By Marian Staresinic
Chef Matt Dean Pettit is the founder of Rock Lobster Food Co. Since his first-ever pop-up event in March 2012, Rock Lobster has a bustling restaurant and a successful wholesale and retail seafood line, Matty’s Seafood.
Matt’s latest exciting projects are his cookbook, The Great Lobster Cookbook, which was published by Random House and has since become a critically-acclaimed bestseller, and Super Snack Bros, on Food Network Canada TV and web.
1. Tell us how you first got involved in the food industry.
My first job in the food industry was as a busboy at the young age of 13 at Casey’s restaurant in my hometown, Midland, Ontario. One afternoon, one of the prep cooks called in sick and I was asked to fill in. From that day on, I fell in love with the food industry.
2. What chef or chef(s) have been your biggest influence?
Chef, restaurateur and MasterChef Canada judge Claudio Aprile. He is chef and owner of Orderfire Restaurant Group, which includes Origin brand restaurants. He has been one of my biggest influences and has acted as a mentor throughout my career as a chef and brand ambassador.
3. What do you think makes owning a restaurant in Toronto different?
I think what really makes owning a restaurant in Toronto different is that people who live in this city love new things. Toronto is a place where you can experiment with flavours and multicultural food mash-ups. It’s a beautiful thing.
4. What advice would you give to new chefs in this industry?
Cook something that you want to cook and something that you are proud of. Take risks. Don’t be afraid to share your recipes. The more people who know about them, the more potential new customers for you! It’s a competitive industry, and if you want to stand out, you need to be willing to put yourself out there. Attending smaller food shows and networking events can help grow your network. You never know who may end up working in your kitchen.
5. What do you do when you aren’t cooking?
When I’m not cooking I love to rest on my couch. If I can watch the 11 o’ clock news or catch the Sunday football game when the Buffalo Bills are playing, then I’m a happy man.
To read more about Matt Dean Pettit’s culinary journey, visit Branding & Buzzing.
About the author:
Marian Staresinic is the Vice President of Branding and Buzzing. She has been in the food business her whole career, beginning at Stratford Chefs School then as a restaurant and cooking school owner, celebrity chef talent manager, AGA Cooker Brand Manager, food editor and the founder of Windsor’s Slow Food chapter.
About Branding & Buzzing:
Branding and Buzzing is a modern food marketing agency that brings the buzz to their clients through engaging consumer conversations, social media and real-life experiences that are inspirational, memorable and most importantly, brand-driven. For more information, visit brandingandbuzzing.com.