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Kalmar says goodbye to a ‘magical, beautiful place’

Old Mill Toronto owner Michael Kalmar says goodbye to ‘a magical, beautiful place’

Party held to celebrate outgoing president and VP; new owner Frank De Luca promises a ‘seamless transition’

Old Mill Toronto is under new management. A reception was held in former owner Michael Kalmar’s honour Thursday evening to celebrate his 24-year contribution to the Toronto landmark. He is pictured here, at left, with new owner, Frank De Luca, a long time Etobicoke resident.

Family, friends and colleagues gathered Wednesday evening at the Old Mill Toronto for a final farewell party to bid adieu to its president Michael Kalmar and VP of finance Blain Parsons after more than two decades owning and operating the century-old landmark.

The iconic restaurant, hotel and banquet complex on the bank of the Humber River has been sold to a property management group directed by Frank De Luca, a long-time Etobicoke resident.

There was lots of reminiscing at the reception, held in the Old Mill’s Guildhall Room, July 23, that featured none other than acrobatics, even a mime, who welcomed celebrants at the hotel’s front entrance.

Those closest to Kalmar wouldn’t expect anything less to celebrate a man who is described as the life of the party.

“It’s better than a wedding,” Kalmar quipped, “because I know everyone here.”

After partaking in appetizers and beverages, guests were treated to a trip down memory lane through stories shared by Kalmar and Parsons’ long time friends and coworkers, as well as Kalmar’s son.

Natalie Bauer, Old Mill Toronto’s director of marketing, communications and events, called Kalmar a “fabulous leader, an extraordinary person, who I think is quite awesome.”

“I’m sad because when I think of the Old Mill, I’ll think of you. You’re one of the best mentors I’ve ever had,” Bauer said.

Catering manager Helen Weech expressed her mock frustration at Kalmar’s departure.

“I was supposed to retire before you,” she pretended to scold.

Wheech recalled when her office was situated directly below Kalmar’s and all the times she had to bang on the ceiling because it sounded like he was having a party. At the podium, Weech told of Parsons’ John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever impersonation, which garnered laughter from her audience.

Kalmar’s son, Lorne, took a turn behind the microphone to share memories and express gratitude and pride for his father.

“I grew up here, running around. We consider this a second home,” Lorne said of the Old Mill, standing beside his two sisters, Rachel and Alana. “Even if it took our dad away from us a bit, he made up for it with free buffet food.”

He added, “This is quite emotional. I’m so grateful for all you’ve done. I’m so proud of you, dad.”

The Old Mill’s heritage and its integrity will remain, vowed new owner De Luca, who celebrated Wednesday evening, but chose not to speak, making sure the spotlight remained on Karlmar and Parsons.

De Luca stressed the change of ownership will be a “seamless transition” in a statement.

Recalling his many years with the mill, Parsons said, “It’s been a rewarding and wonderful journey.”

“I can honestly say, every morning when I came in here, I felt refreshed, invigorated. It’s a magical, beautiful place,” he said.

Where does one begin when trying to say thank you and goodbye, mused Kalmar, as he expressed his appreciation for the Old Mill’s management and staff. Kalmar paid tribute to its founder, Robert Home Smith, and his predecessor William Hodgson. He didn’t get emotional until acknowledging his late father, George “GK” Kalmar, with whom he purchased the Old Mill, in 1991. The duo would go on to expand the Old Mill to include a spa and hotel.

By Lisa Rainford 



It’s Business As Usual

   

  It’s Business As Usual At The Historic Old Mill Toronto
Now Under New Ownership

After 24 years owning and operating the century-old landmark Old Mill Toronto, Lark Hospitality President Michael Kalmar has announced sale of the iconic restaurant, hotel and banquet complex to a respected asset and property management group directed by Frank De Luca, long-time resident of Etobicoke.

Expressing mixed emotions at now “ending this chapter in the century-long ancestry of the Old Mill Toronto”, Kalmar cited “three distinctive elements functioning in harmonious collaboration over the past hundred years to bring this cherished aspect of our city’s cultural life to the international prominence it enjoys today:

“At the forefront were the visionaries, risk-takers, and entrepreneurs who guided growth and transformation of the ever- evolving complex throughout its existence – founder Robert Home Smith, followed by the dynamic William Hodgson, and latterly, George and Michael Kalmar, the father/son team who orchestrated the addition of a boutique hotel and spa in 2001, and established the Home Smith Bar which has become one of the city’s most popular jazz venues.

