Once summer hits, you can bet that Toronto caterers are hard at work dreaming up all sorts of innovative and seasonally-inspired culinary ideas to wow clients! The warm weather trends toward lighter, locally-inspired dishes that are both tasty and light, yet satisfying and distinctive. Sounds good, right? Below, we’re featuring fav dishes from some of the biggest names in the catering industry. Get your summer on with these tasty creations!

Summer Watermelon Salad

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Thinking about summer we always lean towards bright, local produce - showing them off in a simple and elegant way. Our Summer Watermelon Salad hits all the right notes: stunning local Tomatoes, Peppery Arugula, Cucumber, Radish, Greek Barrel Feta, Compressed Watermelon, Fresh Mint, and a Tangy Cider Vinaigrette. It’s become a summertime staple popping up on dinner tables across the city.

Photo of Toben Kochman
Toben KochmanCo-Owner & Chief Culinary Consultant

Mazeman Buddha Bowl

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When you think of summer food cravings, likely the last thing to come to mind is soup! We’ve changed all of that with our trending Mazeman Buddha Bowl - our take on a broth-less ramen, served cold, loaded with slurpable noodles and topped with an abundance of delicious ingredients including soy and sesame marinated steak or tofu, roasted nori, corn, carrots, cucumber, king oyster mushrooms, scallions, a soy cured egg, miso dressing and house made togarashi spice. Admittedly, at first, I was skeptical, but Chef Chris and our culinary team have exceeded my expectations with this fresh, new approach. It’s our summer umami bomb and we’re thrilled this dish is getting rave reviews on the daily!

Photo of Fia Pagnello
Fia PagnelloCEO

Arctic Char

with Spinach Mousse, Beluga Lentils, Pearl Onions, and Grilled Fennel

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Photo Courtesy of Bruce Gibson

When it comes to summer dishes, we've always got two words in mind: fresh & vibrant. Our goal is always to entice the senses before guests even take a bite, so presentation is always key. Our colourful Arctic Char with Spinach Mousse, Beluga Lentils, Pearl Onions, and Grilled Fennel is not just a treat for your taste buds, it brings the visual 'wow' factor too!

Photo of Sebastien Centner
Sebastien CentnerCreative Director

House-cured Canadian Gravadlax Salmon

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Our House-cured Canadian gravadlax salmon, complete with shaved fennel, citrus, Swedish mustard sauce, and crumbled herb crisps is one of our most popular summer specials. With a burst of fresh flavour in every bite and its bright beautiful colours, make it the perfect pick for a true summer celebration. We make sure every ingredient is sourced locally to bring an explosion of vibrant flavours that match the season, every time!

Photo of René Kramer
René KramerExecutive Chef & Vice President Culinary

Asian Glazed Cod

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Miso sweet potato, fermented black rice, ginger broccolini, lemongrass broth-
Sweet, savoury and salty making this the ultimate umami experience! McEwan Catering has taken a classic dish and elevated it into a plated meal for any special occasion. We’ve paired the cod with hearty Asian-inspired accompaniments making this the perfect summer meal.

Photo of Ann Stolte-Butler
Ann Stolte-ButlerDirector of Catering

Ube Pork Belly Sponge

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Jump into summer and change things up from your typical soup or salad starter with this trendy Ube Pork Belly Sponge. Take your guests on a culinary journey with its seasonal melon, chili, ube sponge, togarashi streusel, ninja radish, congee tuille, and red wine caviar. With its colourful plating and organic micro greens, the Ube Pork Belly Sponge is the picture-perfect summer starter to serve at your next event.

Photo of Jamie Naka
Jamie Naka Executive Chef

Pistachio Dusted Cumin & Turmeric Halibut

with Leek Risotto, Charred Orange , Carrot, Basil & Coconut Cream 

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Halibut is one of the go-to summer-season fish delicacies! There are many great ways to cook this flaky white fish with various recipes and spices. To elevate the flavour of this fish, I have seared the halibut and dusted with pistachio, cumin, and turmeric and included leek risotto, charred orange & carrots, basil & coconut cream giving a great addition to the dish.

Photo of Murali Thambi
Murali ThambiExecutive Chef & Co-Owner

TASTE Poke Bowls

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Nothing says summer like fresh ingredients, and the TASTE Poke Bowls are absolutely filled with them. Whether you choose salmon or tuna, your taste buds will be jumping while enjoying this fresh summer dish!

Photo of Kathy Woodgate
Kathy WoodgateOwner & Founder

Grilled octopus

with Guajillo Pepper Romesco, New Potato and Charred Radicchio with Orange, Chimichurri, Candied Black Olive and Mint.

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Our grilled octopus is the perfect summer dish: it's bright, herbaceous, and citrusy with the perfect amount of heat from the guajillo pepper romesco. We delicately steam the octopus with citrus, fresh herbs, and fennel, then marinade the octopus with lemon, olive oil, and garlic in the fridge overnight. Once chilled, we grill it over charcoal before topping it with chimichurri, candied black olive, and mint. The octopus speaks for itself, we help it along with bright flavours that pack a lot of punch! We're biased but we think this is the unofficial dish of summer.

Photo of Kevin Castonguay
Kevin CastonguayExecutive Chef

Grilled Summer Squash Salad

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Grilled Ontario vegetables marinated in fresh farmers-market herbs, EVOO, locally sourced Ovino Feta cheese, and Homemade Balsamic Reduction. This colourful dish screams summer time! We let the simplicity of the ingredients and the grill do the talking.

Photo of Tim Pentz
Tim PentzExecutive Chef

Seared Scallop

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We’ve been experimenting in the kitchen by layering variations of a single ingredient and combining them all together. Here, we have our take on Seared Scallop complete with strong late summer vibes! Giving tribute to Ontario’s Corn Harvest, we’ve transformed this seasonal ingredient into a silky crème, a charred kernel, and a popped kernel and then married it with some beautiful Canadian-farmed Scallops. By adding a fresh herb chimichurri, we were able to incorporate some acidity to the dish that plays off the corn and scallops richness, producing a more complex flavour.

Photo of Karen O’Connor
Karen O’ConnorExecutive Pastry Chef

Cola-Glazed Heirloom Carrots

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A true reflection of our belief that plant-based cuisine is far from safe and predictable! This dish uses a year-round staple, enhanced by a variety of textures and flavours for summer. Cola-glazed heirloom carrots are roasted and caramelized to perfection, sitting on a bed of cashew crema with tamarind, dill and poppy seeds. Created by our partners, Rosalinda, this vibrant plate is vegan, gluten-free, fun and approachable, brought together by earthy notes and bright, creative fare.

Photo of Michael Robertson
Michael RobertsonCorporate Chef

Compressed Watermelon Margarita

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Refreshing and vibrant, our Compressed Watermelon Margarita is the in-demand treat for Summer. Fresh flavours of candied ginger, lime gelée, and lemon balm complement the crisp watermelon. A kick of Margarita surely quenches your thirst and makes this bite-sized appetizer the ultimate seasonal favourite.

Photo of Rick Rowe
Rick RowePresident

Grazing Tables

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Summer is flying by and we are busier than ever! Our grazing tables are as popular as ever, often being geared to offer more options for both vegans or vegetarians. There are so many great vegan cheese options being pared with our vegan/vegetarian hors d’oeuvres. The colours, textures and flavours are great for a backyard party or a beautiful wedding cocktail reception.

Photo of Jonathan Preskow
Jonathan PreskowCEO & Executive Chef

Are there any Toronto caterers you’d like to see featured in an upcoming article? Let us know in the comments section below!