All-Star Home Cooks
Chef and Restaurateur/MasterChef Canada Judge
November 25, 2014
Celebrity chef Michael Bonacini is the co-founder of one of Canada’s leading fine dining restaurant companies, Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants, operating 11 unique and innovative restaurants in Ontario. Born and raised in Tenby, South Wales, his North Italian father and Welsh mother both had a huge impact on their children’s culinary upbringing – his sister is also a chef. Bonacini spent his youth helping out with the family-run hotel business, where he learned the ins and outs of the hospitality industry.
Bonacini trained classically under Chef Anton Mosimann at London’s Dorchester Hotel, before immigrating to Canada in 1985 and partnering with veteran restaurateur Peter Oliver in 1993. His first restaurant collaboration with Oliver was a New York style bistro named Jump. Nineteen years later, their operations have grown to include à la carte dining, quick service, catering, group dining, and special events, as well as an artisan bakery and chocolate shop.
Bonacini was among the first chefs to showcase regional Canadian cuisine with his ground-breaking restaurant Canoe. In 1996, he was awarded the Ontario Hostelry Institute's first ever Gold Award in recognition of his significant contribution to culinary excellence in Ontario. He was the host of COOK LIKE A CHEF and has been a recurring guest chef on daytime talk shows including CTV’s THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW. Bonacini is also the host of the new four-part series 24 HOURS OF FOOD available on Fibe TV1, channel 1, and the Fibe TV app where he discovers and experiences the best places to eat in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. In 2010, Bonacini released his first cookbook, 3 Chefs: The Kitchen Men, a collaborative effort with fellow television chefs Massimo Capra and Jason Parsons.
Bonacini’s restaurants include Jump, Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Biff’s Bistro, Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill (four locations), Luma, O&B Canteen, Bannock, and the all-new America Restaurant (in collaboration with INK Entertainment). The company’s private dining and events division, Oliver & Bonacini Events, manages a number of large scale event facilities, including Malaparte at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto Region Board of Trade, Arcadian at Hudson’s Bay Queen Street, Windermere House on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka, and the Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto. Oliver & Bonacini credits its success to the development of a strong corporate culture, where excellence of food quality and service are valued above all else.
Judge Claudio Aprile
Judge Alvin Leung