Inside the kitchen of chef and Chopped Canada judge Massimo Capra
Massimo Capra is currently in renovation overload. Not only is the reality TV star and Mistura chef in the throes of opening a 100-seat restaurant called Capra’s Kitchen, slated to begin service in June, but he’s also about to renovate the kitchen of his Mississauga home. He bought the 1967 back-split five years ago with plans to renovate immediately—the current kitchen hasn’t been updated since the ’80s—but permits took longer than expected.
The family—Massimo, his wife Rosa and their sons Daniel, 25, and Andrew, 27—try to share at least one meal a day together. Because none of them work typical nine-to-five jobs, it’s usually lunch or dinner, but “linner” is a family favourite. The fridge is currently stocked with canned seafood that Capra orders from Spain’s Conservas de Cambados. “This is the same stuff you get at Bar Raval, and yet I always go there to have it,” says Capra. “I know I’m paying a markup, but it’s such a beautiful space—I’ve probably paid for half of it!”
“For me, there’s no such thing as one-stop shopping,” says Capra. For fruit and veg, he’ll hit up Harvest Wagon. For Asian ingredients, he alternates between T&T and PAT. And A good portion of his food budget, though, is spent at the Cheese Boutique. Capra is particularly picky about bread. “I don’t like this bread you have to chew for half a day,” he says. He’s a fan of Blackbird Baking Co.’s loaves, but he he longs for the rolls of his youth: fluffy inside with a crispy crust. “It needs to be able to soak up the fat from all the cured meat I eat,” he says. He usually gets his white rolls from Portuguese and Italian bakeries, including Truscott Bakery and Nino D’Aversa.
Here’s a look inside one of the cupboards:
When filming Chopped Canada, Capra has to leave the house extra early to get to the set. To kick-start the morning, he’ll make himself a cappuccino or two. He’s had the same workhorse espresso machine (a Breville Barista Express) for the past seven years, and it still pours a great shot of Lavazza espresso:
Capra has an olive oil addiction. Whenever he tastes one that he likes, he buys it immediately. “I like to dip bread into olive oil, but I don’t add balsamic—it’s overused,” says Capra. He grew up about 25 kilometres from Emilia Romagna, Italy’s balsamic region, and likes the vinegar with strawberries or drizzled over cheese. “Balsamic shouldn’t be used to dress salads, it should be used to garnish; that’s how they use it back home,” says Capra. Most of these bottles were purchased at the Cheese Boutique:
This mezzaluna (the tool with the red handles) belonged to Massimo’s mother; he uses it to finely chop parsley. The microplane right above it was specifically designed for shaving truffles:
Massimo brought this polenta pot back from Italy. When his parents were alive, he used to go back four or five times every year, but these days he’s lucky if he visits once a year:
The Capras have been trying to drink their wine cellar dry because they’ve held onto some of their bottles for too long. The wine cellar in the basement holds about 100 bottles, many of which were gifts from the winemakers. There are about 50 left:
To unwind, Rosa and Massimo make themselves G&Ts. Their go-to gin is Bombay Sapphire:
Ciao, chef Capra: