Last Monday, I was one of 20 fortunate folks to be invited to #McEwanAllAccess 4.0 at One Restaurant in the Hazelton Hotel in Toronto. Hosted by Chef Mark McEwan, this was an invite-only opportunity to eat and mingle with fellow food and wine lovers and Chef McEwan himself.
Chef McEwan operates four restaurants in Toronto, each of which has a reputation for excellence and quality, including One, North 44, Bymark, and one of my favourites in the city, Fabbrica. He also runs a high-end grocery store, McEwan, with locations at the Shops at Don Mills and the TD Centre. He is perhaps most widely known to Canadians, however, as the Head Judge on Top Chef Canada.
As soon as I arrived, Chef McEwan was there greeting us and making us feel welcome. There were special cocktails available for us, but instead I chose a glass of one of the featured wines, Pinot Noir from Stoneleigh Vineyards – an excellent start to the evening.
Shortly after arriving, we were treated to an assortment of delicious bite-sized offerings, including: Blue Crab and Avocado Spoons, Red Onion Marmalade, Sesame Seeds, Celery; Crispy Shrimp Tacos, Red Pepper Jam, Pickled Shallots, Ginger Aioli; Truffled Arancini, Buffalo Mozzarella, Basil, 15 year old Balsamic; Mushroom Risotto, Shaved Truffles; and much more – all paired with wines from Stoneleigh Vineyards.
All I can say is wow… each and every bite was balanced, packed full of flavour, and straight out delicious! I was amazed that one could get such flavour consistently in every single bite. But that’s why Chef McEwan’s restaurants have such a great reputation and have stood the test of time.
Chef McEwan circulated throughout the evening taking time to chat with all of his guests, while we enjoyed the delicious food and compared notes on the food scene in Toronto. Before the evening was over, we were served mini assorted cheesecake bites and an assortment of warm doughnuts. Lots of photos and selfies were taken too!
Chef McEwan sat down and personally signed complementary copies of his book “Great Food at Home” and thanked everybody individually for coming. We all took home a complimentary bottle of Stoneleigh Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. All in all, a fantastic evening of food, drink and conversation with new foodie friends.
If you haven’t had a chance to eat at one of Chef McEwan’s restaurants yet, I’d recommend Fabbrica for Italian (the margherita pizza is my favourite) or if you’re into burgers, the burger at Bymark is expensive but legendary in the city. And you can’t go wrong with after work bites and sips on the patio at One in Yorkville.
Thanks to The McEwan Group, Chef Mark McEwan, Branding and Buzzing, and Michelle Jobin for a memorable experience! Photo credits: Jeffrey Chan.