 ML) THYME LEAVES

2 CUPS (500 ML) CUBED DAY-OLD ITALIAN BREAD, CRUSTS TRIMMED

1/3 CUP (75 ML) 35% CREAM

SALT AND WHITE PEPPER

GARNISH
6 SLICES CIABATTA

1 TBSP (15 ML) OLIVE OIL

SALT AND PEPPER

GRATED GRANA PADANO OR PECORINO ROMANO

FINE OLIVE OIL

CRISPY-FRIED SAGE LEAVES (OPTIONAL; PAGE 278)

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Bring the stock to a boil. Wrap the bay leaves and juniper berries in cheesecloth, tie the bundles closed, and add to the stock along with the garlic, sage, and thyme. Return to a boil and then lower heat. Simmer until the garlic is tender, about 30 minutes.

Add the bread and cream. Return to a simmer, stir, and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove spice sachet and blitz the soup in a blender (or with a hand blender).  Pass through a strainer if desired. Season to taste.

Sprinkle one side of the ciabatta with some of the olive oil, season, and grill until crisp and golden. Turn, sprinkle with more oil, seasonings, and a little cheese, and grill until crisp and golden. Place the crostini in 6 warm bowls. Pour the soup around the crostini, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sage (optional), and serve.

[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.]

#McEwanAllAccess 3.0

Are you a fan of the hit Food Network TV show, Top Chef Canada? Do you list Bymark, Fabbrica, North 44, and One among some of your favourite restaurants in town? Do you consult Great Food at Home and Rustic Italian cookbooks to determine your week’s meals? Well, if you’re interested in digging deep into the mind behind all of these tasty endeavours, then we’ve got some exciting news for you.

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On May 6th Food and Nutrition expert, Abbey Sharp of Abbey’s Kitchen will be hosting an exclusive evening with Chef Mark McEwan.  Only 30 of the most dedicated foodies will be invited to join Mark as he takes guests on intimate tasting tours of his McEwan store at  the Shops at Don Mills.

Much like last year’s #McEwanAllAccess 1.0 and 2.0, the party will be simultaneously happening on site and online. Abbey Sharp will be curating some intriguing conversations before, during and after the event so keep your eyes on Social Media for full access to the festivities.

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So what can you expect as a guest of #McEwanAllAccess? Arrive in style with the help of a $15 Hailo credit.  Go ahead and pose for a few Instagram shots with Mark or take photos of your favourite food finds. The rest of the evening will involve tasting your way through Mark’s gourmet store all the while chatting up a storm in one-on-ones with the man himself. All guests leave with a swag bag of goodies valued at over $45!

 

As described by Mark himself, “We have come a long way from our opening five years ago. Everyday I get to see how the store continually transforms and it’s a great time to give our guests a glimpse into what our team does everyday. Executive Chef Shen will be on hand creating one of our favourite recipes, and we will walk through the different departments sampling the best that we have to offer, from PEI beef, to east coast oysters, to McEwan’s Own Ice Pressed Olive Oil and such. I look forward to welcoming everyone.”

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Start off with fresh bread & McEwan Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Bakery, moving naturally onto Itaca Prosciutto and Parmigiano Reggiano in the Deli and Cheese departments.  Next, you can learn to shuck oysters and taste Mark’s favourite PEI Grass-Fed beef before wandering over to the catering department for more. Here you’ll find cute canapés like Lobster Tacos, Mini Grilled Cheese, and Curry Chicken Salad, as well as Executive Chef Shen whipping up Fabbrica’s famed Gnocchi.  Finish off a fabulous night with VON Doughnuts and French Macarons, all the while sipping on Vineland Estates wine and Beau’s All Natural Beer.

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Will you be one of our 30 invited guests? Just copy, paste and tweet the following, and then keep an eye out for a potential invite and instructions:

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

Space is very limited, so of those who tweet, only a handful will be notified each week with more details and instructions. Our previous #McEwanAllAccess events sold out instantly upon invites being distributed so be sure to let @AbbeysKitchen know how much you really want to come! Looking forward to chatting, sipping, eating and tweeting on May 6th with Mark and 30 of you!

Event Details

  • May 6, 2014 :: 7 pm – 9  pm
  • McEwan at 38 Karl Fraser Rd
  • $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 food stations with beer and wine
  • Tweets, pictures and great conversation are encouraged

 

Our TOP 10 Instagrams from Winterlicious 2014

Winterlicious is an annual gastro tradition that we look forward to every year since its inception in 2003. This year we were pleased to see Bymark ranked among blogTO’s top Winterlicious restaurants and still remains a crowd favourite.

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

Bymark Roasted Chicken Breast with white beans, parsnip, oregano tapenade and brandy braised apple. Photo by @diningdianna

Bymark Roasted Chicken Breast with white beans, parsnip, oregano tapenade and brandy braised apple. Instagram by @diningdianna

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Fabbrica Pizza Parmigiana (vegetarian) with roasted eggplant, fresh mozzarella, garlic, tomato sauce, and reggiano. Instagram by @DishMashTweets

ONE Pork Belly with Asian glaze, pickled cucumber, red onion, carrot slaw, puffed rice, yuzu aioli, coriander, panko. Photo by @diffickle

ONE Pork Belly with Asian glaze, pickled cucumber, red onion, carrot slaw, puffed rice, yuzu aioli, coriander, and panko. Instagram by @diffickle

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Bymark Organic Trout with crispy artichokes, arugula, caramelized cipollinis & dill buttermilk dressing. Instagram by @imstepho

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ONE Salmon with beluga lentils, granny smith apples, spinach, crème fraiche, dill foam. Instagram by @diffickle

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Fabbrica Strozzapreti Lamb Bolognese with cecci beans and reggiano. Instagram by @champagne_diamonds

North 44 Pan Seared Rock Fish with blistering tomatoes, mussels, coconut milk, reduced broth and basil shoots. Photo by @katielynn17

North 44 Pan Seared Rock Fish with blistering tomatoes, mussels, coconut milk, reduced broth and basil shoots. Instagram by @katielynnk17

ONE Scallops with butternut squash puree, blood orange, pain d’epice, brown butter and bacon foam. Photo by @jonjfong

ONE Scallops with butternut squash puree, blood orange, pain d’epice, brown butter and bacon foam. Instagram by @jonjfong

Fabbrica Sicilian Garlic Soup (vegetarian) with roasted garlic, focaccia crouton and crisp sage. Photo by @champagne_diamonds

Fabbrica Sicilian Garlic Soup (vegetarian) with roasted garlic, focaccia crouton and crisp sage. Instagram by @champagne_diamonds

ONE restaurant. Photo by @joyshen33

ONE restaurant. Instagram by @joyshen33