- Toronto’s Matt Basile makes his second appearance at RSG.
"I fell in love with Nova Scotia last year at Right Some Good," Matt Basile says.
"The people, the food the energy: I just felt very comfortable and at home there. I lived my entire life in Toronto and I love my home," he continues. "But I also love how amazingly different the scenic Nova Scotia version of Canada is."
Basile is the chef and creative force behind popular Toronto food truck Fidel Gastro's, as well as the brick-and-mortar restaurant Lisa Marie. He also hosts a show on the Travel + Escape network, Rebel Without a Kitchen, which featured his last visit to Nova Scotia: he appeared at 2013's Right Some Good in Cape Breton and is back this weekend at Sunday's Spring Garden Road Food Festival which is the grand finale of a weekend of pop-up events that make up the inaugural Halifax edition of the event.
There's something a bit hokey about the name Right Some Good, but in terms of summing up a Maritime experience---especially the Maritime food experience---it works. And you can't get much more Maritime-y than this event.
"Right Some Good works with the world's best chefs," says event organizer Pearleen Moffard. "Everyone on our list offers something unique." The chefs they've invited include Michelin-starred luminaries in the culinary world, and popular celebu-chefs who have been featured on shows like Top Chef and Top Chef Canada. "They're all awarding-winning chefs that have the ability to put a special twist on our already outstanding local ingredient. They are all committed to local sustainable culinary practices and are open to sharing and collaborating."
Some of the visiting chefs include TV personalities Michael Blackie (Ottawa) and recent Top Chef Canada contestant, Rich Francis (Six Nations, ON), along with a handful of pros imported from below the border, like chef Heather Feher (Boston) and chef Anthony Susi (New York).
"Yes, it's about incredible food, but there's also a focus on the local food movement and creating a culinary environment of collaboration and mentorship," says Moffard. "It's a great learning experience for all the chefs involved."
Around a dozen local chefs are involved in the street fair, including chefs from Moda, Agricola Street Brasserie and the soon-to-open Krave Burger. Brooklyn Warehouse's executive chef, Mark Gray, and Fiasco's pastry chef Sue Ann Lambert are also involved.
A pastry chef by trade, Lambert, along with her husband, chef Morné Van Antwerp, took over ownership of Fiasco at the end of April, re-launching the restaurant with a changing menu of local, and sustainable options. Lambert will be paired with a pastry chef from Quebec for the Spring Garden Food Fair.
"The reason I was so keen to do Right Some Good is that I think it is important to promote the incredible culinary talent we have here in Nova Scotia," says Lambert. "There are so many great chefs in the area. I should know: I'm married to one. The other great thing about this festival is that each pair of local and visiting chefs is paired with an apprentice, giving them a chance to learn new ideas and techniques and the camaraderie that is such a big part of working in a professional kitchen."
Mark Gray is paired with Miami-based chef E. Michael Reidt. He was drawn to the event by the roster of chefs. "It's international; it's a good stage to be part of. I just really wanted to be a part of it."
Another part of the appeal for Gray was the pop-up aspect. "I like the spontaneity of the event; I think it'll be really good. I've never heard of them shutting Spring Garden Road down for an event, so it's gotta be something big!"
"Pop-ups are my bread and butter," says Matt Basile. "Before the restaurant and before the food truck, I was a pop-up. I get why they work and why they don't; I understand how it lets you engage with customers and I also know that your product has to be perfect because there is nothing to hide behind---your people are right there eating your food."
This weekend Basile will be cooking snow crab "Big Macs" with fennel slaw and jalapeno tartar sauce. "Street food is the palette of a new generation of appetites," he says. "It can still be refined and fun all at the same time."
The Spring Garden food fair is free---food and beverages are purchased through tickets, but you can wander the various booths to your heart's content. Arts and crafts, live music and vendors like the Tangled Garden, Harvest Wines, Haskapa and Sarafino Oils.
"People can expect a day full of unforgettable street food, entertainment, and family fun," says Moffard. "Spring Garden Road will be filled with gourmet street food, intense live culinary competitions, a music stage, a pop-up artisan market, and shopping."
It should be good, you guys. And let's leave it at that.
Friday June 27, Right Some Good’s Foodie Force w/chef Cristina Bowerman, Stadacona Drill Shed, 2778 Gottingen Street, 7-10pm, $103.50 + feesSaturday June 28, Right Some Good Dines Dockside w/chef Ed Cotton, HMCS Preserver, Valour Way, parking lot J, 7-10pm, $138.50 + fees
Sunday, June 29, Spring Garden Road (from South Park to Queen streets), 9:30am-9:30pm, free
Get tickets at rightsomegood.ca