Master Chef Mark McEwan Joins Aga Khan Museum

Toronto, November 9, 2015 – The Aga Khan Museum is pleased to welcome The McEwan Group as its new manager of food and beverage services. Effective immediately, Chef Mark McEwan leads the stunning Diwan at Aga Khan Museum, the casual Courtyard Café, and all catering for private events.

Director and CEO Henry Kim notes, “Both as a chef and as an entrepreneur, Mark McEwan has earned international respect. We’re thrilled that his vision will shape food services at the Museum, enriching the experience of all who visit here — whether to see an exhibition or to attend a special event.”

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Photographed by Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

North 44 and Bymark have long established Mark McEwan’s reputation in Canada and abroad as a master chef and culinary innovator. With ONEFabbricaMcEwan at The Shops at Don Mills — and, most recently, McEwan at TD Centre — he broadened his scope, moving from upscale dining to providing gourmet-to-go options for busy urbanites. Yet for McEwan, the Aga Khan Museum is his most exciting challenge to date. He is eager to expand his already extensive repertoire, infusing the cuisine of India, North Africa, and Middle East with his inimitable style.

“I’m up for the challenge,” says Chef Mark McEwan. “I’m never content to rest on past achievements. I’m looking forward to developing a new vocabulary, a distinctive fusion of traditional and contemporary cuisine that really reflects what the Aga Khan Museum is all about.”

At Diwan, McEwan will focus his talents on providing lunch service from Tuesday to Sunday, 11:30 am–2:30 pm. Both walk-up service and reservations (via Open Table) are available for individuals and small groups. A $35 prix fixe lunch menu for larger groups may be booked at 416.646.4677, ext. 7730.

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Photographed by Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

New Diwan Lunch Menu Highlights (for a full menu, click here.):
• Tempting Starters ($6–16), such as tender Grilled Octopus served with Green Chickpea Salad, Moroccan Olives, Sweet Stewed Peppers, Sujuk, and Aleppo Pepper Aioli;
• Innovative takes on sandwiches and burgers ($16–18), including Chicken Tikka Masala on Naan, served with pickled carrot, mint-cucumber raita, and mango chutney;
• Generous Mains ($19–24), featuring Crisp Manakeesh (a Braised Beef Short Rib with Pickled Shallots, Akkawi Cheese, and Charred Eggplant Spread); and
• A range of specialty coffees and teas — including an aromatic Moroccan Spiced Coffee, Orange Blossom “White Coffee,” and rich Indian Masala Chai.

In the evening, Diwan is open for special themed dinners and private events. Visit Aga Khan Museum for details about pre-show dinners for this season’s Arab Jazz Series. For information about private event catering, please email private.events@agakhanmuseum.org.

For press inquiries please contact:
Jackie Koffman, Holmes PR
jkoffman@holmespr.com
416.628.5608

Tasleem Somji, Aga Khan Museum
press@agakhanmuseum.org
416.858.8735

Melanie Hoefs, The McEwan Group
melanie@brandingandbuzzing.com
416.707.9136

A Dinner in Gairloch Gardens with Chef Mark McEwan

On Thursday, September 10th, 2015 Oakville Galleries & PCM – Project and Construction Management Inc. presented Botanica: A Dinner in Gairloch Gardens in support of Oakville Galleries. The evening featured a five-course meal prepared by our Chef Mark McEwan along with Executive Chef Andrew Ellerby, and ONE Restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine Darby Piquette & Pastry Chef Amy Tenn-Yuk. Dinner was paired with the exceptional wines from New Zealand’s Stoneleigh Vineyards.

Guests were served at a single communal table among the 15,000 blooms of Gairloch’s trellised rose garden, bringing together community members, artists and art enthusiasts under the open skies.

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Proceeds from the Dinner in Gairloch Gardens provided much-needed funds for accessible, high-quality educational and artistic programming in the Oakville community.

A special thank you to the following event partners Chubb Insurance Company of Canada, Forget Me Not FlowersThe Mermaid and the Oyster and more who helped make the dinner a success.

Scroll through the gallery below for a closer look at the enchanting evening.

 

[Photography credit: Corina V. Photography]

Our TOP 10 Instagrams for Summerlicious 2015

Summerlicious is an annual summer tradition and culinary celebration here in Toronto that we look forward to every year since its inception in 2003. During the month of July, our restaurants were bustling with hungry Torontonians who savoured over three-course seasonal prix-fixe menu offerings from each of our renowned properties.

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

Tuna tacos ☺️ A photo posted by Toronto X Markham (@cfooodie) on

Heirloom beets

A photo posted by Sally Chau-Li (@sallychauli) on

#saturdaylunchwith @artistess #shopsatdonmills #summerlicious #fabbrica A photo posted by Sinji Park (@sinjip0118) on

Salmon

A photo posted by @ashxxpark on

The most unique little pot of #tiramisu. #summerlicious

A photo posted by Selina Wang (@thisissyw) on

#Summerlicious 2015 is finally here!