“Of primary importance, too, has been the generations of dedicated staff who have personified the value and importance of customer service as a guiding principle of Old Mill policies from our earliest beginnings.  And our loyal customers, a multi-generational roster who have enjoyed, and helped create the century of memorable experiences that enrich our history.”

Commenting on acquisition of the Old Mill Toronto and plans for its continuing operations,  principal Frank De Luca affirmed that it will be a “seamless transition”.  It will continue to be operated with respect for the establishment’s colorful heritage and a commitment to maintaining  the integrity of its current standing in the local, national, and global communities.  The vision for the future will reflect its celebrated history as a centre for the community.

For The Old Mill Toronto, contact:

Natalie Bauer – natalie.bauer@oldmilltoronto.ca      

Adam De Luca – adam.deluca@oldmilltoronto.ca



Chocolate Espresso Mousse Recipe

Chocolate Espresso Mousse 

Try this easy-to-follow chocolate Espresso Mousse recipe straight of the press from our Pastry Chef Hayley. This delicious dessert is so impressive your guests won’t think you had time to make it yourself!

500ml (2 cups) 35% Whipping cream

454g (1lb) Dark Chocolate (not cookie style chocolate chips)

3 Eggs

1/4 cup White Sugar

50ml (3tbsp) Espresso or 2tbsp instant coffee

 

1. Using an electric mixer, or a hand whisk, whip the cream to soft peak stage. (Whipped but still slightly soft). Set aside in refrigerator.

2. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate with the espresso/instant coffee until smooth and lump free.

3. Using electric mixer or hand mixer, whip eggs with sugar until they are light and fluffy.

4. Add melted chocolate to whipped eggs and mix until smooth. The mixture will deflate slightly with the addition of the melted chocolate.

5. Gently fold in the whipped cream by hand using a spatula until it is smooth and no lumps of whipped cream remain.

6. Pour into desired vessels (glasses, ramekins etc.) and chill in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours before serving. (looks cute pipes into small teacups)

ENJOY!



“Festival Within The Festival”

“For the fourth consecutive year, the Home Smith Bar’s ‘Festival Within The Festival’ was one of the runaway hits of the 10-day TD Toronto Jazz Festival annual extravaganza, with tickets for all four concerts in the Home Smith Series sold out well ahead of the first performance.

Once again produced by veteran Toronto event manager Fay Olson who has held responsibility for jazz project development and performer booking at the Old Mill Toronto for nearly a decade, the 2015 Home Smith Bar ‘Festival Within The Festival’ fielded another four-night spectacular, offering music lovers the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with vocal royalty Heather Bambrick and Jackie Richardson, trombone giant and music director Russ Little’s all-star Quartet (Tom Szczesniak on piano, Scott Alexander on bass, Brian Barlow on drums), and guesting music luminaries who joined the stellar troupe in an all-new show nightly.

Ultimate entertainer Heather Bambrick — multiple award-winning vocalist, highly-rated JAZZ.FM91 on-air host, and one-third of the smash hit ‘Broadsway’ ensemble — got things off to a sizzling start June 19 with musical BFF Amy Cervini in from New York to add her vocal superiority to the series launch.  Juno-nominated songstress Amy McConnell joined the featured guest line-up for another unforgettable performance June 20. 

 

Canada’s reigning queen of jazz, blues, and gospel Jackie Richardson‘s spellbinding musical talent, her dynamic personality, and, of course, some of her own multi-talented musical compatriots climaxed the closing weekend of the ‘Festival Within The Festival’. Affectionately known as ‘The Girls’ over decades at the forefront of the Toronto studio and broadcast scene, Colina Phillips and Sharon Lee Williams tore it up June 26.   Former member of ‘The Nylons’ and award-winning recording artist/composer Micah Barnes wrapped it all up in memorable style June 27. 

