Award-winning chef Michael Ewing creates unique Nordic Fusion Menu for Sihtkapital/NEFC Gala (6)
Michael Ewing, a twenty-five year veteran of the culinary art industry, began a classical apprenticeship at Westin Hotels at the tender age of 15. Working in many of Toronto’s top restaurants and catering companies, Michael draws upon many years of expertise and artistry to excel at his latest post as Executive Chef at both the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex and for all Liberty Entertainment Group properties (among them Rosewater Supper Club, Rosewater Room, Live@Courthouse, Liberty Grand, about the ecconomic challenges facing Estonia in light of the recent global finacial crisisC Lounge, Casa Loma, Lakeside Eats, & Splash). Following his apprenticeship, Michael worked in various capacities to perfect his skills with notable establishments including: Winston’s, the Royal York Hotel, the Windsor Arms Hotel, and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
There is also an Estonian connection. Michael, along with Estonian spouse Lisa Dixon, can often be found at the Estonian House on Saturday mornings, where son Dylan is enrolled in his final year of Estonian kindergarten. This past summer, Michael also found time to join other parents, to help ready the barracks and grounds of children’s summer camp Jõekääru, where Dylan and daughter Tristan were enrolled.
Since Michael is not one to openly boast about his achievements, many in the Toronto Estonian community are not aware of his rising star. Few know that in 1988, at the age of 23, he was promoted to Restaurant Chef at the prestigious 3 Small Rooms at the Windsor Arms Hotel under noted chef Michael Bonacini. Shortly after that Ewing moved to Skydome in 1990, assisting as Executive Sous Chef and Chef De Cuisine at the launch of the Founder’s Club. In 1994, after a stint at Centro’s Wine Bar with renowned chef Marc Thuet, Michael assumed the role of Executive Chef at Acqua. A yearning for his hotel industry roots returned him to supervise a staff of 120 as Executive Sous Chef at the Royal York Hotel, producing 4,000 to 6,000 meals a day for nine hotel restaurant outlets and thirty-four banquet and meeting rooms.
Michael is also an educator and frequently conducts seminars and classes at George Brown College and Humber College. Many protégés have been inspired over the years to follow his lead in kitchens of food and hospitality icons such as the Royal York Hotel and Windsor Arms Hotel. Among his peers, Michael has attained much notoriety, particularly in 1988 when he won the Gold medal at the coveted Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany.
Whether cooking for Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth or Tom Cruise, donating time and energy to developing chefs of tomorrow, or attaining international acclaim and award-winning excellence, Michael Ewing remains a devoted, passionate and talented credit to his craft.
His culinary philosophy is simple, “Buy the best product, keep it simple, concentrate on flavour.” His culinary style is 21st century.
The upscale menu at the November 8 NEFC Gala is a dream for the senses, best described as “Nordic Fusion” with a nod to Estonian cuisine. Hors d’oeuvres include clever arrangements such as: prawn shooter vodka tomato coulis, cauliflower pannacotta topped with salmon caviar, caramelized onion Lappe grilled cheese, apple cappucino with lingonberry swirl as well as roasted select sausage and blood sausage with sauerkraut, to name a few. The dinner menu continues this odyssey, with Nordic accent of beet cured salmon gravlox, supplemented with roasted autumn butternut squash bisque, culminating with herb roasted striploin of beef. The attention to detail will be evident with desserts: Northern Spy apple galette, golden raisin and almond butterscotch and caramel ice cream, and vanilla sabayon. But we must not spoil the culinary surprises in store for those attending the Gala. The fare at the Foundation fund-raiser will be one-of-a-kind, the likes of which will likely not be seen for a while in Toronto.
Make a point to come and enjoy Michael’s work for yourself by attending the National Estonian Foundation of Canada Gala in person!
Note: Gala tickets are still available for the November 8 event. Please contact the Foundation office today at 416-465-5600. Single or couple tickets may be purchased in advance or you may reserve tables of 8-10. It will not be possible to purchase tickets at the door. Tickets are $250 and a tax receipt will be issued for half of the ticket price. Many other surprises are planned for the Gala, which Foundation staff will share with you when you call.