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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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?

Sweet as a Pickle: Art at One Restaurant

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An extremely talented photographer and director, Ellen von Unwerth was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1954. After working in front of the camera as a model for many years, Ellen switched sides and focused her attention on photography. Known for specializing in erotic femininity, her photos are extremely provocative and have gained her notoriety world wide. She now shoots for major publications and independently.

Unwerth was catapulted into the public eye after her work in the 1990′s for GUESS Jeans, working with Claudia Schiffer and the late Anna Nicole Smith. She has also shot album promoshoots for Janet Jackson and Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Rihanna and Beyonce!

In the main bar area at One Restaurant in Yorkville, you will find some of her amazing work. When Mark approached Izzy from Izzy Gallery he had mentioned that he wanted something to adorn the walls of the lounge that would “pack a punch”, something that would make the guests of the restaurant “scratch their heads” and catch their eyes.

The first piece that he picked out was the “Bienvenue Los Angeles” shot, it wasn’t until even he looked closer that Mark realized that it was not the model’s tongue sticking out, but that it was in fact a pick a pickle!

Ellen- Bienvenue Los Angeles
At that point, Mark was sold, and in fact also picked “The Mask” and an extremely sexy shot of Penelope Cruz as well!
ArtworkThe photos have created quite a buzz over the years and have become the topic of many conversations, which is exactly what Mark and Izzy set out to do!

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

Moments with Mark: 2006

National Post

For this “Moments with Mark” we decided to ask him about life in 2006, which was a busy year from soccer to social media.  It was the year of déjà vu in theatres. Many movies debuted the second or third installment of their franchise. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Ice Age: The Meltdown, X-Men: Last Man Standing and Mission Impossible 3 all did well at the box office…

What is your favourite move franchise?

It would have to be James Bond, but really beginning with Casino Royale, I think the Daniel Craig is one of, if not the best Bond!

Casino Royale

In 2006, the World Cup was held in Italy…will you be tuning in to this year’s games from Brazil?

Of course, I will definitely keep my eye on it. I don’t have one team in particular that I through myself behind, but the overall excitement is electric. My favourite part is watching the fans in the stands, there are a lot of “die-hards” out there!

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Tiger Woods took home the title of the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 2006, you are a big fan of downhill skiing, do you think that Tiger and Lindsey Vonn are a good match?

I sure do, she doesn’t seem like the type of person to take shit from anyone, least of all him. I bet they have a fun, competitive relationship…but if I was to give Tiger any advice it would be to not double cross this one!

Stephen Harper was sworn in as the 22nd Prime Minister that year.  Do you have any advice as everyone heads to the polls for the provincial and mayoral elections?

I really think that balancing the budgets is the key to winning me over in an election. I don’t want to hear a bunch of promises that no one intends to keep. Show me some action that is good for everyone, not just a small demographic.

Twitter launched on July 15th of that year. How active are you on social media?

I think it is a great way to connect with guests, fans and clients. It doesn’t take much, just a simple note here and there from time to time to make a big impact. But all of this technology does scare me!

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#McEwanAllAccess 3.0 Wrap-Up

On May 6th, 30 hungry foodies gathered at McEwan for #McEwanAllAccess, an exclusive invite-only meet, eat and tweet session with Celebrity Chef, Mark McEwan.

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Hosted by Food and Nutrition Expert Abbey Sharp of Abbey’s Kitchen, guests had the chance to sip and savour delicious food prepared by McEwan’s Executive Chef Shen Ousmand and from our sponsors, Hot BunzzItaca ProsciuttoVON Doughnuts, Makaron, Vineland Estates wine and Beau’s All Natural Beer.

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There was plenty of time to pose for selfies with Mark himself.

We also saw lots of photos of the craveworthy spread shared with fans and followers online, all while chatting up a storm.

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Once satiated, the group gathered for an intimate Q & A session, where Mark divulged exclusive details of his future store expansion plans, his most memorable Top Chef meals, his favourite McEwan restaurant dish and so much more.

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Before calling it a night, the foodies indulged in a few last Von Doughnuts, shopped the store at 10% off, purchased signed copies of Mark’s cookbook, and went home compliments of Hailo with a fabulous swag bag, great memories, and a ton of insta-pics.

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Didn’t get an invite to this round? Be sure to keep you eye on our Blog, and @Chef_MarkMcEwan‘s Twitter to be the first in on #McEwanAllAccess 4.0.

[Photo credit: Jeffrey Chan]

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.

Matt Beasley: #1 at ONE

How long does it take to go from line cook to Top Chef at ONE?  We sat down with Matt Beasley to get answers.

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Matt Beasley

What advice would you give to young chefs?

Work in the best kitchen you can as early as you can.  It is extremely important to learn how to do things the right way at the beginning of your career.

Where did you grow up?

Hamilton

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

The importance of making the guest happy is a big one.  If we can do it for the guest, we will.  I think it is one of the reasons why Chef Mark has such a huge following.  I’ve also learned that food doesn’t have to be over complicated in order to be successful.  A simple dish with all its components prepared properly can go a long way.

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

I was in University studying criminology.  I found that I was spending more time in the kitchen than I was in class or studying.  Once the school year was finished I decided I wanted to cook professionally.

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

I don’t think that there is one particular personality needed to work here.  The cooks that have the most success here are the ones that have a good attitude simply want to do what is necessary to succeed in this industry.  They come in every day and grind it out on the line, and no matter what is thrown at them, they show up the next day ready to do it all over again.

What was your first meeting with Mark like?

It’s all kind of a blur.  To say that I was nervous would be a huge understatement.  I remember not wanting to say anything stupid, but I’m pretty sure I just stood there and said “yes chef”.

What is the best part about being a dad? 

No matter what happens in my day, at work or otherwise, it all melts away the second I see my daughters face.

What is the most important bit of advice you have ever been given? 

My parents always taught me the importance of working hard.  Having that drilled into me growing up has helped me so much throughout my career.

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

It would have to be Bymark.  We are really busy at ONE in the summer, but the lunch service at Bymark is legendary.  They do huge numbers in a very short period of time, and I often wonder what running that service would be like.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you want to do be doing? 

Before I started cooking, all I wanted to do was be a police officer like my dad.  I love what I do, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else, but my dad has saved lives.  No matter how good my food is, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top what my dad did during his time on the force.