While the ‘Festival Within The Festival’ may be over for another year, the ‘Year ‘Round Jazz Festival’ at the Home Smith Bar continues non-stop, 52 weeks a year, presenting the best of the best jazz singers and instrumentalists on today’s jazz scene in the charming intimacy of the Home Smith Bar.  And in the meantime, stay tuned for the Toronto Downtown Jazz Society’s announcement of plans for the 30th edition of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival in June of 2016.  You can be sure planning for the Home Smith Bar’s role in this important international jazz showpiece won’t be far behind.

Photo Credit Don Vickery



Corporate Culinary Experience

 

Corporate planners, event organizers and attendees are looking for more of a culinary experience, rather than your traditional “meal”.  Creating menus that provide the elusive balance of tantalizing flavors and exquisite presentation will lend subtle elegance and impeccable style to your next event.

Hors d’oeuvres are presented with more of an artist’s eye and a social conscience. Healthy, clean eating is fast becoming a popular choice in menus, it’s not just about the vegetarians or special dietary requests anymore, now it’s main stream.

Food stations are a great way to give people variety and get guests mingling and while creative menu items are important, don’t underestimate the power of presentation. Unusual food presentations can make an indelible impression on guests and enhance their overall event experience considerably.

Check out some unique food presentation ideas on pinterest.

Themes are more popular these days so consider adding sparkle and glitz to your next event with a farm to table theme by bringing people together to enjoy local food from local farmers and prepared by local chefs who are experts in bringing the freshest ingredients to the table in creative and unique ways. 

Wine Pairings and chef’s tasting menus and let’s not forget delicious craft beers served with a tapas style menu can bring a certain flair depending on your group size of course.

Events that have ethnic-specific themes allow event planners and the executive chef to work together to bring region-specific and international foods into your event, and this will definitely please guests. Common ethnic catering includes the following:

  • Asian/Chinese/Japanese
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Mexican
  • Middle Eastern

As with all event meal planning, it is critical for an event planner to find out if any of the guests have a special dietary restrictions such as food allergies, so that the catering manager can address those needs prior to the event. 

When you make the organizational experts at the Old Mill Toronto an integral part of your planning team, and utilize their event planning tips, you can be confident that together, we will accomplish your every objective for a successful event.



Wedding Decor Trends

Congratulations you got engaged, now on to the good stuff! 

Couples are keen on infusing their ceremonies and receptions with personality — their own. And while you want your guests to have lots of fun, you still want your wedding to be elegant and romantic no matter how grand or intimate the affair.  The decor or theme of your wedding should reflect who you are as a couple, achieving an overall personal and unique feel based on your tastes. Your individuality will come together in the details.  

The reception sets the scene, it’s when families meet and the atmosphere begins. In fact, the atmosphere set at the reception will continue for the rest of the day. Hungry guests never equate to a happy atmosphere, so it’s a good idea to serve hot and cold canapés, choosing from a wide selection of items, with high visual impact and lip smacking taste. 

 The top three trends for wedding decor…  

Vintage - this Victorian influx of stylish details brings to mind afternoon tea and garden parties (think Downton Abbey). For this look, dining al fresco is a popular choice. Tables are often left uncovered or simply adorned with a vintage lace cloth. Lush garlands get turned into runners and loosely styled floral centerpieces hang from above.  The standard Victorian flower is the rose, but other flowers such as pansies, hyacinths, tulips, and stephanotis evoke similar romantic emotions. Think chandeliers, vintage plates, white-wash vintage vanities.  Look on pinterest for some Romantic Vintage Table Settings.

Modern luxe - At the opposite corner of the inspiration board is a more sophisticated interpretation of romance. Brides who covet sleek style will gravitate toward clean color palettes with bolder accents. Think varying shades of white or ivory with a burst of poppy red, or black-and-white with a punch of emerald green. Modern doesn’t have to mean minimalistic.  Square dining tables, clear “ghost” chairs, geometric place settings, monogrammed napkins and sculptured floral arrangements help set a sophisticated tone for the evening.

Eclectic elegance - Falling somewhere between the above interpretations of romance is a resurgence of the grand wedding. “Many 2015 weddings, saw the return to classic elegance,” says Allyson Levine of Bob Gail Special Events in Los Angeles. That means formal tablescapes, butler service, candelabras and other soft lighting, dramatic cakes, lavish fabrics and formal floral arrangements. The eclectic element comes into play when couples choose to take their formal affair outside for a twilight party; opt for a gilded evening with lots of glittering blush-gold touches; replace centerpieces with champagne towers; or surprise guests with a midnight arrival of an ice-cream truck parked curbside.