Food lovers and restaurant goers rejoice, Summerlicious is finally here! Time to get out and explore Toronto’s diverse cuisine. 

The food festival began in 2003 with 35 participating restaurants and has grown to now more than 200! All of The McEwan Group restaurants look forward to coming up with new and interesting three-course prix fixe menus for Summerlicious that showcase some of their favourite dishes of the season.

To book your reservation, click on BymarkFabbricaNorth 44, or ONE Restaurant!

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We asked Missy Hui, Chef de Cuisine at Fabbrica “If you were to come into the restaurant and select the perfect meal from your Summerlicious menu, what would you choose?”

Lunch ~ $23

 Pork Terrine with Mustard and daily Pickle

 Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce, Basil & Burrata

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Prosecco Peaches

“The Gnocchi is a Fabbrica staple. Deliciously soft and perfect with Tomato and Burrata, while our Panna Cotta is incredibly light and refreshing. It has the perfect balance of richness.”

Dinner ~ $35

Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Mint, Basil, Ricotta Salata & 12 yr. old Balsamic

Bacon Chop with Rhubarb Agrodolce & Vincotto

Cannoli

“We like to keep things simple and fresh for summer at Fabbrica, The smoke and the salt of the Bacon Chop with Rhubarb Agrodolce & Vincotto is beautiful. Every time we plate one I’m tempted to eat it.”

Here’s a sneak peak of Fabbrica‘s exquisite Summerlicious dishes!

 

Elyx Chef Series ~ Absolut Darby

In 1995, Absolut collaborated with some of Canada’s most influential, up-and-coming chefs to create a series of unique Absolut-inspired dishes. Featuring the likes of Michael Bonacini, Paul Boehmer, Brad Long, Mark McEwan, Rob Feenie, Susur Lee, Christopher McDonald, Arpi Magyar and others, Absolut hand-selected culinary visionaries who have continued to shape the country’s food scene.

Twenty years later, they’re recreating the series by bringing their “alumni” chefs to select the next generation of up-and-comers who they believe will lead the country’s restaurant landscape in the years and decades to come.

Our very own Darby Piquette, Chef de Cuisine at One Restaurant in The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto was nominated for the Absolut Elyx Chef Series by his boss and mentor, Chef Mark McEwan. Absolut sat down with Darby to ask a few questions.

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Absolut: Tell us about the dish and cocktail pairing you created for the Absolut Elyx Chef Series. What was your inspiration?

Darby: I used a dish currently on the menu at One Restaurant, and switched it up a bit for the shoot. For the original Chef Series 20 years ago, Chef McEwan made an Ahi Tuna dish and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

My dish is seared yellowfin tuna belly with sweet pea falafel, Israeli couscous salad, mint, pomegranate yogurt, cumin vinaigrette and citrus butter sauce. It eats very light and healthy, and is a great summer option for our busy patio.

Absolut: How would you describe a successful approach to food and cocktail pairing?

Darby: I had ideas in mind about the cocktail pairing, and the direction in which I wanted to go, but I won’t lie, my knowledge of cocktails (other than opening a can of cider for myself) is limited. I focus on what’s happening in the kitchen and rely on our bar team to create cocktail pairings for the dishes.

For this shoot, I left the creation of the cocktail accompaniment in the hands of our talented bartender, Reuben Barkow of One Restaurant. Reuben knows the dish well, and came up with the Absolut Elyx Pom Fizz as a complement. The mixture of pomegranate, mint and lime with both the cocktail and tuna are a great mix and the acidity of lime juice and fizz of prosecco match very well with the fatty yellowfin ‘Toro’. Balance is important.

Absolut: How would you describe your overall cooking style or philosophy?

Darby: My overall cooking style is Continental. I love researching different cuisines, and learning how to incorporate their preparation methods and ingredients into my own dishes. My philosophy toward food is quite simple: Always have fun. Make food that makes people happy and let the ingredients shine. The simpler the better; it’s just food and drink, baby!

Absolut: What’s next for you? Do you have specific goals set for five, 10, or 20 years from now?

Darby: I’m not totally sure what’s next for me. I have always lived life second by second, never really planning too much into the future. I am too busy at the restaurant to carve out a fantasy life in front of me to work towards. I plan on working at the hotel and learning for as long as I can, and meeting as many people as I can before carrying out the thought of running away to the Caribbean to open a fried chicken and doughnut shop with my girlfriend!

