Small Business

Matty Matheson

After years running popular Toronto restaurants, he's embraced a new role as a larger-than-life TV personality. Here's what he's learned along the way

Written by Courtney Shea

After years running and owning Toronto restaurants,Matty Matheson became a sweary, fearless TV personality. Season two of Dead Set on Life, his documentary series on Viceland,  launched in October.

Late last year, the restaurant magnate€“turned€“TV star talked to Courtney Shea about fame, stress and managing people his own way. Here are five things you can learn from their conversation, which you can read in full here.

On his management style

“Anyone can yell or throw pans. You take five minutes and talk to somebody, you’ll get respect and you’ll get the best out of them.”

On the importance of saying “no”

“I get a lot of offers to do sponsorship and commercial work, and it’s a lot of €˜no.’ If I work with a brand, it means I like it. That’s my rule. I don’t need to buy a Range Rover tomorrow. I’m thinking about the long game. You can shoot yourself in the foot real quick if you associate yourself with the wrong brands. It’s so apparent when people do cash grabs, and it’s so wack.”

On dealing with stress now that he’s sober

“For so long, I was the one who was causing the stress. Every day I was so hung over, which meant every little problem was magnified. I took out the biggest problem—my drug addiction and alcoholism—and all of a sudden I could deal with anything. Nothing is the end of the world. In kitchens you’re constantly putting out fires—you over-booked by 40 people, the dishwasher didn’t show up. I spend a lot of my time when I’m in the restaurants now talking people off ledges, and helping them to focus.”

On building a social media audience

“I think people feel that I’m a real person, just being myself. They like watching me swear and mess up what I’m making, and be very un-chef-y about food.”

On work-life balance

“Dads should take time off to spend with their families, and companies need to support that. I was lucky—I took three months off after [infant son] Macarthur was born. My wife and I went from a couple to a family. You don’t want to miss that.”

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