Taste Talks Brooklyn may be over (sad!) but that means that it’s Chicago’s time to shine. And our fantastic, confirmed lineup of participants are bound to represent the Windy City (and beyond) in a big way, such as acclaimed Canadian Matty Matheson. Executive chef of Toronto’s Parts & Labor, and co-founder of Group of 7 Chefs (which hosts thematic, monthly dinners at various Toronto venues), and Northern Alliance (where chefs from across the U.S. and Canada come together to host fundraising dinners for charitable food and supplier organizations), Matheson will pull double-duty at Taste Talks Chicago this October. He stars in Vice's series, Keep It Canada, and Taste Talks is thrilled to premiere the first episode that follows Matheson around Prince Edward Island. The Keep It Canada screening presented by Munchies is at Open Secret Studios at 2pm on Saturday. Matheson is also joining the always exciting All-Star BBQ, grilling a large format, roasted goat in Palmer Square. So we took a moment to chat with Matheson, about how he ended up getting involved with the festival, the future of brick-and-mortar restaurants, and why he’s especially proud to rep Canada (in Chicago).
How did you end up getting involved in the Taste Talks Chicago event?
I got an email about the event and couldn't say no. It's an exciting event to be a part of, and a great opportunity to hang with some of America’s (and now Canada’s!) finest.
What especially excites you about Toronto's dining scene?
I feel Toronto is doing a great job of raising the bar. There are so many amazing restaurants opening and so many more holding strong. There’s a lot of young talent in the city right now. Its so great having chefs from all around the world talking about the Toronto scene. The future is very bright and exciting for the city I love.
Any thoughts on what you might make during the All-Star BBQ?
I'd love to cook some goats!
In addition to running a traditional restaurant, you also founded a monthly pop-up series called The Group of 7 Chefs. With the advent of pop-ups, underground dining clubs and the like, do you think it's becoming less and less necessary for chefs to have a brick-and-mortar to make a name or career for themselves?
If you are making tasty, exciting food people will come. And pop-ups provide a great opportunity for chefs to experiment. For example, Lee Tiernan just blew Copenhagen up with his Black Axe Mangal Kebab Shop. It was in this rad bar called Bakken in the meatpacking district, and he just crushed the game for a few weeks. It was the best pop-up I've seen. Sometime people miss the mark. And Lee killed the fucking game.
Taste Talks Food & Drink hits Chicago October 3-5, 2014. See the full schedule and buy tickets here.