Absolut: Chef Mark McEwan tells us why he nominated Darby for the Elyx Chef Series:

There is no harder working young man who loves food and his customers the way he does. ~ Chef Mark McEwan

ABSOLUT ELYX POM FIZZ 

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1 ½ oz. Absolut Elyx
2 oz. Prosecco
1 oz. Lime juice
1 oz. Simple syrup
2 oz. Pomegranate juice
Fresh Mint leaves for muddle and garnish
Fresh Pomegranate seeds

Muddle fresh mint, Absolut Elyx, lime and simple syrup. Add ice and pomegranate juice. Top with prosecco, fresh mint leaves and pomegranate juice. Serve in Collins glass.

ABSOLUT DARBY 

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Inspired by his mentor, Chef Mark McEwan’s original dish, Chef de Cuisine Darby Piquette opted to work with this seared yellowfin tuna belly. Absolut Darby features the tuna as the star, with sweet pea falafel, Israeli couscous salad, mint, pomegranate yogurt, cumin vinaigrette and citrus butter sauce. The lime juice and prosecco in an Absolut Elyx Pom Fizz cocktail provide a nice balance to the fatty yellowfin in Chef’s dish.

Read more about the Absolut Elyx Chef Series here.

Image credits: Absolut

What’s (NEW) on One Restaurant’s Menu?

As seasons change, so do menus, especially when you source local produce like One Restaurant does. With the takeover of Chef de Cuisine Darby Piquette, we’ve added 9 fresh items to our already-acclaimed dinner line-up. It’s not an easy process because when one’s added, often times another has to be ‘retired’.

“This menu is a compilation of ideas I had in my scrap book since I first started on garde manger at the restaurant. The ideas have been constantly changing for the better as I progressed through the restaurant. Creating food that satisfies the guests is important to my staff and I, it’s not just about throwing together a dish to make ourselves happy as chefs and cooks. With the help of Chef Andrew Ellerby, who has been one of my biggest inspirations since I first started working at One, I created my first menu.” –  Chef de Cuisine Darby Piquette

When asked what Chef Darby’s favourite dish was he responded with the Venison. Originally, it was an idea he had many years ago, scribbled into a moleskin notebook. He first tried cooking a variation of it for his girlfriend and family on her birthday. After gaining more experience in the kitchen, and now he considers the Venison as his favorite dish!

From Crop To Cup with Sloane Tea

In the past couple of years, drinking tea has become a sort of art form. With so many brands and flavours, it can start to get confusing! To keep up with this ever changing aspect of our industry The McEwan Group wanted to find the perfect tea list for Bymark, One and Fabbrica.

Enter Sloane Tea! Much like the McEwan Group of restaurants, they have a high regard for quality and beautiful presentation. Everything from their pyramid satchels that meet the need of consistency and the table-side Tea Sommelier chest create an elevated level of customer experience.

China Tea Ceremony

When speaking with Hoda Paripoush, Sloane Tea’s Director, I asked the one question that is probably the hardest to answer “what should people be looking for in a tea, what’s the best type of tea to drink?” and she answered brilliantly…”drink the tea that you love the most, because you will drink more of it and reap more of the benefits that the tea has to offer”.

Sloane Teas are affectionately referred to in the industry as “crop to cup”, meaning that the teas are based on a direct trade, having the shortest amount of time possible from the tea estate, where it is grown to the end user.

As an official Tea Sommelier (the first in North American to be accredited by both the American and Canadian institutions), Hoda helped each restaurant pick the right line up of teas based on the clientele’s preferences. But when looking at their entire line I asked Hoda what she would recommend for…

Relaxation?- The Rouge Provence is a completely caffeine-free and red rooibos-based, blended with French lavender and rose petals

Energy?- Sloane’s Heavenly Cream contains caffeine, it is a black tea with a smooth and robust flavour which is perfect in the morning of the early afternoon

Her Personal Preference?- The Earl Grey Classic and Heavenly Cream!

Heavenly Cream Signature Blend Black Tea

There are many factors that set Sloane Tea apart from other brands, the “crop to cup” philosophy, ensuring that there are no distributors or brokers means that the tea arrives and is ready for use within 3 months! It is also due to people like Hoda who spends a large amount of time at each of the tea gardens and the fact that she also trained in perfumery in France. This means that the teas are created based on the principles of perfumery which takes into consideration the top, heart and base notes of the ingredients.

The next time you pop in to Bymark, One or Fabbrica, make sure to grab a warm cup of Sloane Tea and taste the difference that their precision makes.

Here comes #Winterlicious 2015!

Winterlicious is an annual gastro tradition that we look forward to every year since its inception in 2003. 

All of the McEwan Group restaurants have always had a great time coming up with new and interesting menus for Winterlicious that show off some of their favourite dishes of the season.