Couples are rewriting the predictable pattern of a “traditional” wedding day, shunning routine for the chance to throw in unexpected elements designed to stop everyone in their tracks and create a memorable moment. Food wise this means weird yet wonderful flavour combinations (coffee-rubbed meats), live-action food theatre (oyster shucking stations), lavish self-service bars (jugs of fruit purees and magnums of Champagne) and show stopping canapé platters (with their own lighting). 

Sweet treats as a parting gesture – just when your guests turn to leave they are presented with something wonderful to eat on their way out. A cup of warm milk with a cookie, a shot of espresso and some Turkish delight, hot chocolate with mint marshmallows, a sweet treat from the late-night candy bar… Proof that you’ve thought of them right to the last moment!

Our wedding planners offer you personalized service to guide you in making the planning of your most important day as simple as saying “I do”.



Old Mill BBQ Sauce Recipe

Want to take your BBQ to the next level! Learn how to prepare this delicious Old Mill Toronto BBQ sauce recipe and you will WOW your BBQ guests. This Sauce is good on Chicken, Ribs, Burgers and Steak, just about anything you can grill.

BBQ Sauce

Yield: 2 Liters

Ingredients:

Tomato Ketchup  1 Liter
White Onion (medium dice)  1 Large
Brown Sugar  250 grams
Worcestershire Sauce  1/3 Cup
White Balsamic Vinegar  1/3 Cup
Water  2 Cups
Onion Powder  6 tbsp.
Mustard Powder  ½  Cup
Garlic Powder  ¼  Cup
Cayenne Pepper  2 tbsp.
Salt & Pepper  (to taste)
Liquid Smoke 1/4 tsp.

Procedure:

  1. Heat medium saucepan with Oil, add white onion and sweat until soft.
  2. Begin by adding all the spices and continue to sweat.
  3. Once the spices and onions have been fully incorporated and sweat until completely soft, add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Using a whisk, incorporate all ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Bring liquid to a simmer and continue to cook for an hour.
  6. Using hand blender or high speed mixer, blend until completely smooth.

ENJOY!



BIOEFFECT EGF SERUM

 

BioEffect is the next big anti-aging serum because it contains EGF: Epidermal Growth Factor, ‘a substance which occurs naturally in human skin and which has the ability to speed up the rate of cell turnover within the skin.’  This miracle serum took ten years to research and only contains nine ingredients.  Two of the scientists for BioEffect won a Nobel Prize for their research, only the most outstanding scientific discoveries receive a Nobel prize – this is pretty serious stuff!

Product Ingredients
Glycerine, Aqua, Calcium chloride, Sodium hyaluronate, Tromethamine, Hordeum vulgare seed extract, Alcohol (less than 0.9%), Sodium chloride, EGF (Transgenic barley sh-oligopeptide-1)

The BIOEFFECT skin care products are the world’s first skincare products to contain cellular activators made in plants. Using patent pending biotechnology, the cellular activators are naturally forged in barley seeds. The barley seeds are grown in volcanic pumice and watered with pure Icelandic spring water in state-of-the-art greenhouses in Iceland, using renewable underground volcanic energy for heating and lighting. Such green biotechnology bypasses the risk of including bacterial endotoxins or potential human infectious agents associated with conventional production in bacteria or animal cell culture systems.      

Testimonials on BIOEFFECT EGF SERUM   

Developed in collaboration with leading specialists in biochemistry and dermatology, the BIOEFFECT EGF SERUM and BIOEFFECT DAYTIME bring youthful glow and radiance to even the most stressed or sensitive skin.

BIOEFFECT skin care products replenish, nourish and repair the look of ageing skin. The Spa at the Old Mill currently has a BIOEFFECT Special - With your purchase of the BIOEFFECT EGF Serum (15 ml) receive a travel size of the EGF Serum (3ml), Daytime Moisturizer (7ml), and a luxury travel case FREE

Posted in Spa


Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial

It’s called an oxygen facial – a non-surgical, no-botox method that plumps up and firms the skin, reduces or removes wrinkles and makes your skin glow.

