Rap’s has seen an increase in competition as other Caribbean restaurants pop up in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, their food just doesn’t stand up and the décor looks like a tropical storm blew through. Restaurant Takeover's Chef Derek Minkensky and Designer Paula Velez are on a mission to bring a little sunshine back to this Carib joint.
Raised on a farm outside of Edmonton, Corbin Tomaszeski was born to be a chef. One of his earliest memories is the smell of baking bread in his grandmother’s kitchen. Coming from a large Polish Canadian family, preparing meals was not an easy task for his mother. Corbin worked alongside her, creating wonderful meals such as the heartwarming soups that have become one of his many trademarks.
Corbin is very passionate about family and food. He is also very loyal to his food service team who he constantly coaches and mentors while still having fun. His creative spirit is woven into everything he does and he has established a strong following from hosting shows such as DINNER PARY WARS, RESTAURANT TAKEOVER, and CRASH MY KITCHEN on FOOD NETWORK and HGTV Canada.
Corbin’s many fans include chefs, customers and viewers alike. All wish to hone or expand their cooking sills and enjoy Corbin’s general demeanour. A born storyteller, Corbin's personal philosophy is that great food is a means to an end. Food has the ability to connect us all in our daily lives.
An executive chef with a reputation for creating destination eateries, Chef Corbin has been known to right culinary wrongs with charming honesty. He is also known for his ability to rebuild lackluster menus with his signature flair and attention to detail. As an Executive Chef, Corbin has overseen the expansion of many food service outlets. He is an active member of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks, a Graduate of the Culinary Arts program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and volunteers for organizations such as CANFAR, Canadian Heart and Stroke Association, Osteoporosis Canada, Diabetes Canada, and United Way Canada. He travels throughout North America to showcase his talent and endorse products that bring him joy in the kitchen.
Corbin is currently working on many new projects including his own cookbook, three new restaurants, and a full-service catering & consulting business.
Italian expatriate Massimo Capra is the chef and co-owner of Mistura and Sopra Upper Lounge, two well-known restaurants in Toronto offering fine contemporary Italian cuisine and live music respectively.
Born near Cremona, Italy, Massimo studied at the National Culinary Institute in Salsomaggiore, Parma. He began his career by working in some of Italy’s finest restaurants and hotels, including Trattoria dell’ Amelia in Venice, widely considered one of the best restaurants in Italy at the time. He also spent several years in various hotels, such as Hotel Royal, Val d’Aosta, Hotel Savoy, and Drei Tannen. Finally, Massimo worked for Gallia Hotels, owners of the famous Excelsior Gallia Hotel, Cavour Hotel, and Rio Envers Hotel.
Yearning to work overseas, Massimo boarded a plane for Toronto in 1982. He began working at Archer’s, a restaurant owned by one of his relatives. Massimo used his time at Archer’s to master the English language and improve his culinary skills.
In 1989, Massimo met Michael Carlevale of the famed Prego della Piazza. He and was offered the chef position and “Prego” became one of the most well known restaurants in Toronto during his nine-years there. While working with Michael Carlevale, Maassimo developed the concept for Carlevale’s Black & Blue Restaurant and Byzantium.
In 1997, Massimo merged forces with Paolo Paolini, formerly of Splendido. Mistura was opened shortly thereafter in October, 1997. The exclusive SOPRA UPPER LOUNGE is the latest addition to Massimo’s long list of restaurants list. Since 2006, Sopra has been a favorite among Toronto’s live music lovers.
Author of “One Pot Italian” and the newly released, “Three Chefs, The Kitchen Men”, Massimo also writes regularly for “The Globe & Mail.” Currently, Massimo is the brand ambassador for Samsung Home Appliances. He recently completed the opening of “Fraticelli Italian Grill” and is re-branding of the famed “Rainbow Room” in the Crown Plaza Hotel in Niagara Falls.
