Did you catch Michael Bonacini’s Gusto special, Christmas at the Farm? If not, you missed a fantastic hour packed with tasty recipes and Bonacini’s charm.
Luckily, the folks at Bell Media were smart enough to sign on the restaurateur and resident MasterChef Canada judge for a whole new series of 15 instalments. This one, Bonacini’s Italy—debuting Monday at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT on Gusto, which is in a free preview until June 26—picks up with Bonacini as he cooks his way through 15 Italian regions, exploring the flavours and textures that make each unique through an entire meal, from antipasto, soup, or salad, to primo, secondo and dolce.
On Monday, Bonacini transports viewers to Tuscany for a menu jam-packed with peasant food. Gone is the sprawling, snowy farm from this holiday special, swapped out for the clean lines of a what looks like a condo kitchen complete with a sun-coloured bike hanging askew on the wall. Simplicity and freshness are the rules of the day in Tuscan cooking according to Bonacini, as he roughly dices perfect heirloom tomatoes, preps crusty bread, cores and chops cucumber, slices red onion, tears basil and pours out red wine vinegar and olive oil to create a bread salad. Gnudi with ricotta and spinach are equally tantalizing, followed by a Tuscan beef stew with just seven ingredients and a shockingly simple baked fish and potatoes.
Aside from the charm I mentioned when previewing Bonacini’s holiday special, he brings an air of supreme calm to Italy. Bonacini delivers his lines softly and succinctly, exuding the same confidence and surety that has made him a successful restaurateur and MasterChef Canada judge and coach. By the end of Episode 1 of Bonacini’s Italy, not only was I hungry but I had the confidence to try out the recipes for myself.
Bonacini’s Italy airs Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT on Gusto. Gusto is in a free preview until June 26.
Image courtesy of Bell Media.