This year it came down to the wire for Chef Darby Piquette. Darby took over as Chef de Cuisine of One Restaurant just before Christmas. After scouring over the past chefs choices for the menu, Darby made an “2 minutes left of the fourth quarter decision” and threw a Hail Mary. With the permission of the Winterlicious organizers, Darby switched the menus to reflect Darby’s new menu at One, which launched on January 8th.

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We asked Chef Darby “If you were to come into the restaurant and select the perfect meal from your menu for that time of day, what would you choose?” and below are his recommendations!

Lunch – $28

Crispy Pork Belly with Korean BBQ Sauce, Avocado, Nappa Slaw, Sesame Oil and Spiced Pork Crackling

Heirloom Squash Ravioli with Telaggio Creme, Pickled Pearl Onions, Pine Nut Brittle, Crisp Sage and Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Cirtus Pavolva with Fresh Berries and Passion Fruit Sorbet

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Short Ribs with Pomme Puree, Mirepoix, Crisp Onion, Horseradish and Natural Sauce

Dinner- $45

Scallop and Pork Belly with Korean BBQ Sauce, Avocado, Nappa Slaw, Sesame Oil and Spiced Pork Crackling

Short Ribs with Pomme Puree, Mirepoix, Crisp Onion, Horseradish and Natural Sauce

Dark Chocolate Cake with Caramel Chocolate Ganache, Hazelnut Brittle, Coffee Anglaise

Want to take a look at our other menus? Here’s a sneak peak at Bymark‘s featuring some of their regular menu items including Variegated Beet & Walnut Pesto Salad, Lightly Smoked Salmon and Chocolate Nut Tart.

To book your reservation, click on Bymark, Fabbrica, North 44, or One Restaurant

Staff Profile: Darby Piquette

As of December 22nd, 2014 Darby Piquette became the new Chef de Cuisine at One Restaurant. Having been there from opening day, in many different roles, he was the perfect candidate for the job. Congrats Darby on everything you have accomplished,

Head to One Restaurant to check out his first menu, which launched on January 8th, 2015.

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Name: Darby Joel Piquette

Birthdate: September 1, 1989

Hometown: Aurora, Ont

Culinary School Attended: George Brown–but I did not graduate. Learning hands on at a restaurant is much better than spending money to go to school to learn less.

Previous Restaurants:

Maunders Food Shop in Aurora. It was a small catering company, butcher shop, fish monger, and prepared food counter. I started there when I was 14 years old as a dishwasher working full time, washing dishes after school every day, and open to close on weekends. My Chef, Rob Lizotte, told me the faster I washed dishes, the sooner he would teach me how to cook. Within a year I was no longer a dishwasher, I was a prep cook. As I got older I took on much more responsibilities at the shop, learning as much as I could before going to school.

 Year You Began at One: Year 1

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

When I was a little boy, I would obsess over the Food Network. When I would get home from school, I would watch that channel all afternoon, and attempt to make dinner with mom when she got home from work.

What was your first meeting with Mark like?

Nerve wracking. I was only 18 years old when I met Chef. I knew a lot about him, and my roommate had gotten me an interview at the restaurant. I did my stage from open to close, and asked first thing the next morning if I could come work there again. By the end of the day I was a full time employee. I worked every station around the kitchen, full time, for long periods of time, learning as much as I could. And now I am the Chef de Cuisine.

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What are some of the more notable lessons you’ve learned working with Mark McEwan?

This afternoon he taught me a very important lesson. I am stressing out over the office, and the financial side of the restaurant now, as it’s my first time doing all this paperwork. Chef Mark told me “None of this really matters, the food cost, the labour, the office work. The most important thing in a restaurant is making sure that every single plate that leaves the kitchen is as close to perfection as we can possibly make it. Without clean plates and hot, tasty food, there is no satisfaction. And without satisfied guests, where would we be?”

What’s your favourite dish on your newly launched menu at One?

My venison dish … cocoa rubbed venison short loin, with seared foie gras, heirloom squash ravioli, wilted spinach, agro dulce cippolini onions, dark chocolate, fried sage, and a black currant veal jus. I first thought of this dish many years ago when I first started at the restaurant. I had the chance to test run it for my girlfriend’s birthday, Amy who is the Head Pastry Chef at One. And now I finally had the chance to put it on my first menu as the Chef of the restaurant.

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

100 % Fabbrica, without a question. When I was growing up in the restaurant industry, all the chefs and sous chefs at Fab were the senior staff at ONE. I wouldn’t be any where with out Al, Kovac, Le Clair, Gentile (BUCA), and especially Missy. Missy taught me everything about the Grill and Saucier station, which was the biggest challenge for me in the kitchen at the time. I owe you 1, actually more like 1 000 000 000 Missy!

 

#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.

Adrian Berg TweetEat N Mingle Tweet

[Photo credit: Jeffrey Chan]