The roaring success of the MasterChef brand shows no signs of slowing down as the third season of MasterChef Canada hits the airwaves north of the 49th parallel.
A competitive cooking show with few boundaries no doubt draws inspiration from its creative predecessors, however any version of MasterChef is neither complete nor successful without a trio of wellrespected and renowned chefs. The set is “literally a pop-up, it gets built for the season and put in storage for the winter,” says judge Michael Bonacini. What has kept audiences coming back each year however, is the inspiration viewers get from the judges/chefs and home cooks. “It’s awe-inspiring,” Bonacini remarks
Celebrity chef Michael Bonacini is cofounder of one of Canada’s most successful fine-dining companies, Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants. The Tenby, South Wales native has developed a keen sense of food and business, deriving from having a North- Italian father and Welsh mother, who called on him as a youth to help run the family hotel business.
His parents can’t take all the credit though, Bonacini trained classically under Chef Anton Mosimann at London’s Dorchester Hotel before immigrating to Canada in 1985. His first venture with Peter Oliver (a New York-style bistro named Jump), sparked a 19-year relationship that has seen operations grow into à la carte, quick service, catering and more.
An author of three cookbooks and owner of more restaurants than one can count on their hands, Bonacini regularly appears on CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show and is the recipient of a 1996 Gold Award from the Ontario Hostelry Institute for contribution to culinary excellence in Ontario. Bonacini is not alone on MasterChef Canada in terms of accolades…
A STAR WITH MICHELIN STARS
Cue Alvin Leung, recognized by his bluestreaked hair and cross earrings, the selfproclaimed ‘Demon Chef’ began cooking in 2003 and has been a sensation ever since. Leung has changed the way people eat by single-handedly creating a new taste sensation that culinary experts and chefs rejoice over. Don’t let his dedication to the Toronto Maple Leafs fool you, Leung is a winner. Not only is he a professionally-trained engineer, his restaurant Bo Innovation has retained three Michelin stars for three straight years through 2015. Along with his other Michelin-star venture MIC Kitchen, Leung opened R&D (Rebel & Demon) with MasterChef Canada Season 1 Winner Eric Chong in 2015.
It wouldn’t be MasterChef Canada without Claudio Aprile, owner and creative force behind Orderfire Restaurant Group, which has been growing by leaps and bounds in Toronto with the acclaimed Origin brand restaurants. Aprile is true blue-collar chef, having spent his life working through the ranks in numerous kitchens around the world, which most chefs will say, starts with grinding away as a dishwasher. Each MasterChef Canada participant must learn in their time on the show, that hard work and dedication is the only way to become successful in the culinary world. “We throw them in every direction this season. It’s definitely a bumpy ride,” explains the Uruguayan. Over his illustrious 30+ year career, Aprile has earned remarkable reviews from his
establishments Bali Sugar in London, Senses (Toronto) and his first restaurant Colborne Lane (Toronto); regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Like Aprile, Bonacini and Leung, Season 3 home cooks must use their drive, determination and dedication to stave off elimination week-after-week. Though creativity and technique are always at the forefront, there are often equal parts luck and treachery popping-up. “We set the rules … and there’s nothing about fairness,” adds Leung. Whether through baking delectable desserts or surviving ‘Mystery Box’ challenges, as they say, “there can be only one MasterChef Canada.”
MasterChef Canada airs Sundays at 7 p.m.
ET on CTV and the CTV GO app
Article by Andrew Chapados