Celebrated chefs and restaurateurs Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung, and Claudio Aprile announced as judges for CTV's 'MasterChef Canada'
After an international search for the best Canadian chefs, the final trio of elite Canadians selected to judge the series includes debonair and renowned restaurateur Michael Bonacini, self-proclaimed ‘Demon Chef’ and international culinary superstar Alvin Leung, and charming creative force Claudio Aprile.
“MasterChef Canada” is coming to CTV winter 2014.
It was also announced today that Kraft has signed on as the premiere sponsor for all 15 episodes of the all-Canadian version of the hit culinary franchise. Additional details including the grand prize and roster of home cooks will be announced closer to the series premiere in winter 2014. Production continues in Toronto through October 2013.
The announcement comes as “MasterChef” finishes its fourth season on CTV as the #2 reality program of the summer with an average audience of 1.9 million viewers, behind only “The Amazing Race Canada.” With an audience increase of 15% from last season, the “MasterChef” finale leads into the premiere of “MasterChef Junior” this Friday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.
“We couldn’t be more excited to launch a uniquely Canadian edition of this hit international format featuring such talented judges,” said Phil King, President, CTV Programming and Sports. “These amazing chefs bring both local flavour and international flare to ‘MasterChef Canada.’”
“Canada is full of foodies who love to eat, cook, and create,” said Guy O’Sullivan, Executive Producer of ‘MasterChef Canada’ and President of Proper Television. “This show is the perfect platform to showcase all of the incredible talent that has been hiding in kitchens across the country. And having Michael, Alvin and Claudio here to mentor, teach and judge these home cooks is going to bring this show to a whole other level.”
About Michael Bonacini:
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. 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.
“I have accomplished so much in my years as a chef and entrepreneur, but to be a judge on ‘MasterChef Canada’ is an extraordinary opportunity that I am honoured to be a part of,” said Bonacini.
“I hope to gain as much as I can from this experience and learn from it just as much as the home cooks will.”
About Alvin Leung:
Alvin Leung, one of only two self-taught Michelin-starred chefs in the world, is a professionally trained engineer who takes a methodical approach to every dish he presents. As owner of the acclaimed modern Chinese restaurant Bo Innovation in Hong Kong and Bo London, England, Leung has single-handedly created a new taste sensation and established himself as one of the world’s top culinary innovators. His restaurants have wowed diners and critics by modernizing centuries-old traditional ingredients and recipes with modern techniques and flavours.
Born in London, England, Leung grew up in Scarborough, Ont. and remains a dedicated hockey fan and Toronto Maple Leaf supporter.
“Having grown up in Toronto, I am very grateful and proud to be returning home to join ‘MasterChef Canada,’” said Alvin Leung.” “I plan to teach and assist the home cooks, while giving them some tough love.”
About Claudio Aprile:
Owner of the growing Orderfire Restaurant Group including Toronto’s acclaimed Origin brand restaurants, Claudio Aprile was born in Uruguay and grew up in Toronto. Throughout his 30-year career, Aprile has passed through some of the most renowned kitchens around the globe including Bali Sugar in London, and Senses in Toronto. His first restaurant, Colborne Lane, has been lauded as one of the best restaurants in the world. Central to Aprile’s success is his dedication to creativity, and drive to expertly deliver the unexpected.
“I am most looking forward to mentoring the home cooks, and watching them grow in technique and skill,” said Aprile. “I am very grateful to be in a position, where I can now give back to my profession.”
It was also announced today that Kraft Canada is the premier sponsor of ‘MasterChef Canada.’ The sponsorship will deliver customized integrations that organically integrate Kraft Canada brands into the program. In turn, Kraft Canada will also produce a series of branded content pieces that will be inspired by dishes featured in the series. The Kraft brands and Kraft what’s cooking community of busy home cooks are the perfect alignment for “MasterChef Canada,” a series that rewards and showcases the home cook.
“It’s a match made in the kitchen… an opportunity to engage with Canadians across the country and touch their hearts, minds and tantalize their appetites,” said Kraft Canada’s Director of Media, Suzanne Ware. “Working with ‘MasterChef Canada’ was a natural fit for our many iconic brands and Kraft what’s cooking media properties, as we strive every day to deliver inspiring creative confidence in the kitchen.”
This first season of “MasterChef Canada” features the exciting, competitive challenges for which “MasterChef” is renowned. In one of the challenges, the home cook teams work against the clock to prepare a cheesy meal in the Kraft Food Truck Challenge. On Friday, Oct. 11, Toronto food lovers are invited to join the teams at Nathan Phillips Square to indulge in either an Italian or Mexican dish using KRAFT shredded cheese, and made in the tight quarters of one of the latest culinary crazes – a Food Truck.
“MasterChef Canada” provides an opportunity for Canadian amateur cooks to develop their culinary skills as they compete for the MasterChef Canada title. In keeping with the “MasterChef” format, contestants will face individual and team-based cooking challenges, resulting in home cooks being eliminated each week, until finally, Canada’s first-ever MasterChef is crowned. “MasterChef” is recognized as one of the most-successful primetime entertainment formats in the world. Now produced in over 40 countries, the series is watched in more than 200 territories worldwide.