Mediaplanet: What led to your passion for local ingredients?

Matty Matheson: Early on, when I was working in Kensington market, we had a market menu so we would walk around and grab stuff — pick up some fish or vegetables. It was really nice to have everything at our doorstep.

MP: Where did you learn to cook?

MM: I went to Humber College for Chef Training and then from Chef Training to Culinary Management. I went to cooking school because it was the only thing I got accepted to — but I mostly wanted to move to Toronto. The passion wasn’t there — I just wanted to move to the city and if I had to go to school to do that, I was willing to do that. I went to culinary school and then I really liked it. I got a lot out of it and really built up my self-esteem.

MP: What do you love about Ontario’s culinary scene?

MM: Prince Edward County is amazing, Niagara is popping. We’ve got great farmers, great ranchers, and great winemakers.

MP: What’s a recent food trend in Toronto that you think is cool?

MM: I think people are finally shining a light on ethnic foods and letting them become bigger players instead of it always being about the chefs and the big restaurants. You can go out to Allwyn’s and get a crazy jerk chicken sandwich or go to Brampton and get amazing Indian and Pakistani food. It’s mental — it’s just as good as going to Flushing in New York.

MP: What can we expect from your book, Matty Matheson: A Cookbook being released in early October?

MM: The book is really straightforward. Half the book is family recipes, from both sides of my family and my in-laws and all the food that has built my foundation. Then there are recipes from cooking school and all the restaurants I’ve cooked at including Le Select Bistro, La Palette, Oddfellows, and Parts & Labour. It’s my life.

MP: You’ve engaged a lot of young people who might not have had an interest in the culinary industry before discovering you. What would you say to those considering the culinary arts?

MM: I always advise cooking school because you need to learn foundational stuff — the basics. Cooking school is great for technique and discipline — there aren’t a lot of schools that have that same kind of military approach to learning. I always say if you want to cook, go cook. But going to school won’t hurt you.