More than Sandwiches with Matt Basile

Matt: Hey folks, I’m Matt Basile and I own the Fidel Gastro’s Food Truck and Lisa Marie here in Toronto and I’ve had the honour and privilege or working with Canola EatWell for the last five years.

Jenn: Who is the most fascinating person you’ve met and why?

Matt: The most fascinating person I’ve met, specifically in the food industry, I was very fortunate to meet Roy Choy in LA, about 4 years ago. He is the godfather of food trucks in North America. He’s very insightful, passionate, smart person, you know.

He started a movement, which I actually am part of, and he’s so casual, but so dedicated at the same time. It was amazing to meet him and hear his wisdom and just kind of pick his brain about how he sees this grass roots food movement kind of growing for himself.

Jenn: Who’s the most fascinating person you’ve ever cooked for?

Matt: Ok, so the most fascinating person I’ve ever cooked for, this just happened like literally three days ago, I’m a huge fan of Murdock Mysteries and I met Yannick Bisson, he’s Murdock, Inspector Murdock.  I got to cook for him at a wedding and I was blown away. 

Jenn: If you were not cooking, what would you do for a living? Or if you weren’t involved the food industry.

Matt: So, if I wasn’t cooking I would probably still be a writer, to some capacity. I was a copywriter before this so I might still have been in advertising.

People are going to laugh when they hear this, but I always wanted to be a writer for professional wrestling. This was like a big dream of mine, I was like “I could totally write storylines for wrestling”. So, I think i’d be a writer in some capacity.

Jenn: What do you cook at home that you never cook at the restaurant?

Matt: So the one thing I always cook for myself at home, that I never cook here at Lisa Marie, is rigatoni in a white bean kind of ragu sauce. That’s my go-to comfort dish whenever I’m sick or a little stressed out, or just a little you know I feel like eating something hearty.

Jenn: Besides a great knife, what’s your kitchen tool you can’t live without?

Matt: I tell people about this all the time, it’s actually my cell phone. I know it seems ridiculous, but the phone and more specifically the apps within that phone, have really helped create a career for myself.

So, had I not had that, had technology not been where it was when I started my career I don’t think I’d actually would be in the position I was to grow my business.

And most traditional chefs are like, “You can’t have a phone in the kitchen”. So I think, uh, all the more reason to say my phone.

Jenn: What’s the most unusual place that your food has been served?

Matt: Oh boy! It was actually my first year of business. I catered a rave, in a mansion, and everyone was painted – body painted, and it was interesting. It was very, very interesting.

Jenn: Can you tell us why you use canola oil in your kitchen?

Matt: So, I use canola oil in my kitchen for a couple of great reasons: the number one being we are very deep-fryer heavy here, we tend to really push the boundaries on what fried food. And canola is, in my opinion, the best frying cooking oil.

Second reason, it’s Canadian. So, why not have two very different reasons come together as one, you know. It’s function and from the heart.

Jenn: When you were growing up, what did you always want to be?

Matt: When I was growing up, I wanted to be two things: I wanted to be a film director, and I wanted to be a lawyer. I went back and forth between the two. Oh! And an architect, three things. Architect, film director, lawyer.

Jenn: What are you most excited about now?

Matt: I’m also super excited that our next cookbook is coming out in the fall. That was a lot of fun to make- it’s a brunch cookbook. So I love brunch and I think people will really, kind of, gravitate towards it.

Jenn: On behalf of our prairie canola farmers, thank you for using canola oil in your kitchen and for your business. Are there any final thoughts that you want to share?

Matt:  I mean I think it’s great that the farmers thank us for using what they work so hard to produce. But, the thanks are all on this side because, I’ve had an opportunity to sit by them and work with them and see how much dedicated, work, and hours go into producing something that a lot of people just overlook and take for granted. So I thank them for their continued dedication for providing something uniquely Canadian every year.

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