Chef Matthew Batey is no stanger to Kelowna and will certainly be at an advantage when sourcing ingredients for the mystery wine pairing, but we’re sure he’ll share his secrets! He’ll be up there again on February 5 and 6 to compete in the Gold Medal Plates in the Canadian Culinary Championships. Here’s our interview from Chef Matt Batey from The Nash Restaurant in Calgary.
Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.
The Nash Restaurant & Off Cut Bar features two concepts in a stunning setting in a 1907 historical building, the former National Hotel.
The Nash is our dining room, contemporary Canadian cuisine with a cornerstone of the program being coking over hardwood and charcoal. Off Cut Bar is a 20’s/30’s prohibition era cocktail bar that the food program is centered around the use of ‘off cuts’ such as offal meats, secondary cuts or lesser known proteins. Both programs are set in comfortable and approachable settings, the quality of the service, food and beverage product are akin to finer dining but with out the pomp and circumstance that can make such programs less enjoyable than your neighbourhood haunt.
My training is primarily founded upon classical French technique, with a huge focus on respect for ingredient quality and technical execution. Stylistically, I would say my approach is modern possibly more contemporary but always recognizable.
Where do you eat in your city?
So many places! I love eating out and Calgary is a wonderful city to dine in, some of my favourites: Ox & Angela, Shiki Menya, With Out Papers, Van Son
What would be your ideal food day?
Sourcing/foraging/shopping with my girlfriend, who is also a chef, grabbing a couple bottles of wine and then cooking together for family. I believe food is the medium that truly unites us. Possibly in the south of France in a quaint villa……
Cooking with Marco Pierre White in his prime, learning regional cuisine from Marcus Samuelson and cooking over fire while doing so
What trend do you wish would die?
corner cutting cooking
What trend/s do you wish would be next?
economic viability of sustainable cooking at every level of restaurant
What ingredient do you always have on hand?
butter, finishing salt, good olive oil, eggs
What’s your go-to recipe when you’re eating at home?
Frittata, quick breakfast, an easy to pack lunch, add salad for a late night post service dinner. Its quick, delicious and healthy eating.
What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen? at home or work?
At home – a larger range and a cryo vac
At The Nash Restaurant we are very fortunate to have a well-appointed kitchen
What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?
Dan Barber’s The Third Plate
Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?
For the finale? a dish that speaks to my experiences to date as a culinarian based on the regions I have cooked in
What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?
Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc
Who is coming with you?
I’m fortunate to have a great team. My core team includes our Executive pastry Chef Matt Wilson as well as our PM Saucier, Landon Schwarz. In addition to these two amazing cooks, I am lucky to have great family support. My parents Ian and Anne Batey, girlfriend Erin Pickering and mentor Chef Michael Noble are all making the trip to Kelowna with us.
From our Facebook friends.
Colleen McClean What inspires you in your daily work?
dedication to craft, providing our guests a emotion evoking dining experience, a good one of course ….
Karen Wipf Van Vloten If you could only have one small kitchen appliance what would it be?
sharp knives, long before there were electronic machines……..
Ross Derrick Why do you cook? Fame? Love? Pleasure?
cooking allows me the great opportunity to combine many parts of who I am as a human. I enjoy the collaboration with the team, the pressure to perform, the business side of cooking and most importantly taking care of our guests.
Colleen McClean Who is your favourite supplier, and why?
all the hard working farming families / producers whom with out their tireless efforts we wouldn’t have the amazing local products to work with and frankly the ability to do what we do.
Colleen McClean What is the one dish you never tire of making?
whole roasted chicken, butter and garlic under the skin, fresh thyme and rosemary, sliced truffle (on special occasions) sea salt finish.
Colleen McClean What country/city would you travel to just for the purpose of eating?
Wow, tough one, so many places for such different reasons. I love eating in San Fran and NYC but those are places I’ve been so I know what I am looking for. Now I’m more so looking for that new discovery. Japan as a broad destination is at the top of the list.
Teejae Conwi Why do you work 14-16 hour days, get paid peanuts, get cuts, bruises and burns but do it all over again everyday like a champ wink emoticon
dedication to the craft, amazingly rewarding opportunity and frankly cooking isn’t as bad as some would like to make it out to be to glorify. Tough? sure. Climbing the culinary ladder come with some challenging moments, of course. Do I have $100 bills falling out of my over-stuffed Gucci bill fold, no. Yet, the sheer pleasure of this business is more rewarding than anything else I can imagine.
Chris Whittaker What do you think of yelp?
