One day in Toronto: MasterChef Canada judges Claudio Aprile and Michael Bonacini

The celebrated restaurateurs on their favourite food places in the city

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Photo credit: courtesy of CTV

Feel pretty confident about your cooking? So does the newest batch of contestants on the new season of MasterChef Canada. 

As two of the three judges on CTV’s MasterChef CanadaClaudio Aprile and Michael Bonacini have been critiquing and educating aspiring chefs since the show started back in 2014. Now in its fifth season, the two veteran chefs and restaurant owners have seen both great and gruesome on the show. 

Over the decades, both Michael Bonacini (co-founder of Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality, the leading restaurant and event group behind Canoe, Leña, and The Guild) and Claudio Aprile (chef and owner of Copetin Restaurant and Bar) have witnessed the evolution of Canada's dining scene. as well as the shift in the abilities of home cooks. 

“I think every year the cooks get more skilful. They understand the show much better, and they know how we respond to the cooks and their food. Certainly, we have seen an increase in the talent,” says Aprile.

So, when they're not judging home cook, where do the two dine for delicious food and drinks? Here are some of the places they visit for a food day in Toronto.

Breakfast and brunch

Claudio: Mildred’s Temple Kitchen does a fabulous job. It’s in Liberty Village. Leña, which is one of Michael’s restaurants, is really great. There are so many options right now.


Michael: Lunch for me is always something that is fast, efficient and easy. For lunch, I would go to a great little sandwich place like Terroni. I love the energy and their Italian food. I've never left feeling disappointed. They do a great espresso to wrap up my lunch and to boost the energy levels for the rest of the day.


Michael: Two places that I’ve recently visited really impressed me. One is Aloette, which has small Italian diner feel, but it has great energy. It’s very well executed from top to bottom and affordable in my opinion. Also, Dandylion has a very well thought-out menu that has enormous respect for ingredient, but doesn’t lack ambition, flavour and commitment to the craft. I have been there twice, and in both cases, I enjoyed it.


Claudio: The great old classic bars are fantastic for a good old classic cocktail. I love going for drinks to BarChef, it does an exceptional job if you are looking for something a little bit more unique, modernist and very unconventional.