What do Madonna, Kim Kardashian, Justin Timberlake, Victoria Beckham and a ton of other stars have in common?, they are all followers of Intraceuticals oxygen facial treatments.

Intraceuticals is the only brand to offer a treatment with a serum specially formulated to be infused deep into the skin with oxygen under pressure. Intraceuticals treatments are immediate, and you can see the effects within 24 hours of the treatment. The effects are also cumulative so their is lasting long-term benefits.

The intraceutical oxygen-infusion process begins with a thorough cleansing. Then a combination of hyaluronic acid is applied along with a vitamin combination of A, E, C, green tea and Aloe Vera – nothing abrasive or harsh.

There is an oxygen massage that follows – tiny puffs of pure oxygen help the creams get deep into several layers of the skin so the results are longer-lasting.

View this video for evidence

Three treatments are available:

Rejuvenate: To hydrate, lift and tighten. The pressurized oxygen stimulates the absorption of Rejuvenate serum and naturally improves moisture levels of the skin while vitamins and antioxidants protect and defend. The combination of lightweight Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamins A, C and E and green tea instantly smooth the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, restoring volume and firming. The treatment promotes the production of natural collagen and elastin. 

Opulence:To brighten, balance and smooth. The Opulence treatment helps reduce hyper-pigmentation and lightens blemishes, scars and blemishes. Katy Perry, who has long battled with acne, swears by this treatment.  

Atoxelene: To clear, refine and calm. Atoxelene is a replacement to injections. Say farewell to fine lines around the eyes and lips. 

It takes about an hour and is available at the Old Mill Spa in Toronto. In addition, there is a skincare collection of Intraceuticals Rejuvenate + Boosters that come complementary and prolong the effects of the oxygen treatment.

Posted in Spa


What’s Cooler than COOLA

Coola is a mineral sunscreen that can be found at the Spa at Old Mill Toronto. Mind you it’s hard to keep on the shelves these days as this product is simply amazing and ideal for all skin types and tones, including those that are especially sensitive. Ditch the heavy foundations and powders this summer and try a tinted moisturizer instead, your skin will thank you for it!

Benefits

Keep the sun and environment at bay with this SPF 20 broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen, a tinted, light Rose scented, Titanium Dioxide based formula (for those who are Zinc sensitive) made with 98% natural ingredients. Organic Acai Oil – high in Omegas-3/6/9, Vitamins B1/2/3, plus antioxidant Vitamins C and E – delivers a powerful defense against aging. Organic Sunflower Seed Extract promotes elasticity while organic Linseed Oil, containing Alpha-Linolenic Acids, reduces redness and irritation. The phyto-protector Plankton Extract rejuvenates, as organic Cucumber Extract calms skin.

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Paraben Free
  • Ultra Sheer
  • Antioxidant Enriched
  • Water Resistant (40 minutes)
  • No nano-sized particles

Organic Ingredients
Cucumber Fruit Extract
Glycerin
Linseed Seed Oil
Orange Fruit Water
Safflower Seed Oil
Sunflower Seed Extract

COOLA’s Farm to Face approach describes their sourcing methods for local organic ingredients. They believe in sourcing many of their ingredients and vendors locally to promote communities and jobs as well as to cut down on shipping costs both financially and environmentally. In addition, they can use their platform to encourage and sustain local and organic farming! (And we think that’s pretty COOLA!)

BENEFITS OF BUYING LOCAL

 So…is there anything you can do to promote your local community as well as get healthy, nutritious produce? YES! You can buy your produce locally in your own community. By making these purchases you are selecting to choose local, traceable, eco-friendly, and natural food, which is better for you, your family, and the environment. Some other benefits include higher nutritional value, better taste, and a smaller carbon footprint.

Where to find local produce in your neighborhood 

  •     Natural, whole food markets and organic food stores
  •     A Share Program (or CSA- Community Supported Agriculture)
  •     Farmer’s Markets
  •    In your own garden!

Give your skin an immediate line-smoothing finish and fight signs of aging caused by the sun with this antioxidant-infused Farm to Face® sourced broad spectrum SPF mineral sunscreen.