Matt Basile believes that food must be fun, and that in the food business you have to do things differently in order to be memorable. The creator of the Toronto-based street food brand Fidel Gastro’s, Matt started his career in advertising as a copywriter, but when he was just 26 years old he left it all to host his first underground popup in Toronto. In less than four years, Fidel Gastro’s has grown from a fold-up table to receiving national and international attention. Matt was chosen as View the Vibe magazine’s “Chef of the Week” and to celebrate, they sat him down for a Q&A:
How did you get your start in the industry?
I worked part time in butcher shops growing up. Worked in advertising and made the leap to food about 6 years ago- I’ve only been my own boss ever since.
How would you describe your culinary style?
Fun and different.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the restaurant industry?
That busy means rich.
What’s your go-to meal to cook at home?
I loooooove to cook a good steak. Rigatoni is a close second… and then meatballs.
What are three restaurants our readers need to try before they die?
Pai is my favourite spot in Toronto, never ever disappoints. Salare in Seattle was one of the most complete well rounded dinners I’ve had in a long time. And if you’re ever in Austin Texas you have to eat at La BBQ.
What’s your favourite dish on your current menu and why?
I crave the veal sandwich at Lisa Marie. We have a lot of great tasty dishes but that’s the one I refuse to share.
What’s one tip our readers should know to up their own game in their kitchens?
Rules shmooles… just have fun!
If there was one thing in the restaurant industry you could change, what would it be?
The perception that anyone can do it.
How do you think Toronto (and/or Canada’s) culinary scene will evolve in the future?
I think we’ve only begun to tap into our creative culinary identities – what I love most about the Canadian landscape is that every city has its own unique interpretation of food trends. I think we as a city (country) will continue to build that identity helping us to truly become a legitimate food destination.