get to know chef matt binkley
When Matt started in the industry as a line cook at 15 years old, how could he have imagined he would be working for some of the world’s most interesting private clients across the globe. Or that he would create one of the leading full service bespoke culinary service providers that provides temporary and permanent solutions for the private and hospitality industry.
Throughout the interview, Matt expresses his belief that strictly planning your entire career can hold you back from unexpected opportunities along the way and heights greater than your wildest dreams. His career is a testament to this, and it wouldn’t be long after his first job as a line cook that he had an unexpected opportunity to pursue an Honours Bachelor of Science, Nutrition and Nutraceuticals at the University of Guelph. Soon he was training under Michael Stadtlander at his famous Eigensinn Farm.
I wonder if he could have imagined he would be working with private clients like Kevin O’Leary, David Copperfield, Dave Grohl, Mario Lemieux, and the royal family of Jordan!
What was so refreshing to hear in the interview was that he felt like working in a restaurant lacked the opportunity to see the reactions of a guest trying his food while he worked at the renowned restaurant North 44. Even though the restaurant was in its heyday and he was excelling, he still yearned for a new experience. This would lead him to his first private client, Kevin O’Leary, one of Canada’s most successful businessmen and television personalities.
He relates in the interview how this opened his eyes to a bigger culinary world and the professional reward he was seeking when interacting with his clients. He describes how he cherished the opportunity to work with the highest quality foods, the creative opportunities to develop menus, and the chance to grow as a cook. He describes how O’Leary helped him improve his knowledge of wines, which is hard to learn purely through theory and how it helps when you get to taste-test the pairings.
After years of exciting jobs with some of the most interesting clients, he began his family with the birth of his first child and quickly saw that it would be hard to balance his demanding schedule and a family. He noticed he was still getting a lot of calls from clients and realized that these were lost opportunities. So, with his entrepreneurial instincts, he saw the growing demand for chef placements, especially for private clientele, and would seek out a business partner and started Culinary Search Group.