Chef Justin Raponi’s deep appreciation for Italian cuisine was developed at a very young age growing up in Toronto. Justin was exposed to a variety of different foods that would fuel his lifelong passion for cooking. Chef Raponi started his culinary career in 1999 at Rainforest Café in the “dish pit” and a prep cook. 2 years later he had found himself working alongside David Lee at his renowned restaurant Splendido in Toronto’s downtown core. At the age of 18, Justin was eager to learn and absorb as much information as he could to take his skills and hone them to the next level. Working for Chef Lee opened Justin’s eyes to a world of love and passion and an understanding of why food brings people together.
After 2 years Chef Raponi decided it was time to move on and take what he has learned into a few more establishments well known to the Toronto culinary scene. At the Toronto Arts and Letters Club, he held the position of 1st cook. A well known private club for patrons within the arts including many events for the Mirvish & Eaton’s family and other staple Art figures in Toronto. Taking his career to the next level as Sous Chef Justin Joined a well-known kitchen – Kensington Kitchen under Chef Rick Sewel where they produced high-end Mediterranean cuisine. Introduced into the world of spices Chef Justin flourished and started to make a name for himself with the work he had accomplished at this well-known restaurant.
It was not until 2004 that Chef Raponi had really been given a chance to show what he has and bring his skills to the table. Holding the title Executive Sous Chef at Ristorante 101 a trendy high-end Italian restaurant in the Yonge and Lawrence area under Chef Frank Farragina Justin was able to rise with the heat and remain a valued figure as his years went on at 101. In 2007 Chef Justin had been given the ranks as the Executive Chef at Ristorante 101 and continued to create and execute at a very high level.
In 2009 Chef Raponi moved to the Island of Bermuda and was the Chef De Cuisine at Pickled Onion Restaurant a well-known sought-after restaurant in the parish of Hamilton. Chef Raponi spent his years in Bermuda under Corporate Executive Chef Derek Myers with the Island Restaurant Group (IRG) and was able to experience the culture of Island life. After Bermuda Chef Raponi was not done with his travels. He decided to move to Victoria BC and take the reins at Wharfside Seafood Grille, a 400-seat restaurant with 4 patios overlooking the harbor and 2 decks. During his time here, he also opened Wharfside’s sister restaurant, Joes Seafood Bar.
After coming back to Toronto Chef Justin Raponi had decided he wanted to get into the Personal Chef world, and so he did. He had taken on a role as a Private Chef for a well-known prominent family in Toronto. Managing several property kitchens in Toronto and on Lake Simcoe, airliners (Jets) and destination houses in a few different countries. He was introduced to a new culinary scene that ultimately allowed for him to understand that nature of quality product at its absolute finest.
March 13th, 2017 Chef Raponi Joined Upper Unionville Golf Club and is eager to highlight what he has done with his career and bring it to new heights at this beautiful club. Chef Justin and his culinary team welcome you and hope you enjoy every moment at our club.