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Matty Matheson On His First Cookbook and Being Vulnerable

The exuberant chef and TV host opens up.

Matty Matheson

Hometown and Home Base Fort Erie, Ontario

Claim to Fame Chef known for Toronto’s Parts & Labour, and host of Viceland’s Dead Set on Life and It’s Suppertime!

Current Project Touring to promote his first book, Matty Matheson: A Cookbook

Last Trip New York, to record the audiobook version of his cookbook. “You’ll be able to cook along with me – I’m one of the first chefs to do this.”

In the intro to your cookbook, you write that you’re afraid for people to read the book. How come?
My TV persona is loud and funny, but with my first book, I wanted to make something more honest and vulnerable. I’m afraid people won’t like this version of me, the same way I was scared people wouldn’t like me after I got sober. But there can be different things that people love about me. And if you’re not scared, then you’re probably not doing something that really matters.

What did you learn while writing this book?
It made me realize what I cherish. A lot of families don’t have food on the table every night and my parents worked very hard to make sure we did. It’s important to have that time to cook and eat with your family. I’m a father now and I can make my own traditions and that’s the stuff I’m stoked on. I’m 36, so I have a bit of experience to look back on now – I’m more self-aware and I think the book shows that.

Why have you been vocal about your sobriety?
It’s a difficult thing to talk about, but it is part of my story. A lot of people tell me they went to rehab because of me or that I helped them get clean. That is heavy, but amazing and beautiful. Trying to be better is all that matters.

What’s your take on toxic restaurant culture in 2018?
The restaurant industry has been highly abusive and sexist since day one. I’ve never met a chef who hasn’t been yelled at, punched or mentally abused. It needs to stop.

How is your relationship with your fans on Instagram?
It’s a zoo. I posted the Nike ad with Colin Kaepernick in September and I lost 800 followers. At the end of the day, I would rather show support for people and lose racist followers. I’m not trying to be political, but the least you can do if you’re a white person with a platform is speak up.

Your family is from New Brunswick. What’s your favourite East Coast dish?
Cold poached lobster and hot butter. If I could eat only lobster until I die, I’d be happy.

You just moved back to your hometown of Fort Erie. How is it?
I bought a 12-acre farm and I love it! People ask me what kind of vegetables I plan to grow on the farm and I tell them I just want to grow a pool.