TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - As the most successful reality series in Canadian history ends its first season, CTV announced today the start of production and judges for the first-ever 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. 27 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.
**Media Note** Download artwork for MASTERCHEF CANADA at http://bellmediapr.ca/Network/CTV/Masterchef-Canada
"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.
President of Proper Television, Guy O'Sullivan executive produces MASTERCHEF CANADA, along with Proper's Vice-President and Creative Director Cathie James. Shine America's Paul Franklin along with Judy Smart are Creative Consultants. Robin Johnston is the CTV Production Executive. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. Mike Cosentino is Senior Vice-President, Programming, CTV Networks. Phil King is President, CTV Programming and Sports.
About Bell Media Independent Production
Bell Media has commissioned some of Canada's most-watched and most-acclaimed original programming, working with the best Canadian independent producers in the country. Hit CTV series include ratings success stories SAVING HOPE, THE LISTENER, MOTIVE, the #1 new Canadian scripted series of the 2012/13 season, and THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, the record-breaking, Canadian-produced complementary version of the hit international series. CTV is also home to relationship comedy SATISFACTION, and premiering in the 2013/14 season are drama series PLAYED, multi-cam office comedy SPUN OUT, and hit international format MASTERCHEF CANADA. Among the scripted series on Bell Media pay and specialty channels are the two-time Emmy®-nominated hit DEGRASSI, the recently renewed ORPHAN BLACK, CSA-winning CALL ME FITZ, and upcoming dramas BITTEN, SENSITIVE SKIN, and 19-2. Bell Media specialty channels are also home to reality series such as BRAVE NEW GIRL, game shows MATCH GAME and POP QUIZ, and factual series HIGHWAY THRU HELL and CANADA'S WORST DRIVER, among others. So far in 2013, Bell Media has ordered 24 original Canadian series and put 67 projects into development.
About Proper Television
Proper Television is a leading provider of factual entertainment, reality, documentary and docu-dramas for Canadian, American, and International markets. Headed by former BBC director Guy O'Sullivan, Proper Television has earned a distinguished reputation for creating original series and hit versions of international formats including CANADA'S WORST DRIVER, COME DINE WITH ME CANADA, and FOUR WEDDINGS CANADA. Proper Television's shows and formats are sold internationally by newly formed Proper Distribution.
CTV is Canada's #1 private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV has been Canada's most-watched television network for the past 12 years in a row. CTV is a division of Bell Media, Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, and digital. Bell Media is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada's largest communications company. More information about CTV can be found on the network's website at CTV.ca.
About Kraft Foods Group
Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: KRFT) is one of North America's largest consumer packaged food and beverage companies, with annual revenues of more than $18 billion. With the spirit of a startup and the soul of a powerhouse, Kraft has an unrivaled portfolio of products in the beverages, cheese, refrigerated meals and grocery categories. Its iconic brands include Kraft, Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters, Velveeta, Capri Sun, JELL-O and Lunchables. Kraft's 23,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada have a passion for making the foods and beverages people love. Kraft is a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 and the NASDAQ-100 indices. For more information, visit www.kraft.com and www.facebook.com/kraft.
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