Spending the Holidays with Fidel Gastro’s Matt Basile

During the summer we had the pleasure of working with Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro’s. We got to see first-hand how he jumps from Priscilla (his beloved food truck) to Lisa Marie (his beloved restaurant), while filming Rebel Without A Kitchen on Travel + Escape  in between. It got us thinking, what would the holidays look like for a guy like him? So, we asked!

The Original Lisa Marie Family

The Original Lisa Marie Family

Not too far off from his day-to-day life, being surrounded by food and people is what Matt looks forward to the most once the holidays come around. Some of his favourite dishes he’ll bring to the table are lemon butter roasted turkey breast, slow roasted beef tenderloin and grilled large shrimps in tomato gravy. We sure would love to have a seat at his Thanksgiving or Christmas table!

Since turkey is usually the main event at any holiday meal, we asked Matt to give us some advice on how to make it with a hint of Olé!

“Make sure you season the turkey well before it goes in the oven and that you’re basting the turkey every 45 minutes to an hour after the first hour of cooking.”

A Fidel Gastro's Yorkshire Valley Farms Organic Turkey

A Fidel Gastro’s Yorkshire Valley Farms Organic Turkey

After sitting down from a day of cooking, with a glass of wine in-hand, Matt will set all his worries aside and focus on what’s right in front of him; family, friends and food.

His most memorable holiday moment was the first time he hosted Christmas for his family, just a few years ago. Matt says,

“I did all the food planning,  the Chris Kringle and even the sorry looking Christmas tree. It felt good to give back.”
Matt continued giving back to his family and sharing the holiday spirit, this past Thanksgiving. He and his partner hosted both of their families at Lisa Marie, which brought both sides together to celebrate.
Fidel Gastro's Matt Basile & Kyla Zanardi

Fidel Gastro’s Matt Basile & Kyla Zanardi

Retailer Feature: The Big Carrot Natural Food Market

Our organic chicken can be found in stores big and small. One of those retailers is a unique worker-owner co-operative in Toronto’s east end that’s been around since 1983. The Big Carrot Natural Food Market is Canada’s first certified organic retailer that started off with a produce department, then  added on their vegetarian, deli and juice bar.

However, The Big Carrot isn’t just a place to fetch your organic groceries, but a place in the community where services such as cooking classes, free nutritional store tours and free weekly lectures on health and the environment take place.

“Our strength is in our people, our standards and our commitment to good food and good information,” says Sarah Dobec, public relations and Education Outreach Coordinator at The Big Carrot.

The Big Carrot Juice Bar

The Juice Bar

In December 2009, the co-op  strengthened its commitment to good organic stewardship by certifying their processing and packaging activities to the new Canadian Organic Standard. They believe that organic methods not only provide us with the healthiest and safest food, but they also involve measures to protect and preserve important resources such as our soil, air and water. Not to mention that organic practices take into account the externalized costs of agriculture and food processing.

The Big Carrot Cash Counter

The Cash Counter

One reason we love to work with The Big Carrot is because we have the same values. We believe that eating organic should be important to everyone and so do they.

“What we eat is one of the most important choices we make everyday. Our food is our medicine. By choosing organic, consumers are supporting a food system that prohibits the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, GMO inputs and the use of hormones and antibiotics in animal products. This equates to healthier meals and in turn, healthier people,” Dobec explains.

The Courtyard at The Big Carrot

The Courtyard

There are plenty of wins in being a co-operative. They work hard at providing accurate, current information about food and their food system, making education of buying organic goods accessible. They also have an opportunity to help grow the industry. Every season they meet new organic producers and can offer more and more choice to their shoppers. As a co-op retailer, they expose consumers to a different, successful business model, which by all means, comes with a few challenges.

“Our biggest challenge would have to be decision-making amongst 70 co-op members in an ever-changing industry and world. However, we do have several committees to disseminate information for the group and help guide policy making and decisions,”  says Heather Barclay, Office Manager of The Big Carrot.

The Big Carrot Family

The Big Carrot Family

The Big Carrot’s new website launches TODAY with exciting news about their new strategic donating plan to help expand the availability of locally produced food called – Nature’s Finest Fund. Another thing we have in common, good food for a good cause! Visit their site here.

Jamie Kennedy Presents: Yorkshire Valley Farms Chicken Fry-UP!

Chicken Fry Up_November 15

The chicken supplier at Jamie Kennedy Kitchens is Yorkshire Valley Farms. The first TWO Chicken Fry-ups were a big hit, so they’re doing one more before Gilead Wine Bar becomes a regular evening restaurant (Tuesday- Saturday 5:30-10pm, starting Dec. 5). They’ll be featuring beers for $5! No reservations required.

DATE & TIME: Friday, November 15th 6 -10 pm

WHERE: GILEAD, 4 Gilead Place, Toronto, M5A 3C9 (East of Parliament, South off King East)