Last Monday, I was one of 20 fortunate foodies to be invited to #McEwanAllAccess 4.0 at One Restaurant in the Hazelton Hotel in Toronto. Hosted by Chef Mark McEwan and Michelle Jobin, this was an exclusive invite-only opportunity to “eat, meet and tweet” with fellow food lovers and Chef McEwan himself. Being a big fan of Chef McEwan’s restaurants and cooking style, I jumped at the opportunity to attend!
Chef McEwan operates four restaurants in Toronto, each of which has a reputation for excellence, innovation and quality ingredients; these include One, North 44, Bymark, and Fabbrica. He also runs a high-end grocery store, McEwan, in the Shops at Don Mills (one of my favourite places to shop!) and is opening a new shop in the TD Centre in April 2015. 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 (which got re-filled throughout the evening), 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:
- Pork Belly Steamed Buns, Pickled Carrot Slaw, Yuzu Aioli, Coriander
- Blue Crab and Avocado Spoons, Red Onion Marmalade, Sesame Seeds, Celery
- Crispy Shrimp Tacos, Red Pepper Jam, Pickled Shallots, Ginger Aioli
- Deviled Quail Eggs, Sturgeon Caviar, Chives, Sweet Pickled Shallot
- Steak Tartare, Arugula and Pickled Shallot, Black Truffle
- Truffled Arancini, Buffalo Mozzarella, Basil, 15 year old Balsamic
- Mushroom Risotto, Shaved Truffles
- Butter Poached Lobster
- Mini-Cheesecakes and Assorted Mini Doughnuts
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. I suppose that’s why Chef McEwan’s restaurants have such a great reputation and have stood the test of time. Trying to choose a favourite among all of the delicious bites is next to impossible, but if I had to choose, I might pick the pork belly buns, crispy shrimp tacos and butter poached lobster. Fortunately, I managed to get seconds (or thirds) of each of these! Sorry, I didn’t get any photos of the delicious lobster. In fact, due to the dim lighting in the lounge, it was hard to get any decent shots at all, so photo credits for all of the great photos in this blog go to Jeffrey Chan courtesy of The McEwan Group.
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.
Chef McEwan then sat down and personally signed copies of his book “Great Food at Home” and thanked everybody for coming. We all went home with a loot bag, which included a bottle of Stoneleigh Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. All in all, a fantastic evening of great food, drink and conversation. If you ever get a chance to check out One Restaurant, I highly recommend it.
Thanks to The McEwan Group, Chef Mark McEwan, Branding and Buzzing, and Michelle Jobin for a memorable experience!