photo of Alvin Leung, of MasterChef Canada, opening a new restaurant in Toronto named Akin

TV’s MasterChef dream team ready new Toronto restaurant aKin for grand opening

Famed restaurateurs and MasterChef Canada TV personalities Alvin Leung and Eric Chong are opening a new restaurant called ‘aKin’ at 51 Colborne St. in Toronto’s Church–Yonge corridor this summer.

Details are still scarce, but we know that the restaurant will feature Asian fine dining.

“aKin means of similar nature or character which helps describe the food, as it will have elements that are similar to what the dish is inspired by but modernized in our own way,” the restaurant’s new Instagram page notes. “aKin also means related by blood and although Alvin & Eric are not related by blood, they are essentially family now. aKin’s K is capitalized because Kin is Eric’s grandfather’s first name and a huge inspiration to his cooking career.”

 

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A post shared by aKin (@akin.toronto)

Leung and Chong first met on the set of the popular CTV cooking show MasterChef Canada a decade ago, where Leung was a judge and Chong was crowned the first-ever winner of the series. Leung, who holds two Michelin stars at his restaurant Bo Innovation and one Michelin star at Bo London, became Chong’s mentor in the industry. A year later, in 2015, the two teamed up and opened R&D restaurant at Spadina and Dundas in Chinatown.

The restaurant is listed on the 2023 MICHELIN Guide Toronto Bib Gourmand restaurants, which is a recognition awarded to restaurants with good-value cooking.

“The Michelin Guide is one of those few things that is globally known, so to get recognized on that level is always great for the team,” Chef Chong, who was a recipient of a Bib Gourmand in 2022 and 2023, told Streets of Toronto last November. “Since the guide was announced, many chefs have set their sights on it. It really elevated the level of cuisine in Toronto and all the hungry, ambitious chefs are going for their own style to get it.”

The Michelin Guide was established in 1900, and it sets the global standard for quality dining by awarding one, two, or three stars to high-end restaurants that excel based on specific criteria. Toronto features one two-starred restaurant, 14 one-starred restaurants, 21 Bib Gourmand recipients, and two Green Star restaurants.

So with two master chefs at the helm of aKin, it’s possible this restaurant will be listed in the Michelin Guide one day as well.

 

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A post shared by Eric Chong (@wok_lobster)

Although Michelin restaurants tend to be a bit pricey (in Toronto, the average cost of a meal on the Michelin list is $262, and the highest is about $680 at Sushi Masaki Saito), Chong is offering food that is delicious and wallet-friendly at another restaurant he opened last month—Lil Rebel Restaurant at Queen’s Cross Food Hall in the Eaton Centre (a limited-time pop-up restaurant as part of the food hall’s rotating pop-up program) serves affordable soup dumplings and dim sum with flavour-packed rice dishes.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO