A famous artist once said that good cooking—like good painting—was tasted, not explained. In that spirit, the explosive success of Toronto Chef Matt Basile needs to be tasted to be believed. He’s the creator of Fidel Gastro’s, Toronto’s legendary first street food experience company, the founder of Lisa Marie—one of those restaurants where you’ll battle even the closest loved one for the last bite—and the star of Netflix’s Rebel Without a Kitchen… maybe you’ve heard of it? Yet you’ll find no famous cooking school on Chef Matt Basile’s resume. Matt learned the culinary arts from some unlikely academies: the butcher shops he worked in growing up, his mom and grandparents, and his dad’s rule-breaking cooking style.
“I remember that my dad was adamant about how he cooked his eggs,” Matt recalls.
“When cooking sunny side eggs he would warm them up to medium, add a bit more oil than you usually would, then take a spoon and pour the residual oil over the egg white—not the yolk. It would cook the egg whites perfectly without overcooking the yolk.”
Matt is still using this technique 22 years later. It’s not a conventional technique, but then again, there’s nothing conventional about Matt Basile. For this cutting-edge chef, delicious ends justify outside-the-box means.
Matt is starting a new collaboration with Egg Farmers of Canada and he’s itching to work with egg farmers directly. He believes that cooking with eggs in Canada is made all the more special by the fact that the overwhelming majority of eggs are produced by Canadian farmers—the epitome of locally produced food.
As a creative (he started his career in the advertising industry), Matt adores cooking with eggs—a food he continuously describes as versatile. He’s loved eggs since his dad was preparing those one-of-a-kind sunny side ups in between long sets of Saturday hockey games.
But “adores eggs” is an understatement when it comes to Matt—scroll Fidel Gastro’s Instagram feed for just a minute, and you’ll see a Louvre of egg recipe artistry. No wonder: he estimates his restaurant goes through 60,000 fresh, high-quality, made-in-Canada eggs every year. And typical of his rebellious style, Matt refuses to let the versatility of eggs sit underappreciated.
“In many situations, adding a perfectly poached egg to a dish makes it go from great to astounding,” he says.
“It adds a new texture, a new flavour—it brings it all together. I’ve done a few dishes where the egg just compliments what you’re eating, like an accent. When you eat a burger you’re thinking of the burger but when you add an egg it just adds something special.”
“I rarely get excited talking about kiwis,” he says with a laugh, “but I do when I talk about eggs!”
What’s Matt looking forward to the most? “By working with farmers, I’m going to add a story to the eggs I love—a story about family, about work ethic, about the love that goes into producing this product,” Matt says.
“I want to bring these worlds together—think of the ideas we could have!”