While the internet is clearly an amazing tool, I also believe that it is (or more so the review like sites) are the modern day version of the bathroom wall, faceless and at times hurtful without repercussions for the author. That being said, if you have a positive lens, you can always use every tool to better your program. How many times have you been out and when the server quality checks you, the answer is “yes everything is fine”, even though its not. I speak with my wallet.
Colleen McClean What is the craziest thing a customer has done in your establishment?
the crazy I’ve seen wasn’t a guest and those other stories are just…….stories
Sean Haffey What’s your favourite dish, at home or out?
I have to chose? wow tough one. I love eating pho. it’s a total go to.
Liesa Billings How do you find the work ethics today of young cooks just getting out of culinary school compared to 10-20 years ago?
The seasoned cook in me wants to make some self prophesising comment about how my generation is harder working, more dedicated and less entitled. The employee of today is different in most if not all professions though, the key is taking the time to find the right fit for our brigade. Remember our parents generation walked barefoot in the snow to and from school……
Mireille Sauve Where are you guiding your diners, in a worldly sense?
no one destination per say, more so to anywhere that challenges their comfort zone.
Leeann Froese What is the trick you use in the kitchen that is a hack or if it saves you the most time?
cutting corners really isn’t our thing. Tricks of the trade? peeling ginger with a spoon
Colleen Tsoukalas Is there potential for school garden programs and chefs to collaborate? Ideas?
indeed there is, certainly in Vancouver and the Okanagan the program Growing Chefs does a great job. I’d love to see that program expand even further East into Calgary.
Colleen Tsoukalas Is there a specific, Canadian menu you would plate up for Hillary Clinton when she becomes the next US President. Describe.
I appreciate your political views, it certainly will be interesting to see the results south of the 49. The items I would highlight for such an occasion, orchard fruit from the Okanagan, spot prawns from the BC coast, bison from the Prairies, Saskatchewan chanterelles, cheese from Ontario, duck from Quebec, potatoes from PEI and scallops from the east coast fishery
Colleen Tsoukalas What would be in your documentary about Canadian Chefs? Title?
How diverse our food culture and influences are, farmers/purveyors, hidden gem bi-lines, personalities of food.
Paul Godidek What are some of your more memorable mistakes and lessons as you were learning your craft?
thinking the chef was wrong, biggest mistake ever.
Cassidy Jones What do you think are some of those most under-appreciated ingredients and how have you used them to transform a plate?
Eggs. so versatile, not just a breakfast item. The seconday and Off Cuts of animals. Transform my cooking? Im the chef of a bar that specializes in such cookery.
Karen DW What is in your home refrigerator? When did you last cook at home?
Eggs, cheese, deli meats, lots of vegetables and condiments…… I cook at home everyday.
David Brooks Most difficult ingredient you ever worked with?
eel. live eel.
Wendy Taylor How has the local wine culture influenced your menu decisions?
massively. I now cook the food for the wine rather than the typical reverse. The wine will always be more delicate and affected by the wrong flavour pairings.
Natasha Schooten Best Advice as a Chef worst advice you got as an apprentice
Best advice as a chef (given to me or I give?) never chase the money. Tough to answer, I never really got bad advice as an apprentice. I had great mentors who I listened to. smartest thing I ever did was be quiet and listen.
Heather Watson What’s your “ketchup”? (I don’t mean literal ketchup, I just mean the one ingredient you use most often.)
If it is a condiment, its going to be Franks Hot Sauce, ingredient – butter.
Connor Butler Who is the most underrated chef that you admire in the world today?
every #2 in a top tier restaurant who is just biding their time to get their shot at being the #1
Pola Schacter what recipe you invented by accident , that was a KEEPER!
don’t have one.
Nigel Clarke Do you follow Bourdain….. Yes or No.
Yes, I love his new show.
Colleen McClean What inspired you to get into this industry?
cooking with my father. He is not a chef by trade rather he used cooking as a stress reliever from his executive job. Once I got into the industry I really appreciated that a culinary brigade is very similar to a tight knight sports team, similar to the ones I was on growing up.
Colleen McClean Who has had the most influence on your development as a chef?
I’m very fortunate to have had great influences and mentors throughout my career. The instructor team at VIU, Chefs Bruno Marti, Michael Noble and of course my parents.
Colleen McClean Do you have a mentor, and what is the best advice you have received from them?
Alexandra Staseson Secret to perfect scrambled eggs?
correct pan, butter, correct temperature and pre whipping the eggs.