This session is 19+
Celebrity chef Michael Bonacini is the co-founder of Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality, one of Canada’s leading restaurant and event groups. With locations in Toronto, Montreal, Saskatoon, Calgary and beyond, O&B’s diverse portfolio currently includes a collection of unique and innovative restaurants, event spaces, a bakery, and several strategic partnerships. 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. Today their operations have grown to include à la carte dining, quick service, catering, and private dining, with restaurants and event venues across four provinces.
Bonacini was among the first chefs to showcase regional Canadian cuisine with his groundbreaking 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. In 2010, Michael released his first cookbook, 3 Chefs: The Kitchen Men, a collaborative effort with fellow television chefs Massimo Capra and Jason Parsons. Since 2014, Michael has served as a judge on CTV’S MasterChef Canada. In 2019, he was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Michael’s Toronto restaurants include Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Jump, Biff’s Bistro, Leña, Sap, Babel and Maison Selby, just to name a few. Beyond Ontario, O&B’s portfolio features The Guild, Sub Rosa and Buffo in Calgary; Braven, Kindred and Alchemy in Edmonton; Bar George in Montreal; and Drift, Bar Sofia and Café Lunette in Halifax. The company’s private dining and events division 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, The Carlu, the Le Mount Stephen hotel in Montreal, the Hudson event complex in Calgary. Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality credits its success to the development of a strong corporate culture, where excellence of food quality and service are valued above all else.