CATCHING UP WITH MATT DEMILLE
As far as Belleville Chefs go, the name that comes to mind first is, Matt Demille. Two years after leaving The Drake Devonshire, he took a short sabbatical to reevaluate his life and what and where he wanted to be.
We met up with Matty at our local favorite Barber Shop, “BAY BARBERS” to chat like we are two old wise dudes as he gets a line up by our friend, Tiff. Understand, Matt could have gone anywhere he wanted. This guy had restaurants under his belt like Oliver and Bonicini, LeSelect, Enoteca and Parts and Labor. To put that into perspective, that’s like being a first liner on four NHL Stanley Cup winning teams and becoming a free agent. His time away with his kids and his wife Erin, (who he mentions though out our interview as the reason why he is so successful) started a new dialog on quality of life.
One thing was for certain, they were staying local to the BOQ and the City of Belleville. Alongside the love of his life, Erin, they conceptually started putting together the business we know now as Eat with Matt Demille. The Chef himself comes to your home and caters, teaches and facilitates your intimate gathering by providing the same level of cooking in your home or location as he would have provided in a restaurant.
Then, the Universe presented him with more opportunities in the way of consulting for new start up and struggling restaurants. It gave him a chance to take his knowledge of what works food-wise and put it into different demographics. He began helping these businesses with understanding the ever-difficult task of food cost, innovation and making a margin. He went on to say, “I learned in my career that being creative with a menu that satisfied my chef wants and needs didn’t mean success. You need to balance what the public wants with your own talents and make it your own and include the quality I would want and expect in a restaurant.”
The opportunities kept coming and Matt became part of a greater Montreal, Quebec based bread company called, “Boulart”. Using the product from that company, he has been able to show consumers examples of different and creative recipes that they could create themselves.
We asked Matty, “how have you been able to balance everything?”. He went on to say, “Erin has always supported me, and she does so much in the background that allows us to pull this off.” He also went on to say, “she is the admin, accountant, receptionist and we make all of the business decisions as a team. I couldn’t do any of this without her.”
We were then told that Erin is now flexing her own muscle with her own project called, “Royal Sugar Baking”, and listen, we here at Blog BOQ know firsthand of the talents this lady has. It’s insane how great her desserts are. It is easily one of the best businesses to order sweets from in the BOQ. If you haven’t seen or tried her wide selection of tasty treats you need to check out Instagram page @royalsugarbaking
At this point I’m wondering to myself if it’s redundant to even ask what Matty does in his spare time, but of course, I did anyway. He answered, “well my kids are my jam and we like to get outside and get into nature with all the parks and conservation areas around us. I also took up boxing at Loyalist Martial Arts, not to fight competitively, but for the workout. It gives me a task to complete with an outcome and it feels great to sweat out the frustrations.” and most recently, “I got into running. It sucked so bad at first and it kind of tested my will to stay healthy and in shape, but now I’m digging it hard and starting to really enjoy waking up early and getting out there with my music blasting some hard metal.”
We were pretty excited to ask Matt, “where are your favorite places to eat in the area?” Matt makes it very clear with everything he does extracurricular, dining is his most favorite hobby of all. These are his favorite top 3 go-to restaurants in BOQ:
1. Royal Haveli
2. The Lark Wine Bar
3. Olympic 76
We couldn’t agree more with that list!
We then asked, “So, being from the BOQ, what do you see that kind of speaks to you, that you could see yourself getting involved with?” Mental health is a huge passion for Matty and over the past couple of years he has devoted a big part of his time to supporting local groups and agencies with getting the word out that things like anxiety and depression are nothing to be ashamed of and that seeking help and talking about it is okay and shouldn’t be seen as flaw or weakness as he has seen firsthand the perils of it in the culinary industry. He went on to say, “everyone at some point, whether it’s situational or clinical, has experienced some sort of brush with mental health effecting their lives and it’s important to not view it as a handicap, where you just write people off as crazy or less than. It’s a real thing that makes good people do things they would normally not do.” He went on to say that it was a huge industry thing when he started and finished in the brick a mortar world of the restaurant business. Now that he has more time (we can’t see how that is lol), he wanted to be involved with projects like “Food for Thought” with community organizers like, Ruth Estwick.
As we now know, there is a laundry list of things that Matt is up to, but he takes it all with stride and has seemed to have found himself in a position where he has balance in his life and is happy where he is. Combined with his family and community, he is in a great position to be one of the great leaders in the food and beverage industry, as well as a community advocate for members of the BOQ.
He really is one BOQ’s shining darlings and with his wife and business partner, Erin, have some big plans for the future that you all need to keep your eyes peeled for. When they happen, we will be one of the first to make sure you all know what they are.