Massimo Capra, NAIT’s 2012 Hokansen Chef in Residence

In the late nineteenth century, French novelist Marcel Proust participated in an exercise, which could be thought of as the Facebook of its era — he answered a questionnaire about himself in a friend’s Confession Album.

Proust’s answers have been published, in one form or another, for more than a century. Many have used the questionnaire for their own devices, the most notable being Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire featuring celebrities. The Tomato now gives it a culinary twist.

Massimo Capra, NAIT’s 2012 Hokansen Chef in Residence, is a chef, cookbook author, chef consultant and owner/exec chef of Toronto’s highly regarded Mistura and Sopra Upper Lounge. He is also a popular TV veteran, his current program being Gourmet Escapes on the Travel and Escape Network.



Years cooking?

37. I started at 15. My first job was at the Trattoria dell ‘Emilia shucking corn.

Where would you like to live?

I love where I live, in Missassauga. I love Toronto, but part time in Vancouver would be nice.

Your favourite food and drink?

My biggest revelation was barbecued duck. I love bitter drinks like Aperol spritz or Crodino, so refreshing, and I love chicken congee.

What would you be doing if you weren’t cooking?

Making cheese in the Po Valley.

What do you most appreciate in your friends?

Their ability to put up with me.

Your favourite qualities in a dish?


A cook?


A wine?

Taste, and the feel on the palate when it’s in perfect balance; it hits your tongue and tweaks your inner senses.

Who would be at your dream dinner table (dead or alive)?

My old chef, Gianni Fanzaghi, the one who really believed in me at cooking school in Italy, taken too soon, and Anthony Bourdain — he’s so funny. And Bugs Bunny.

Who would cook?

Nobu and Morimoto.

Current culinary obsession/exploration?

Pasta of all sorts — exploring all of Italy through the pasta viewfinder — recapturing those flavours.

Meaningful/crazy cooking experience?

It was on the Globe and Mail cruise. We were near Sorrento. People had paid a lot of money to be there and we didn’t have a menu. Lynn Crawford, Lucy Waverman and I had to improvise lunch for 80 people. We got in the car and said to the driver, ”we need a cappuccino, then go!” We found fruit vendors and vegetable stands. We bought just-picked watermelon and squash. We found a mozzarella dairy, and we had buffala mozzarella and ricotta and bucatini with roasted squash. Everybody gathered ‘round with a spoon. It was fantastic.


The owner of Dell ‘Emilia, Dino Boscaretto; Gianni Fanzaghi; and Michael Carlevalle of Prego de la Casa, a complete maverick. Before then I was just cooking. After, I became a slave of the kitchen

Favourite casual cheap and cheerful/afterwork food?

A bowl of freshly made guac, chips and cheese.


Honesty. Simplicity. I surround myself with people who understand me. I don’t complicate it; I’m a family guy who happens to work in a restaurant. Without good farmers and good ethical farms, we cannot get good nutritious food. Good taste starts in the fields. We have to treat animals with respect, they give up their lives for us.

What’s next?

We’re opening a restaurant at Toronto airport called Boccone Trattoria Veloce. I’m promoting a frozen pizza from Italy, something really good, and TV will always be a part of my life.