The Petits Chefs were thrilled to head back to Lisa Marie restaurant to cook with Matt Basile this week. Matt, chef/ owner of Lisa Marie and the popular food truck, Priscilla, is a rock star in the kitchen in the boys’ eyes. He is popularly known in cooking club circles as “deep fried pizza guy” because the first time we visited, the boys made deep fried mini meatball pizzas. I mean, he could have quit while he was ahead because that dish was legendary. On their next visit, the boys made Buffalo chicken patty melts, then bacon and egg nachos and last fall, we made fish tacos. This past spring we made the ultimate sandwiches at Lisa Marie. The boys LOVE the restaurant because of the food (obviously!) but also because they LOVE Matt. He’s so good with them, patient and funny and I mean, they bonded over Lego Star Wars Advent Calendars… so there you have it!
Matt is working on his second cookbook, Brunch Life (Penguin Canada, fall 2018) with his partner Kyla Zanardi (who is also shooting my book) so we have a lot in common right now, namely crazy deadlines and crazy-busy lives… So I was thrilled with Matt agreed for the boys to come in to the restaurant on his day off when he’s in the middle of developing recipes for the book. But I knew Matt had an idea that he’s developed for the book that he wanted to try out with the boys, something to do with mac and cheese in a waffle. Used in place of burger buns. Uh huh… You can see why the boys love him!
We started out with a big old pot of mac and cheese and a beautiful old waffle iron…
And we waited… and waited… Thing is, all waffle irons are not alike and the irons Matt and Kyla have been testing this waffle with at home are slick new non-stick irons that cook this stuff in no time. This old iron (gorgeous though it is) took so much longer to form the crust of the outside and we never really got waffles until the very end of the session.
Though it didn’t quite go to plan, I kept telling Matt this was a learning moment. I mean what great info to put in your cookbook, right? Make sure you are using a non-stick waffle iron, not your granny’s antique one. I would want to know that piece of information, wouldn’t you? At school we’re all about teachable moments and I was happy to see the boys realise this was one of them as they started brainstorming things to do with the mac and cheese that wasn’t a waffle and that was “burger-like”
As you can imagine, the boys had all sorts of ideas for the mac and cheese (including “How about we just eat it?“!) but Matt steered them in the direction of something he knew would 1. work and 2. be a huge hit – the mac and cheese burger….
We got flipping the burgers…
We chatted restaurants, book writing, menu item selection, food trucks, sports (Matt’s food is available at the Air Canada Centre where the hockey and basketball takes place), Pad Thai Fries (arguably Matt’s most popular menu item ever) and life. I was so fascinated to hear the sorts of things the boys asked about and was impressed that they asked SO many interesting and intelligent questions. A lot of them were still thinking about ways to make the Mac and Cheese Burger even better (many of them suggested it go on the Lisa Marie menu…) and I am sure a few of them will recreate this at home.
Knowing how Matt feels right now in the midst of recipe testing and writing and shooting images, I can’t begin to thank him enough for taking the time to work with us this week. Rock star material, indeed. We are so lucky.
Lisa Marie (website)
638 Queen St West
Toronto, ON M6J1E3
Please note: The product links from Amazon, Amazon.ca and The Book Depository are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you) which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!