Matt Basile has gone from pop-up pioneer to food truck owner and now is beginning to pave his way as a successful restauranteur… Oh, and did we mention he’s got his own TV show, Rebel Without a Kitchen, too? Yeah, that’s right. Fidel Gastro has got in hands in just about everything, so we figured it was high time that we got our hands on him…
Give us a snippet about you. What should people know?
I’ve never taken any formal culinary training and I think that’s actually helped my career. My background was advertising, my love was food, and I figured Fidel Gastro’s was a great way to combine them both.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…it’s my home. It’s where all my most important memories were made. I’ve developed such a unique bond with this city in the past couple years – it’s been good to me, and I’m trying my best to love it back.
You took your Fidel Gastro concept to heights most budding restaurateurs can only dream of. What’s it like to look back at your amazing progress after such a short period of time?
I consider myself extremely lucky. There is a lot of great talent out there and a lot of people believed in me and have helped me along the way. I will say I have a crazy work ethic – I’m obsessed with being busy so that has definitely helped me in the last year and a bit. I often get pretty emotional when asked to reflect on the progress of fg. A lot has happened in a very short amount of time, and it’s overwhelming at times. But I wouldn’t trade it in for the world. I love my job.
Lisa Marie is one of a handful of new restaurants that are breaking ground in the city. What do you think will define the new generation of restaurants in Toronto?
I’m honoured that you think Lisa Marie is in a handful of game changing restos. I live my life and business by “always be different.” I truly believe that how you break ground in this industry – you have to be memorable
Social media: friend or foe? Why?
Social media is a friend. It’s an amazing way to connect with the people who use your product and experience your brand right in the moment.
Where do you go out to eat on your nights off (however few and far between those may be)?
Ky and I try to go to La Carnita as much as possible. We eat a lot at North of Brooklyn Pizzeria, and anything late night in Chinatown.
What’s your favourite drink/cocktail and where do you go to get it?
I love a good Caesar. I think The Roxton at Ossington and Harbord makes one of the best (next to ours).
Any tips for the budding food all-stars out there?
Love what you do. You better because you’ll be doing a lot of it.