Massimo Capra can be seen as guest chef and co-host on the popular series Restaurant Makeover on the Food Network. He is the co-owner and chef of two of Toronto’s hotspots; Mistura Restaurant and Sopra Upper Lounge. Massimo has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 32 years. His career began in his native Cremona, Italy, in the farm kitchen of his family home. His latest cookbook is entitled One Pot Italian Cooking (Whitecap).

Q What is your fondest memory from your family kitchen?

A I remember helping my mother on Saturday evenings with the preparation of pasta and baking meringue in the wood-burning stove.

Q What kitchen aromas bring back fond memories?

A Rosemary, sage and the smell of roasted pork and potatoes.

Q What is your favourite food to cook?

A All kinds of pastas and their sauces.

Q Do you use cookbooks?

A Absolutely! Ideas just don’t pop in your head.

Q What kitchen appliance can you not live without?

A The electric mixer. Whipping by hand sucks!

Q What traditions from your background involving food do you partake in?

A I have nobody here to carry on my traditions with but there are many reasons for me to sit at a table with my traditional foods. There is Bollito Misto a very famous boiled variety of meats eaten with preserves and salsas. I eat fish only on Christmas Eve, such as pickled eel and fried salt cod. I also enjoy pig skin and black-eyed peas.

Q Is there a cultural dish that you prepare which ties into a holiday?

A A plate of culatello (salami), good lasagna, followed by a slice of Panettone.

Marcy Cornblum is a freelance journalist. After 25 years of celebrity-filled adventures, she is using her experiences to enlighten others in understanding the media. Reach her at

Latest From ...