Oyster Nights At Bymark

Whether meeting with colleagues afterwork or socializing with friends, Bymark‘s Oyster Nights are the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Every Tuesday at Bymark, from 3-7pm, enjoy 6 shucks for 12 bucks. Think your crowd might be thirsty too? Opt for a crisp round of $6 prosecco or $6 vodka shots to pair with your oysters. So leave the office early on Tuesdays and come rejoice in this refreshing delicacy from the sea with us.

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Make your reservation at Bymark HERE.

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!

 

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.

Making Your Mark ~ Rob Gentile

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 Rob Gentile from Buca.

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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 I get to do what I love.  It’s very satisfying to make people happy through good food and I enjoy the ongoing challenge to learn more and get better each and every day.

To be honest I don’t have anything bad to say, I love every part of it!

How do you know when a recipe’s right?

With recipes and chefs in general is that just when we think we have it right, we second guess ourselves and ask “how can we make it better?” The truth is that a recipe is never perfect, it comes down to personal preference. What matters most is the guest’s experience and if they think it’s perfect, then we have done our job.

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

At Buca we have been very fortunate with good reviews but when there are negative comments it’s important to always remain positive and never let them affect the team. Negative reviews should always be used as a learning tool to determine why a guest is unhappy and what we can do to improve our hospitality so that everyone who walks through the door has an exceptional experience.

Nowadays, everyone has a voice through social media so if we ever discover an unhappy guest, we always respond or invite them back so that we can have an opportunity to change their perception.  It’s surprising how the tone changes from negative to a positive one.

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

Food has always been exciting and will continue to be.  As long as we exist we will always love good food so when someone can cook really well by creating unique and tasty dishes, they are considered somewhat of a superhero. Restaurants and Chefs all over the world are continuously presenting more interesting and amazing things to eat, as a result they are driving the “restaurant experience” to new levels. People are excited, they can’t help themselves.  We will always be drawn towards food,  it’s a beautiful thing.

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How do you think your stint at The McEwan Group has helped you in your career?

Working for Chef Mark McEwan was an incredible learning experience, it instilled the drive and sense of professionalism that I have today. Watching Mark constantly strive to improve and expect the best from his team is something I really absorbed as a young cook. I carry that same determination with me and every day I encourage my own team to be better, a constant reminder that we never stop learning as chefs.

Bymark Gets a Pop Art Makeover by Claire Hall

Claire Hall, a name you will be hearing a lot more of in the future if you haven’t already!

Claire Hall

The 31 year old is a Burlington, Ontario native and is on the forefront of the custom art scene in Toronto. She is young, talented, outgoing and does not stick to one genre of art, which made her an easy pick for Mark McEwan when he wanted to commission someone to make his vision a reality while undertaking renovations at Bymark.

When Mark McEwan approached Claire about having some solid wooden blocks painted in a pop art format, Claire came to the restaurant armed with her mock ups and to everyone’s surprise, Mark replied- “that is better than I could’ve imagined”. We all know Mark as a tough judge, so with this exclamation, everyone in the room was blown away. Within mere minutes he also hired her to paint the slatted wall in the east side of the lounge.

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The wooden cubes, in their original form have been a fixture at the Bymark bar since it’s opening 11 years ago. Yabu Pushelberg’s  design choice of using the architectural pieces was to soften the space and bring in natural elements to the downtown core’s concrete jungle. But as we know, Mark tends to push the envelope when it comes to his artistic vision. With the rest of the restaurant getting a face-lift, a custom paint job on the cubes, which many may have walked past without noticing before, gave him the opportunity to bring a brightness to the space.

Before and After

“Some people will love them and some will think I am crazy, but it is art and it is meant to provoke a conversation,” says Mark.

You can spend years searching for a piece that you have envisioned or you can have it created to your specifications and that is exactly what he did.

For more information about Claire Hall, please visit her website and make your décor decisions easy ones!