Michael Bonacini

The Informer

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See, Hear, Read: the seven releases you absolutely should not miss in February

See, Hear, Read: the seven releases you absolutely should not miss in February

Images: Witherspoon (courtesy Remstar); Harington (Getty Images)

1. Devil’s Knot

When Atom Egoyan rolls camera, even the most lurid stories feel like high art. His new movie, Devil’s Knot, tackles the sensational true-crime tale of the West Memphis Three, a trio of Arkansas teenagers accused of murdering three eight-year-old boys in a grisly satanic ritual. It’s Egoyan’s buzziest project yet, with a big budget ($15 million), big stars (Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth) and lots of pulp appeal. It’s also textbook Egoyan, a kind of spiritual sequel to The Sweet Hereafter that ruminates on the seismic impact of loss in a small town. Sure to earn awards-­season hype is Witherspoon, who sports feathered Farrah bangs as the bereaved mother of one of the victims. The getup is camp, but her performance—first hysterical, then ravaged—is a poignant picture of unfettered grief.

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The Dish

Food TV

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Masterchef Canada Recap, episode 2: “That’s one messy orgasm”

Masterchef Canada Contestants

 

Last week’s premiere of Masterchef Canada was in lockstep with the signature style of the franchise: hone in on emotional back stories, manufacture dramatic moments and, if there’s time, do some cooking. Naturally, episode two delivered more of the same, but with even more ridiculous behaviour from the local judges, who stayed true to their on-screen stereotypes: Alvin Leung, the unnecessarily cruel chef; Michael Bonacini, the overly-keen father-figure; and Claudio Aprile, the practical businessman.

Here, our rundown of the best and the worst of episode two.

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The Dish

Food TV

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Masterchef Canada Recap, episode 1: Don’t mess with the maniac in the collarless pantsuit

Masterchef

Watching the Canadian version of a popular American reality show inevitably provokes feelings of self-consciousness—if not profound embarrassment. It’s one thing to watch a semi-fictional-seeming celeb chef march around a sound stage blasting spittle on terrified strangers; it’s another to see an otherwise respectable local businessman do it.

Yet so it was on last night’s series premiere of Masterchef Canada, the show where skittish amateurs battle it out in a giant kitchen for the chance to win a suitcase of cash and a Lucite trophy. For the most part, judges Michael Bonacini, Claudio Aprile and Alvin Leung did a reasonable job of aping their U.S. counterparts, and the show looked and felt pretty similar to the version popularized by Gordon Ramsay—meaning any actual cookery took a backseat to overwrought sob stories, dramatic cuts-aways and other non-culinary shenanigans. Here, our rundown of episode one.

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The Dish

People

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Centro to celebrate its 25th year with a series of dinners cooked by illustrious alums

It’s only fitting that the birthday bash for a restaurant that describes itself as a spot for “international influential tastemakers, money-makers and scene stealers” would last for several months. To mark its 25th anniversary, Centro is holding an alumni dinner series, featuring seven of the chefs who’ve passed through the place’s doors since it opened. The series’ first instalment is this coming Monday and features Chris McDonald, now at Cava, who did a stint at the Cal-Ital temple in the ’80s. The pretty impressive list of other participating alums: Michael Bonacini (Oliver and Bonacini), Marc Thuet (Thuet Fine Foods), David Lee (Nota Bene), Bruce Woods (Modus), Frank Parhizgar (Frank’s Kitchen) and Jason Carter, who left Centro earlier this year. Check out Centro’s website for more details on the series.

The Informer

Random Stuff

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Weekend Reading List: top stories from our sister sites, from the debt of nations to male gyrations

Every weekend we round up the highlights from the other websites in the St. Joseph Media family. Check them out, after the jump.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Bannock, Oliver and Bonacini’s new café and restaurant at The Bay’s flagship store

Inside Bannock, the new collaboration between Oliver and Bonacini and HBC (Image: Renée Suen)

It’s no secret that Hudson’s Bay Co. has undergone some big changes in recent years. The retailer’s revitalization project at its Queen Street flagship store, in partnership with Compass Group Canada and Oliver and Bonacini, is the first move toward a national conversion of its food services. To that end, it’s opened up two new restaurants aimed at attracting an increasingly food-conscious public: Foodwares Market, a modern food hall on the lower level, and Bannock, a new restaurant and café at the corner of Queen and Bay.

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The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Deli Duel 2, Toronto Sketch Com-ageddon and six other events on our to-do list

Strawberries, Diamond Rings and Zane Caplansky

1. ST. LAWRENCE MARKET STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL (FREE!)
It’s berry season in Ontario, and St. Lawrence Market is celebrating with its annual strawberry-focused fest. The morning’s events are split between how-to sessions (making strawberry-mint jam with Bumpercrop, say, or a cooking demo with celeb chefs Massimo Capra and Michael Bonacini) and taste tests (chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate strawberry shortcake and strawberry lemonade). You really can’t go wrong. June 18. St. Lawrence Market, 92-95 Front St. E., stlawrencemarket.com.

2. NORTH BY NORTHEAST
In recent years, NXNE has really expanded its offerings to become something of a cultural event. (Hello, film fest and digital media conference.) But it’s also the same gigantic, new music-focused fest we’ve loved for the past 17 years—that would be the seven days and seven nights of shows and parties bit—with a lineup that includes Devo, The Pharcyde, Fucked Up, Diamond Rings, the Dum Dum Girls and Braids. To June 19. Five-day wristband $50; events at Yonge-Dundas Square free. Various locations, 416-863-6963, nxne.com.

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The Dish

People

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Five things we learned about O&B from Corey Mintz’s behind-the-scenes feature

With the recent announcement that Toronto’s ever-growing food service company Oliver and Bonacini Restaurants is set to make The Bay the city’s newest foodie destination with a string of in-store eateries, not long after adding food service at Muskoka’s Windermere House to its porfolio, one thing is clear: the O&B empire is officially taking over. In his recent Toronto Star feature on the corporation, Corey Mintz shadows the two men behind the company, Peter Oliver and Michael Bonacini, to find out what it takes to build an empire. (Mintz also published a “deleted scenes” post on his own blog.) Here are five things we learned.

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