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
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
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
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
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
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.
ABBEY SHARP, RD