Finally met Matt Basile–popularly known as Fidel Gastro–last Saturday night at Chef Jessie’s, for the Asian Food Channel’s Kitchen Revolution Tour in Manila. He was here to promote the second season of his “Rebel without a Kitchen” show, which premiered last Sept. 11 on AFC.
He is known as Toronto’s Pop-Up King and is popular for his food truck, Priscilla, which serves Toronto Cuban-styled sandwiches called ‘Extremo Sandwiches’.
It was a pleasure to meet him in person and get a taste of the flavors Fidel Gastro is known for.
Here’s a photo essay of the Matt Basile’s Kitchen Revolution Pop-Up Dinner at Chef Jessie’s…
Matt Basile prepared a 5-course dinner menu paired with hand-crafted Balvenie whiskey.
The meal started with a summer salad of baby octopus grilled in hoisin, with soy sauce mix to provide a sweet-salty flavor. I’m starting to like fennel bulb, which has a sweet, liquorice-like taste.
The flavor of this dish was a bit familiar and nothing really new in an Asian setting.
The salad was paired with 21-year old Balvenie whiskey. It has a dark color and an intense flavor that cuts through the sweetness of the Octopus.
It’s the first time I’ve tasted beef hearts. I was expecting a lengua-like texture with a livery flavor, but in fact, it tasted just like tender beef meat cooked medium.
I loved the mixed green salsa that came with it. It would have been nice to have this in taco form.
The lamb had a lot of flavor, served in a refreshing macaroni soup. You could add some bread and a bit of cheese to complete the experience.
The 12-year old Balvenie was a bit more intense and amplified the flavor of the lamb.
Our main course was beef tenderloin with a Moroccan-spiced rub. The semi-mashed edamame was a unique twist to this dish.
The prawns were big and served with a sweet-spicy tomato sauce that had a lingering hot kick.
The Elvis was just OK (and also a bit fattening). I think we have better dessert options in Manila.
The 17-year old Balvenie had a sweeter aroma and was indeed best paired with the dessert.
Watch Rebel Without a Kitchen, season 2, starting September 11 on AFC.
Following the success of season one, viewers can join Matt once again as he takes his food truck on the road through Toronto, organizing pop-ups in the most unlikely spots to deliver his culinary take on his favorite street food.
For more information on “Matt Basile’s Kitchen Revolution” tour, visit http://www.asianfoodchannel.com/mattbasile.
About Matt Basile
Matt “Fidel Gastro” Basile is Toronto’s pop-up king! Catch this on-the-go chef as he introduces you to all the uber-cool nooks and crannies of the Toronto food scene in Rebel Without A Kitchen on the Asian Food Channel!
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 from his grandfather and as he grew up, he also worked some food-related jobs to support himself during university.
After graduating, Matt worked at an ad agency and thought that his life was set, although he had an unsettling feeling that this job was not going to keep him feeling personally fulfilled for long. He quit his copy-writing job and set out on his own culinary adventure. The entrepreneurial flame was ignited in him, and it was at this point that his alter ego of “Fidel Gastro” was born.
With loyal support from his former boss, Matt started cooking at culinary events and within the Toronto underground food scene. He started gaining a name for himself and built a repertoire for his signature Toronto Cuban-styled sandwiches, or ‘Extremo Sandwiches’ as they’re popularly known. They were a big hit!
Toronto loved his cooking and Matt soon became known for his pop-up cooking and his food truck, named Priscilla, which roves around the city supplying hungry customers with delectable and robust sandwiches with equally delicious sides.
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of AFC Philippines. I wrote this article with my own biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. Since the theme was street food, it would have been much better to have Chef Matt’s famous dishes in a street food ambiance and not in a fine dining setting. Oh well, hope to just catch Fidel Gastro in Toronto one of these days. 🙂