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Events, Interview, Narratives Exclusives, Q&A

Follow Up: The Sights & Sounds from Taste of Toronto 2015

The Chef's Table chat with Michael Bonacini about successes (and failures), and how he finds balance in his hectic schedule (Photo: Mary Anne Terry)

The Chef’s Table chat with Michael Bonacini about successes (and failures), and how he finds balance in his hectic schedule (Photo: Mary Anne Terry)

A short post – in words – to follow up on the previous share about a few conversations I had the pleasure of hosting at the past weekend’s 2nd annual Taste of Toronto event.

For those who were unable to attend or catch the live broadcast with chefs Alvin Leung (R&D, Bo Innovation, Bo London), Victor Barry (Splendido), Michael Bonacini (Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants) and Eric Chong (R&D), there are a couple videos I was able to save that can be accessed through my YouTube channel.*

With R&D chef-owners, Alvin Leung and Eric Chong both of MasterChef Canada fame.

With R&D chef-owners, Alvin Leung and Eric Chong both of MasterChef Canada fame.

Sadly, there were some glitches in technology. For the first session with Alvin and Eric, I had connection issues that prevented recording of the first 4 minutes. However, we did chat about their non-traditional start in the kitchen and how their engineering training played a role to their successes (the meatier parts caught on camera). We also spoke about the influences behind the R&D concept, what tradition means, and also touched upon some MasterChef Canada questions that many of the attendees were curious on.

The Periscope caught interview with both Alvin Leung and Eric Chong here: video

Somehow the video with Victor Barry didn’t download. (I’m pretty bummed about this.) In the session we touched upon the slightly controversial move that Splendido had recently adopted of a pricey tasting menu only experience, and broke down the reason and economics of how it really is a value-driven deal. I know, no bias, that we had made some logical points and it is my hope that many of our table mates who hadn’t yet gone in to be pampered by the hardworking crew at one of my favourite Canadian restaurants will do so soon!

The third session was with Michael Bonacini (Periscoped here: video) delved into everything from his move and start in the business to how he helped his fledgling restaurant group blossom during the time of recession to one that now employs 1,400 people and spans across the country. Also, how he balances his role outside the kitchen managing a powerhouse, his work with MasterChef Canada, and life. Sadly, the broadcast was cut for about 30 seconds, so please pardon the slight break around the 6:13 mark.

Besides the chef sessions, there were demos, food vendors and other interactive bits. For galleries featuring those moments of the days I was at Taste of Toronto, please follow the links below. And it won’t be in vain. We did have a special man who graced us with his presence (if you’re familiar with a widely circulated version of Space Oddity, you might recognize Canada’s top astronaut himself, Col. Chris Hadfield!) at Pilsner Urquell‘s Keepers of the Craft session with Grant van Gameren who gave us a sneak peek of Bar Raval‘s new seafood bar.

As always, thanks for reading and for checking out all the adjacent materials.

* Please pardon the low quality of these videos. They were recorded from my iPhone 4s.

Here are some more scenes from this year’s event.

The official photos from Taste of Toronto 2015: Gallery
NB: half of those featured are by yours truly. It was a great afternoon documenting the ‘best of show’ judging, not just the food but all the people behind it (and the booths behind them!)

Flickr Gallery: Outtakes from Taste of Toronto 2015

About Renée Suen

Renée Suen is a food loving freelance writer and photographer based in Toronto. Her insatiable appetite, curiosity and camera are often found travelling around the world in search of memorable tastes and the stories behind the plate. In another life, she is a PhD candidate in Cardiovascular Sciences.


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