Chef/Owner of North 44, Bymark, One, McEwan and Fabbrica. Author, star of The Heat and Head Judge of Top Chef Canada.
From his early years as Canada’s youngest ever, executive chef at Toronto’s upscale Sutton Place Hotel to his latest endeavor, trendy resto bar Fabbrica, Mark McEwan is never content to rest on his laurels.
Using food as the ultimate palate for his boundless creativity and energy, McEwan has led the restaurant scene in Toronto for many years. He joins the ranks of the truly innovative with groundbreaking Toronto standards from “North 44” to “Bymark” to the always interesting “ONE”, a staple for the “see and be seen” crowd in Yorkville. With “Fabbrica”, he has taken another turn and captivated customers with rustic Italian fare in a warm, yet contemporary setting at The Shops at Don Mills.
But, it doesn’t stop with dining -- in early 2009 he turned his attention to upscale gourmet food and opened McEwan at The Shops at Don Mills. Always attentive to the changing needs of the consumer, he created a jewel box of a grocery store that caters to foodies and chefs alike. His best selling cookbook “Great Food At Home” added author to his resume and he hasn’t stopped there. In late 2011 Mark, with the help of Jacob Richler once again wowed us with “Fabbrica” the cookbook based on the recipes featured in his latest restaurant.
Mark has also added television personality to his long list of talents and is currently the head judge on “Top Chef Canada”. His first show for The Food Network, “The Heat” was a riveting behind the scenes look at North 44 Caters as well as the building of McEwans grocery store - a ratings winner.
Mark’s cookware line by Fresco is sold nationally across Canada and with his chef’s stamp of approval for a high quality product in the kitchen.
And for the future … this Canadian “original” is rarely still and always innovative and “out of the box”.
There's nothing better than a sunny day spent outdoors cooking on the barbecue. On weekends, I often find myself at the cottage rummaging around the fridge for anything I can throw on the grill. And because there is less pomp and circumstance around meals based on the grill, you get more time to savour with your guests.
A great spring dish is grilled asparagus salad with morels. Early spring will give you a quick crop of things like baby lettuce, asparagus and strawberries. Wild mushrooms also come into play -- as soon as we get the warm rains in April, you'll find morels popping up in the woods, followed closely by chanterelles.
I love it when guests pop over unannounced, so I always keep some essentials on hand to make it look as though I was expecting them. Hard and Soft Cheese: Serving some cheeses on a small plate is the simplest way to impress.
Fall is also the time when southern hemisphere wineries release their current vintage. For example, crisp, vibrant whites from the 2014 vintage in New Zealand are already hitting shelves. These wines pair easily with a variety of fall dishes and are best enjoyed young to keep their fresh acidity, crispness, and fruit forward nature.
For red wine, open the bottle about an hour before your guests arrive so the wine can breathe, or serve it in a decanter. Either way, you won't have to worry about opening the bottle in front of your guests or any potential spills. Stoneleigh Pinot Noir is a great option for a medium-bodied red wine that is a real crowd-pleaser and a great match for many different types of food.