Matt Kantor is the Chef/Owner of Little Kitchen, based in Toronto, cooking dinner parties and teaching professional culinary tricks and techniques in people’s homes and other private venues.
What inspires you?
Two things: making people happy and creating tasty food with interesting textures and flavors. The best thing for me is developing a dish with unusual combinations of flavor and texture, and watching my guests’ faces light up when they take a bite.
Where did you train to be a chef?
I attended Culinary Institute of America, but the real training was working at some world class restaurants and with some great cooks in the US and briefly in Europe. I also do considerable research. I eat out constantly, trying to see what people are doing in Toronto. There are some really good chefs in this town.
Why do people invite personal chefs to their homes?
I think the main reasons are to experience something that is different but also customized to their tastes. In some cases, it's easier than getting a babysitter, and it’s also a way to entertain without spending all the social time behind the stove.
How much does it cost to hire Little Kitchen for an evening?
It’s really dependent on what kind of experience you want, because we do customize the experience to your tastes. The number of people, the number of courses and the kind of food will determine the cost. As I am just launching this endeavour, I am keeping the prices on the low side. Compared to going out for a similar level of quality, I think it’s a good value, and the interactivity can be a good learning experience if you want to pick up some cooking tips.
What is the most interesting dish you've ever prepared and why?
I’ve done a good amount of avant-garde and contemporary food in my day, but I love working with pasta and rice, because both make such a great canvas for working with so many different flavors that cater to people's needs. Risotto is a good example of this: beets, mushrooms, cauliflower, sea urchin, squash, asparagus, chocolate...the list goes on.
Why Twitter and Facebook? Are they helping you build your business? How do you know?
In general, knowing that SocialMedia is helping you build business is not a clearcut thing – which I am still discovering – it’s new to most of us. I rely on analytical tools on all my software to track engagement, but its ultimately about developing good relationships and engaging with the people you want to work with. For larger companies, a good suggestion is to work with a communication strategist to identify marketing channels and create a communication plan.
photo credit: Matt Kantor by lexnger on flickr