Born in Toronto, Matt loved the company of his family, especially his Italian grandparents. It was his grandfather who always had his hands busy with making bread or preparing cured meat. Matt learnt everything he knew about food, and good quality food at that, from his grandfather. Matt is self-taught, and while he only dabbled in part time jobs in the food industry when he was younger, it planted the seeds for his later re-introduction into the industry.
After graduating university, Matt worked at an agency and thought that his life was set, although he had a feeling that something was missing. In a series of unfortunate but serendipitous events, Matt left his agency job with a scribbled note that read ‘Fidel Gastro’s’ and an idea for a sandwich shop – and so the story really begins.
After being turned down for a bank loan for his sandwich shop, and not being deterred by that ‘no’ Matt started to consider that maybe he just needed to take a different approach. On one fateful night at a friend’s party, the host decided to forego ordering in pizza, and instead have Matt raid the fridge and cook for the guests. As Matt doing his thing in the kitchen became the centre of the party, rivalling the dance floor, he knew he was onto something. Who needs a bank loan and a brick and mortar, when you can create a food experience with just a table, amazing food and a bit of personality.
Soon after his party success, Matt started cooking at culinary events and within the Toronto underground food scene. Word of his next level sandwiches started to circulate and that he was doing something different in the food scene with his sandwich pop ups. With another twist of fate, someone out there thought his story was interesting too, and set out to follow his journey as a food entrepreneur, popping up at foodie events all over Canada and the U.S as the host of Rebel Without a Kitchen.
Next came his first baby, Priscilla the food truck; servicing downtown Toronto, food festivals and private events with unique and tasty street food. Then the second Fidel Gastro’s lovechild – Lisa Marie, a brick and mortar with a six-year stint on Toronto’s Queen St. West, bringing infamous brunch to the city and beyond. These babies also led the way for two best-selling cookbooks Street Food Diaries and Brunch Life.
As a chef and food entrepreneur, Matt has recently reinvented himself in the food space as a creative consultant, product and recipe developer and content creator. Matt is currently working on his next big project Alchemy Grills. No matter what he’s working on his ethos will always be to be different in an industry steeped in tradition.
Chef Matt Basile is the founder of The Fidel Gastro’s Street Food Company - that's what started it all and maybe where you first met Matt. We have some news for you. Matt has put that chapter of his life to rest and has shifted away from food service, but has a new operational partner, the Ascari Hospitality Group. What does that mean you ask? It means that we've retired from the food truck life and won’t be providing catering services any more. Don't worry though, because we've partnered with an experienced catering company to continue to help you get the very best food and experience for any event you’re looking to throw, large or small. Want to be connected with our new catering partner? Email firstname.lastname@example.org