Tuesday, May 27, 2014

McEwan's All Access foodie's sip and nibble.

photo by Linda Matarasso
I have been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to post anything about my evening recently attending Top Chef Canada head judge Mark McEwan's All Access 3.0 at McEwan's Grocery Store at the Shops at Don Mills.   Hosted by Abbey Sharp of Abbey's Kitchen.  A bunch of select foodies and bloggers were in attendance sampling donuts from Von Donuts, some excellent tender beef from Prince Edward County.  Mark McEwan's own pillows of love Gnocchi, Macarons from MAKARON, some amazing grilled cheese sandwiches and spring rolls, wine, specialty soaps and some Hot Bunz too.

photo McEwan group

Here's a photo from McEwan's Group website where you can see Top Chef Mark McEwan and me behind him and a bunch of other foodies listen to him talk about his experiences.  Chef Mark talked about how to make his excellent Gnoochi recipe and after giving everyone a chance to ask questions I spoke to him about my Food Revolution Day Workshop event the following week where I was planning on making potato Gnocchi but after tasting Chef Mark's Ricotta Gnocchi and speaking to him I decided to change it up and make them with Ricotta.  Chef Mark suggested that I should show my Workshop attendees how to make the Ricotta cheese from scratch and then make the ricotta gnocchi.   I made a batch of the ricotta cheese the day before but had a store bought on hand in case I failed.  I picked up Chef Mark's Rustic Italian cookbook and followed his recipe to make sure I had the right measurements for a recipe and then I doubled it up.   I made a huge mess in my kitchen but it worked out perfectly.  The next day I did the demo at the workshop and it was a lot less messy and it turned out great and everyone was amazed at how easy it really was.  I ended up using the store bought Ricotta cheese as a comparison to the freshly made one.   It was unanimous that the fresh one was 100% better.

 It was a fun night with people that all have a love of quality food and appreciated all the treats we sampled and we got to take home a goodie bag full of great stuff provided by Brands and Buzzing.

I am grateful for the excellent timing of this event even though I was exhausted from work and getting ready for my own event it was incredibly helpful chatting with Chef McEwan about tips for my gnocchi in my workshop and I provided recipes to the attendees so they can now all make their own Ricotta cheese and know how to make fresh gnocchi from scratch but there is always Fabbrica and McEwan's if they don't want to mess up their kitchens and still get the great quality Gnocchi.   I have to say that I have been to Fabbrica just after it first opened and had the gnocchi then and it was the best gnocchi I have ever had in a restaurant in Toronto.   The sauce is just the way I like it.   Classic simple Italian tomato sauce similar to the way I make mine.  I like to add a few chili flakes to mine but otherwise it's pretty much the same thing.

Besides the great food I got to meet fellow food bloggers and one that I have been communicating online with that I have never met face to face before.   So it was like a great cocktail party with friends.

I didn't get to sample the skull chocolates but I had to take a photo for a certain movie critic that I know who wears a skull ring.

I didn't have any wine but the rest of the food was really great.   I especially liked the grilled cheese and the beef.  Both melt in your mouth.

If you haven't visited McEwan's grocery store before because you thought it was too far away, you will be happy to know that he is opening another one in the TD Centre downtown soon.  The Bay streeters will be all over that place.

Thanks to Chef Mark and his team, Abbey Sharp and Brands and Buzzing for a fun event.  I hope there are more like it to come.

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