Our Contributors

Our staff and food aficionados bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to Canadian Food Aficionado.

Chef Gordon Ramsay, Lorena Urrutia-Mandarino and Jay Mandarino at the Chef’s Challenge fundraiser. Jay was the auctioneer for the event and Gordon was his assistant!

Jay Mandarino

Founder, Publisher

Jay Mandarino, Publisher & CEO of SBC Media (a Member of The CJ Group of Companies), is our Chief Food Aficionado and the brains behind this venture. In addition to his passion for good food and travel, Jay founded and runs the most awarded printing & communication company in the world, and is an active philanthropist. He donates his services as an auctioneer and it was at these events, he was able to meet some of the best chefs in the world and develop his appreciation for great food and respect for those chefs and their craft. He has taken several food courses and attended many seminars from the best in the business both locally and internationally. Jay was previously a founding investor in a restaurant and a founding partner of Dine Magazine. Jay’s favourite dining partner is his wife , Lorena.

When I was looking for an Editor, I wanted to find someone who was passionate about food, is knowledgeable, articulate with an attention to details and enjoys new challenges. Sue came to mind who was a neighbour and continues to be a good friend who shares in finding new dining experiences and watching movies along with our spouses. I asked Sue to share with you a brief bio and here is what she wrote.

Jay Mandarino, Chief Aficionado & Publisher

Susan (Sue) Hearn


Susan (Sue) Hearn, Editor, Toronto is my home and the city I have watched grow into a rich, multi-cultural hub. Toronto’s wide breadth of ethnicities have influenced many aspects of our lives, one of which is our food culture. My mom  was no exception, she too enjoyed experimenting with different cuisines. My favourite was a Christmas dinner of Asian delectables she had spent 3 days in preparing. It was a welcomed change from our traditional meal.

My first travels to Spain & Morocco, followed by backpacking through Europe was also a major break through in experiencing new foods (with much coaxing from my fellow friend and traveller), to enjoying informal kitchen parties with family and friends. With time and travels, my tastes have been greatly enlightened. Starting life as a “meat & potato” gal with brumotactillophobia tendencies (compartmentalising foods) led to becoming an enthusiastic, food layering, fork stacker. Beyond Toronto, many more delights abound across the province, our country, and globally by talented chefs, sometimes found in the most remote or unexpected places. For myself, food memories and dining experiences can be very powerful and lasting. So, when Jay asked me to be co editor, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to share our team’s experiences with all our readers. We hope you enjoy!

Sue Hearn, Aficionado & Editor

Aficionado Advisory Board

Michael Bonacini

Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants

Bevan Terry

Executive Chef & Owner
of Rouges Restaurant

Derek Valleau

Pukka Restaurant

Mitsuhiro Kaji

Sushi Kaji Restaurant

Rodney Clark

Head Fishmonger
Rodney’s Oyster House Corp.

Fernando Garcia

Executive Chef & owner
of Lavina Restaurant

Contributing Aficionados

Our contributors are all regular people that love food – not food critics – so no ulterior motives here, just the facts!

Josh Allen | Lorraine Bates  | Jeff Ekstein |Bruna Nicoletti-Guido | Charlie Luz | Stephane Dagenais
Lorena Urrutia-Mandarino| Kevin Page | David Palazzese | Alan Gardner


Additional Staff

Lorraine Bates, Art/Editorial Director | Lee Eldridge, Director, Interactive | Patrick Mallon, VP Finance | Mike Seifert, Video/Editing

Banner photography courtesy of Rodney’s Oyster House (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)