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!



5 Tips To A Healthier You

As much as eating your veggies and exercising is important, it’s just as important to focus on your mental, emotional and spiritual health. You need to commit to a healthy lifestyle by making healthier choices one day at a time. While there isn’t really a magical formula to follow, these 5 tips can be a great place to start.

Balance Work & Play

With virtually 24 hour access to emails, many people can not seem to disconnect from their jobs. Be honest, do you wake up in the morning and check your emails before even getting out of bed? While work is important, your work and health suffers when you don’t make time for yourself. Make sure you maintain a good balance between work & play and make time to keep doing the things you love to do, if thats going for a bike ride, working out, watching movies, just keep enjoying your life.

Practice Yoga Daily

Yoga lowers blood pressure, improves strength and flexibility and perfects your posture. There is no better way to relieve stress than to devote yourself to your yoga practise. Yoga can also inspire you to become a more conscious eater. If you keep practising you will benefit from the following:

1. A deep mindfulness which will make your perceptions vivid.
2. A mental calm and wellness that will make you enjoy every waking moment.
3. A leaner body and better digestive ability requiring lesser food mass.
4. A lower pulse rate like athletes and a longer life with reduced aging.

Drink Water

Drinking six glasses (8 ounces each) of water a day helps people to feel full and as a result consume fewer calories. Drinking enough water maintains your body’s fluid balance to avoid dehydration and helps transport nutrients, regulates body temperature and digests food. Get in the habit of keeping a water bottle on hand where ever you go.

Treat Others with Kindness & Respect

We have all heard “Treat others the way you want them to treat you”. We should all live by this mantra because a habit of treating others with kindness and respect will make you feel good about yourself and will build strong relationships with the people around you. The power behind a kind word or a thoughtful gesture can go a long way and in turn may change someone else’s life.

Practice Mindfulness Eating

It’s not only about what you eat, it’s also about how much you eat. Your body will let you know when its had enough to sustain its nourishment. Consciously choosing smaller bites and chewing them well improves your digestion. Moderation is an essential component of mindful eating. Be in tune with your body’s messages and try eating slower, this will help you notice when you are feeling satisfied long before the bloated feeling sets in.

In short keep doing what you love, and try new things, meditate, go for a run, make a dinner date with your best friend and don’t worry about the occasional cheeseburger, no one is perfect and you may slip and revert back to your bad habits, but don’t let one setback hold you down because a healthy lifestyle is a daily choice.

Finally surround yourself with people who inspire you. What matters is a lifestyle pattern of enjoying healthier food, staying connected to others and keeping yourself moving.

Here’s to a healthier you!



Health Benefits Of Tea

Tea comes from the leaves of a flowering evergreen plant called Camelia Sinensis. There are four principal types of tea – black, green, white and oolong. All are from the same plant but the leaves are processed differently.

Tea contains enzymes that interact with the oxygen in the air when a leaf is broken or crushed. This reaction is called oxidation or fermentation, and it causes the leaf to darken and increases its caffeine level. Once the leaf is heated and dried the oxidation process stops.

BLACK TEA – is fully oxidized and dried and has a smooth taste. Most of the teas on the market use black tea such as Orange Pekoe, Earl Grey, English Breakfast etc. Generally you would add milk or lemon and a sweetener (sugar/honey) to black tea.

GREEN TEA – is unfermented tea. The leaves are quickly dried then heated and rolled, so it is not as processed as black tea. There is a great variety of green teas – some are light and mild tasting while others are grassy and vegetable tasting. You would not add milk to green tea. Green teas generally come from China or Japan.

OOLONG TEA – is a hybrid between black and green tea and is popular in China. The leaves are partly oxidized and some Oolongs are less fermented and more closely resemble green tea; other Oolongs are more fully oxidized and come closer to black tea. Generally you would not drink Oolong with milk or sugar – it has a strong flavour that holds its own.

WHITE TEA – has only recently become widely available and it is possibly the healthiest of all teas because it is the least processed. It’s picked before the leaf buds fully open, then it’s air dried or gently dried by steaming and that’s it. The buds are covered with fine white hair which gives the tea it’s white look. Like green tea, it is not fermented. White tea often has such a gentle flavour that it’s like drinking water. Now it is often blended with vanilla, spices and fruit flavours.

Herbals are a whole other ball game and some examples of herbal tea benefits are:

PEPPERMINT TEA is great for soothing an upset stomach and helping digestion. It is also good for killing mouth bacteria and giving you good breath.

GINGER TEA is great for aiding with nausea, motion-sickness, as well as digestion.

DANDELION TEA  is a great diuretic and also detoxifies the liver.

LICORICE TEA  contains valuable iron salts and is a good laxative. It is also said to fight stress and fatigue. It may not be good for people with high blood pressure.

CHAMOMILE TEA is supposed to help with insomnia. The natural mineral phosphates in chamomile tea help calm nervous energy. People also bathe in chamomile tea if they have a sunburn or rinse their hair with it if they are blonde…it’s supposed to give blonde hair a shine.

White Tea Boosts Stimulating Brain Waves
Even though white tea has the lowest level of caffeine of all the teas, it has the highest amount of L-theanine, an amino acid that perks you up naturally. L-theanine stimulates the production of alpha brain waves that makes you more focused and mentally alert.

Green Tea Protects Your Eyes
A study in the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry” says that Green Tea Protects your eyes. The Antioxidants in tea are absorbed by eye tissue helping to protect against glaucoma and other degenerative eye diseases. Since green tea has been proven to protect your heart and help prevent cancer, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is now testing green tea’s ability to fight Parkinson’s disease.

Black Tea Absorbs Heavy Metals
Fish is healthy and full of important omega – 3 fatty acids which help with everything from arthritis, to heart disease, to dementia. Were advised to eat fish twice a week but the problem is fish is also a source of mercury and other unhealthy heavy metals which are bad for the heart and blood vessels. Researchers at Perdue University did studies on tea and its ability to bind heavy metals like iron, lead and mercury. They found that the best inhibitor of mercury absorption in the stomach was BLACK TEA. Drinking Black Tea while you’re eating the fish  will help prevent up to 92% of mercury from entering your bloodstream.

Tea Tips 
The University of Iowa says that you can double the concentration of antioxidants if you dunk the tea bag up and down a few times instead fo letting it steep slowly. By the way, tea bags usually release more antioxidants than loose tea because the leaves are chopped up and there is more surface exposed to the water.

Never put milk in green tea. Green tea contains an antioxidant, EGCG and the casein protein in milk will bind with that and make it less effective. You can use soy or almond milk in tea which does not have casein.

The best thing to add to all teas is citrus. Squeezing lemon, lime or orange into tea increases the absorption of catechins by up to 80 %. Catechins are antioxidants that have lots of health benefits like shrinking belly-fat cells. The vitamin C in citrus stabilizes these antioxidants until they’re properly absorbed.

Join us for our traditional afternoon tea and enjoy a cup of your favourite tea!



Handmade Herb Gnocchi

This Dining Room Special melts in your mouth! Executive Chef Martin Buehner shares the Old Mill Toronto’s Handmade Gnocchi recipe for you to enjoy at home.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

1 Kg Russet Potatoes
250 g (approx 2 cups lightly packed) All-Purpose Flour
1/4 a Bunch each of Herb Thyme and Fresh Rosemary, chopped fine
3 Large Grade A Eggs 
1/4 a Bunch Curly Parsley, chopped fine
100 g (approx 2/3 cup) Parmesan Cheese (Grana Padano or Reggiano)
2 tbsp Kosher Salt  
1 Pinch Ground Black Pepper 

Method:

1. Bake Potatoes with Skin-on in oven @ 375F for approx 20-30 minutes, or until soft on the outside but slightly hard on the inside.
2. Weigh all ingredients. Set aside.
3. Cut Potatoes in half and remove Potato from the inside.
4. Pass through a food mill or fine chinois.
5. Add all ingredients and mix by hand until mixture is thoroughly combined.
6. Roll out about 1/4 of the mixture into a long thin snake-like tube, ensuring even all the way throughout.
7. Cut approx. 1 inch apart using bench scraper or knife. Pinch the middle of each side with fingers.
8. Blanch in hot boiling water, until Gnocchi begins to float.
9. Place on Baking sheet with parchmant paper and oil, Let cool. 

Pan-fry in butter until light-golden brown and serve au natural with a pinch of salt and pepper and chopped fine herbs or with your favourite sauce topped with good quality shredded parmesan cheese.

 



Reflexology

Reflexology

A hands-on treatment to promote vitality and well-being

The ancient Chinese practice of Reflexology is an alternative medicine involving a focused pressure technique to specific points/zones over the feet, hands, ears or face. Reflexology manipulates the body’s reflexes to signal a response in the nervous system which is related to to every organ, part and gland in the body. 

Reflexology works on a similar principle to acupuncture where the body is divided into twelve pairs of energy zones (meridians). Chinese Practitioners believe that when these energy channels become blocked a person feels unwell. Reflexology dissolves these blockages causing ill health and encourages the free-flow of energy through the body.

To reset the body’s equilibrium, the easiest way to interrupt the stress signal in the body is either through the hands or feet, thus these areas are the most popular to be treated as the feeling is said to be most relaxing.  Ancient tradition depicts massaging the feet as sacred, the soul to one’s good health.

The reflexologist applies pressure to specific areas in the hands, feet, and ears that affect certain reflex areas of the body. Imagine that there is a connection between zones of your feet and hands that represent certain areas of your body that can be adjusted or managed through these zones. These areas form a map that approximate to the body’s anatomy, some reflex areas overlap.  A professional Reflexologist applies the techniques systematically and thoroughly, to each area, providing further treatment to areas they consider to deem more attention. The degree of pressure used during the session is entirely up to the discretion of the patient.    

Unlike other types of manipulation or massage, no oils or creams are used, however if feet are a little damp, a light application of talcum powder assists.

