“It’s really just an excuse to hang out with my friends,” says chef, restaurateur, media personality, and hilariously funny human Matty Matheson of being in St. John’s this week. He launched his new cookbook, A Cookbook,at Merchant Tavern on Sunday.
Matheson started out as the famously over the top, and quite often inebriated young chef of Vice’s early cooking videos, including the brief but memorable Hangover Cures. A heart attack at 29 forced a lifestyle change and sobriety. Lots has happened for Matheson since then, including fatherhood , and now his first book.
Once known as the John Belushi of chef culture, Matheson may have sobered up, but has neither calmed nor slowed down. His Toronto restaurants include Parts and Labour and Maker Pizza. His cooking shows Keep It Canada and Dead Set On Life have made him a star, and he and wife Trish Spencer recently bought a farm and welcomed their second child.
Toronto Life has called him the most relevant chef in Canada. He’s partied with Leo DiCaprio, eaten fermented shark, and modeled for Holt Renfrew. Not bad for a guy who dropped out of cooking school to tour with a metal band.
Matty Matheson: A Cookbook is the story of this journey, complete with a wide range of recipes (from microwave bologna treats, to cassoulet and lobster) and beautiful photos.
Food and family are indistinguishable for Matheson, it turns out. He has east coast roots, including Newfoundland, and his reverence for the farmers, foragers, hunters, fishers, not to mention the land and sea themselves, that produce our food has been passed down to him from parents and grandparents. Matheson promises in the book’s introduction to show you the food that has defined who he is.
Added to the mix of family memories is the wealth of experiences he’s had touring Canada as a food show host, albeit the sort of food show host who hates boring, formulaic food shows. He’s shot guns, caught fish, wielded the occasional chainsaw, sworn like a trucker while shirtless and covered in tattoos, visited farmers, beekeepers and restaurateurs, all in the name of discovering the most authentic Canadian culinary experiences possible. His larger than life persona brings together urban and rural Canadian experiences and boils, them down to one delicious meal after another.
As for what’s next for Matheson, the answer is “everything.” From opening new restaurants to a possible fashion line, he’s just getting started.