Matty Matheson Is What He Eats: Oddfellows & Leftovers
In the feature "You Are What You Eat" I talk to Toronto personalities, musicians, artists and other interesting folks about where, how and what they eat. After all, food is the window to the soul.
For this edition, I caught up with Chef Matthew James Matheson (or Matty as he is more commonly known) who heads up the kitchen at Oddfellows, the communal eatery at Queen & Shaw.
blogTO: What is your favorite breakfast spot in the city?
Matty Matheson: It used to be Stem on Queen, but they sold the building. So right now it might be Mezzrow's in Parkdale. They have a rad chili omelette that's great for hangovers.
What's your most guilty food pleasure?
Right now I'm hooked on Crunchie bars for some reason. But my most guilty pleasure would have to be the Dumpling House on Spadina. It smells like hamster heaven, but the pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings are my favorite. They are like fucking jujubes, I could eat those things everyday. And they have really good hot and sour soup too.
What would you request as your last meal? What chef would you like to prepare it?
Everything on Au Pied de Cochon's menu. Anybody who's working that night, I'm not picky!
Are you a coffee drinker? If so, how many cups per day and what's your go-to coffee joint?
I don't drink coffee. I'll have the occasional cup at a diner or something like that. I guess people who know me might think that's weird, but it doesn't really do that much for me. I could drink half a pot and go to bed.
Do you crave salty or sweet?
I crave salty for sure! I'd rather eat swine over anything else. It's very safe to say I'm a salt dude.
If I were a food, I would be a BLANK because BLANK.
If I was a food I would be a drunk suckling pig just chillin' out getting roasted and hanging with some bros! I think that suits me best. I think pig roasts are one of the best forms of community and friendship. The pig just hangs out with you all day then at night you eat the best bro at the party. That's me - the best bro!
What's your favorite meal of the day? Why?
The best meal is the 4am drunk fridge attack. You can barely see or stand, and you're eating anything that you can get your hands on. Like spaghetti sandwiches with peanut butter. We all have those gnarly moments. Besides that I love making dinner with my girlfriend Tricia while we have some wine and listen to records.
If you had to pair a song with food, like pairing a wine with food, what two would you choose?
I'd pair the 4am drunk fridge attack with "I'm Hungry" by Fog of Leprosy because it's about being drunk and not having any food in the fridge when you get home.
I find most chefs are shaped in some way by their culinary upbringing. As a child what was your favourite food to eat? How does the food you grew up on influence you?
I remember my mother grinding flour to make bread every morning. That old grinder was so loud. But that was some of the best bread I've ever had, with fresh jams and butter. I also remember the amazing parties and huge BBQs that my family would throw. My dad had this awesome smoker/BBQ called "The Cow Coffin." That thing could cook fifty pounds of brisket or ribs.
My parents are amazing cooks and so was my grandfather, who was a retired RCMP Sergeant. He had a slaughterhouse when my father was in his teens, then he opened a restaurant in P.E.I called The Blue Goose. The stories that my father and grandfather told me about the slaughterhouse were amazing, and they always stayed with me. I think the secret to cooking is to cook from your heart and have fun, treat it like a dinner party. I guess I can cause our restaurant is only 26 seats!
I have a recurring column called 'Fridge Files' where I dig around strangers' fridges to take a snapshot of their lives. What staple would people be most surprised to see in your home fridge?
Tricia's (my girlfriend) mom's leftovers! I wish my fridge was full of her food all the time. It's so nice to come home after a long hard weekend of working to Tricia and her mom's leftovers.
What is your most frequently used secret ingredient?
During the winter it is definitely maple syrup. I use a shitload of that stuff in almost everything I cook.
As I am sure you have heard Toronto is expanding the options for street food. What would you serve if you had a cart?
I would serve tacos. Real Mexican tacos.
Matty Matheson serves up comfort inspired dishes at Oddfellows, located at 936 Queen Street West. You can check out their website here.
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