Massimo’s television experience is extensive, appearing on “The Beer Buddies,” “The Movable Feast,” “Buddies of the Vine,” “Christine Cushing Live,” “Three Takes” and many others. He makes regular appearances on City TV’s “Cityline” and is a celebrity chef on the hit series Restaurant Takeover. Finally, he is developing a new series, “Gourmet Escape.”
Andrea Nicholson has always been obsessed with food: as a creator, teacher and connoisseur. She is a Red Seal certified chef who received her culinary training at George Brown College in Toronto. Her professional experience includes positions at respected Toronto restaurants and culinary institutes such as Great Cooks, Via Allegro, The Fifth, Humber College, George Brown College, 35 Elm, Trattoria Nervosa. Moreover, Andrea has travelled the culinary globe, working with internationally acclaimed chefs and the world renowned 6 star cruise line, Regent Seven Seas.
Andrea also trained in New York City under Roberto Caporuscio and now holds a diploma from the A.P.N. of Naples, Italy, distinguishing her as a certified Pizzaiuoli.
Andrea’s passion for food is evident in her masterful creations, which celebrate local and seasonal produce and support Canadian farmers.
Andrea was a contestant on Season One of the Food Network program, Top Chef Canada. She is currently an expert chef on the Marilyn Denis Show and owner and creator of Killer Condiments, an artisan condiment line.
Born and raised in southern Ontario, Derek is a self- trained Chef who began his culinary journey in a backwoods of western New York. Here he spent his childhood summers hunting, fishing, growing vegetables and preparing food with his grandparents as they imparted upon him their back to the land philosophies. He carries these ideals with him in all that he cooks, understanding that the best dishes come from an intimate knowledge of ones ingredients, where they originate and how they are traditionally prepared. Having worked in some of the top restaurants in Toronto Derek now combines his respect for simple time-honored food preparation with influences from South America, Asia, Western Europe and North Africa. For Derek, cooking began as an expression of love and respect for his family and the land in which he grew up. He remembers this even when cooking for a dining room of over a hundred guests or revamping restaurants with the Food Network.
Adam Hynam-Smith is Chef and Co-owner of El Gastrónomo Vagabundo, Ontario’s first gourmet street food truck. Nicknamed “El Gastró” by those that eat there, Adam’s truck was recently featured on the Food Network’s Eat St., and his menu has been dubbed the best street food in Ontario. Hynam-Smith’s pioneering chef techniques has garnered him a reputation for reshaping the standard street food cuisine in Ontario. According to Acquired Taste Magazine, “what Momofuku master chef David Chang is to New York, El Gastrónomo Vagabundo is to Toronto’s food truck culture”.
Hynam-Smith was raised in the historic gold mining regions of Central Victoria, Australia. Childhood lessons on the importance of community, friends, and food, stayed with Adam when he moved to Melbourne to train under some of the best chefs in Australia, including Cath Claringbold and Jacques Reymond. Since 2006, Adam has been traveling the globe, cooking in Morocco, France, England, Thailand, and now, Canada.
Adam is a passionate believer in knowing where his food comes from and the people that supply it. His cuisine draws on his global experiences, with flavours from Southeast Asia, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and of course, Australia.
Ultimately, Adam’s inspiration comes from what he was taught as a boy: food should be shared and enjoyed in an inspired setting with good company.
As an executive chef for over twenty years, Richard Andino has created many sophisticated, bold flavored dishes. He was born in the Phillippines and moved to Canada with his family in the 1970’s. Richard's cuisine is rooted in his ancestral heritage that has been passed down from grandmother, to mother, and finally, to Richard. He pays homage to his Filipino background through spices and flavours that give local Canadian ingredients an added element.
Richard studied Culinary Management at George Brown College in Toronto. Upon graduating he began working for a number of well-established restaurants, and was eventually offered the position of Executive Chef at North 44.
Richard is continually upgrading his menu, educating guests about the multi-faceted ingredients and earning the diner’s trust. He loves creating a wonderful setting through beautiful food. His attitude is evident in his dishes, which retain a sense of fun and a bit of spice!