Reflexology can help anyone at any age to relax and alleviate symptoms of certain disorders whilst improve the quality of life.  Anyone can benefit enormously from a session of this safe, non-evasive, yet powerful healing hands on therapy.  Although much of the research on reflexology has been criticized or cited as unprovable, thousands of years of tradition and reports of success speak rather loudly. That being said, reflexology should be considered as a complement treatment to formal medical care and not be construed as medical advice or a replacement for medical help or replacement of any medication.

One of the most well-known and verified benefits of reflexology is an improvement in circulation throughout the body, which means that blood and oxygen are being cycled through the body more effectively. This means more oxygen reaches vital organ systems, thereby optimizing their functioning and further increasing the metabolism. This also results in faster healing and re-growth of damaged cells.

Reflexology can increase metabolism and energy creation processes within the body. If you need a boost in energy or are always feeling sluggish, perhaps a reflexology session can help put some pep back in your step!



Aromatherapy

Power to treat each individual physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually

The art and science using plant oils for their therapeutic properties, treating medical and non-medical conditions or alignments in a truly holistic form either through massage, baths and inhalations. Oils are derived from natural sources such a seeds, flowers, fruit, peel, leaves, grass, roots, wood, bark and resins.

These natural plant oils are readily absorbed into the skin, our largest organ, providing a gentle physiological effect.  As a holistic practice, it is especially effective for stress release as well as an active method to employ during acute and chronic stages of illness or disease.

The popularity of Aromatherapy may have enjoyed recent boom, but the property of these essential oils have been appreciated for centuries to balance the body, mind and soul. The sensual, relaxing aroma of these fragrant oils will transport the person being massaged into the realm of bliss. Before commencing treatment, a complete assessment of lifestyle, eating habits and personal habits are taken into account. From that assessment, the blend is then prepared specific to treat their concerns/alignment therefore each blend is unique only for that individual.  It is very important that the scent also appeals to the olfactory tract, in order for the treatment to be fully appreciated. The two ways that oils safely penetrate the body is by smell/inhalation (through the nose) and absorption (through the skin). Smell by far, is the fastest way for essential oils to penetrate into the body.  Common examples include inhaling eucalyptus essential oil when you have a cough or inhaling peppermint essential oil to reduce fatigue or nausea. 

Essential oils are extremely potent/concentrated and should never be used directly onto the skin always blend them with a base oil such as Grapeseed, Coconut, Sesame, Jojoba, Almond, Olive or Sunflower.

The blend is worked into the body using a variety of techniques (can invigorate, stimulate, strengthen, tone, condition, relax, relieve, soothe, regulate, cleanse/detoxify).  While the aromas stimulate the emotional level, the gentle form of massage affects the lymphatic system.     

Aromatherapy is one of many alternative therapies which is increasingly finding acceptance as a complementary treatment that can go hand-in-hand with conventional medicine.  It cleanses negative energies both physically and mentally, may also work effectively in conjunction with other alternative therapies.



Let It Be GREEN

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Hotel guests of today are far more likely to be concerned about environmental issues such as recycling bottles, cans and paper at home as well as making greener lifestyle choices, such as organic food or fuel-efficient vehicles. As such, traveller’s today are concerned if their hotel is committed to environmental sustainability because travelling for leisure or business doesn’t mean we have to leave our green habits at home.

A “GREEN” hotel is an environmentally friendly property that take the initiative to implement very important practices and programs to reduce energy, water and waste. Hotels use an enormous amount of energy, collect an enormous amount of waste, and use a tremendous amount of water, it’s important that hotels embrace going GREEN and reduce the impact on our planet.

Ideas for going GREEN

Install thermostats & heating/air conditioning controllers in each room

Use non-toxic, earth friendly cleaning agents

Start a linen, towels and sheets, reuse program in all guest rooms

Implement fluorescent lighting. Use sensors /timers in frequently used areas

Switch to low flow toilets

Use low flow shower heads in guest rooms

Provide guests with bicycles, walking maps, information on public transportation

Apply window tint/film to reduce heating and air-conditioning demands in rooms

Educate staff & guests about going GREEN with brochures or signs for guests to follow

Use bulk soaps and toiletries (refillable dispensers)

Recycling baskets in all guest rooms, recycling bins in all public areas & back of house

Purchase Local Products 

Reduce food waste disposal

Implementing programs that involve management, employees, guests and the public to teach and encourage them to protect the environment and keep energy consumption to a minimum, hotels should create a ‘green team’ with the goal of continual improvement and scheduled re-evaluation and reporting.

The Old Mill Toronto has shown national industry leadership and commitment to protecting the environment through wide ranging policies & practices. We participate with the Green Key Eco-Rating program which is a rating system designed to recognize hotels for improving their environmental performance.



Valentine’s Day

Every year on February 14th, we exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with our special “valentine” all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and where did this tradition come from.

The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the ancient Roman holiday Lupercalia, where young men randomly chose the name of a young girl to escort to the festivities. Pope Gelasius I recast this pagan festival as a Christian feast day circa 496, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine’s Day.

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed “from your Valentine.” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure.

In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. 

In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year.

This year why not make a special hand-made Valentines Day Card for your Valentine.