When I attended: May 6, 2014
I was one of the lucky ones chosen by blogger and event host Abbey Sharp (@abbeyskitchen) to attend the incredible event with 29 other Chef Mark McEwan fans and food lovers. The $60 ticket entitled us to an evening of delicious food and drinks at his gourmet grocery store McEwan at Shops at Don Mills, a swag bag valued over $45 and an opportunity to mingle with Chef McEwan.
What a great choice of venue to host the event. I had an opportunity to grocery shop and check out the stores large selection of cooked foods, grand flower selection and specialty oils and vinegars. I also picked up a copy of the Chef’s “Great Food at Home” cookbook which is now a special signed edition by the talented Chef.
The event was well organized and felt very relaxed and unintimidating, even with Chef McEwan amongst us. At the start of the evening, Abbey Sharp gathered the group together for a group question and answer period with Chef McEwan and guided us on what to expect during the evening. There were stations set up serving food and drinks, as well as servers serving tasty hor d’ourvres. At our own pace, we could sample each station and learn more about the products and food being served. I circled each station several times while catching up with friends, many who I have been chatting with on Twitter and finally put a face to a name. I also made new friends who share similar food passion and blogging.
Some of the highlights on the food front included delicious treats from Hot Bunzz (@hotbuzzTO), Von Doughnuts (@vonDooughnuts) and beef from PEI. Von Donoughts had dill pickle and creme brulee flavoured donuts, which were unique and my kind of flavours.
What made me drool all over was the oyster station. Oysters are one of my all time favourite things to eat ever and I had no shame hogging the station with my fellow oyster lovers. The Little Wing oysters from British Columbia were divine! I also thoroughly enjoyed Fabbrica’s famous ricotta gnocchi which looked like puffy pillows and were oh-so-tasty in the simple marinara sauce.
Now onto the most memorable part of my evening….meeting Chef McEwan!
As a huge fan of Chef McEwan from his restaurants to watching him on Food Network Canada, Chef McEwan is as charming, well spoken and well dressed as he appeared on TV. It was surreal! I arrived early and happen to bump into Chef McEwan, so it was nice to get his undivided attention before the event started and to sneak in my first picture with him.
I went to the event with the hope to not just quickly meet and take a picture with Chef McEwan but to actually chat with him. Luckily, I got to do just that. He was approachable, honest, funny and genuine. The hot news is that McEwan’s grocery store is looking to expand to a third location. On a personal front, one of Chef McEwan’s all time favourite food is caviar and he’d love to cook for Michelle Pfeiffer! She is one hot lady…meow!
When I got home to unwind, I couldn’t resist checking out our swag bag. We got TONS of goodies. I was particularly excited that we got the McEwan ice-pressed olive oil which I am saving for a special occasion. It has a beautiful purity and gorgeous olive essence.
If you are interested in attending next years event, be sure to follow The McEwan Group (@TheMcEwanGroup) and Abbey Sharp (@AbbeysKitchen) on Twitter. Good luck in being one of the chosen ones.
Now I can cross off my bucket list that I hung out with Chef Mark McEwan, how many people can say that?!