Memorable Meetings from Mark McEwan

TORONTO—Self-confessed buffet hater Mark McEwan has launched Meetings by McEwan at The Hazelton Hotel. The venture pairs the hotel’s luxury with the celebrity chef’s gourmet food. It also includes buffets he actually likes.

Chef Mark McEwan

Chef Mark McEwan

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By Colleen Isherwood,
editor

TORONTO—Self-confessed buffet hater Mark McEwan has launched
Meetings by McEwan at The Hazelton Hotel, a venture that pairs the hotel’s
luxury and attentive service with the celebrity chef’s
gourmet food.

The concept includes buffets with a difference—ones he
actually likes.

Less is more. Keep it simple. These watchwords, which McEwan
has applied to other ventures during a career that spans restaurants, retail
and celebrity chef/TV personality status, apply to the buffet, part of the program designed for
meetings, as well.

“I like the format of the buffet, but I don’t usually like
the food,” said McEwan at a lunch to introduce the concept to the media earlier today. “Here, we reflect the current menus in the restaurant. We have a nice balance
to the table and follow the seasons with our produce. The word, ‘buffet’, has a new
meaning—things are really fresh, they’re all hand made. The selections are a
very comfortable representation of the restaurant and we do it in a meeting
format.”

Items served at the June 5 lunch included tomato and
watermelon salad with feta, vin cotto and basil; heirloom carrot salad with
almond granola, avocado, horseradish, buffalo milk yogurt and shallot dressing;
sweet pea crostiniwith chopped egg and caciocavello; seared organic salmon with
du puy lentils, green apple, baby spinach and crème fraiche; ricotta gnocchi
with marinara and reggiano; assorted nigiri and sashimi with wasabi and ginger;
seasonal fruit, housemade cookies; with freshly brewed coffee, decaf and tea,
housemade lemonade and iced tea.

Meeting planners have a choice of gourmet power breakfasts
and working lunch options, along with unique coffee breaks that are included in
all meeting packages.  Meeting
rooms can accommodate up to 40 people. They include the 25-seat Hollywood-standard Silver Screening Room, The
Yorkville Room, The Neil Young Room (a private area at the back of ONE
Restaurant decorated with photos of the iconic singer/songwriter) and the
Executive Boardroom.

Seared organic salmon with du puy lentils

Seared organic salmon with du puy lentils

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Meeting profiles have changed in recent years, said Nancy
Munzar Kelly, general manager of the Hazelton Hotel. “The length is
shorter and often dinners are not included. Some hotels have signature chefs,
but usually they are very separate from the catering department. Mark and his
team use the same kitchen for the meetings, and it’s all designed at the level
all of Mark’s restaurants.

“The concept was introduced in April, and there’s been
tremendous excitement, especially among meeting planners who tend to book the
same rooms with the same food. The buffet is pleasing to the eye and in the
forefront of the Toronto restaurant/catering scene.”