Mahone Bay chef invited to work 1,000 person dinner in Ottawa

by Michael Lee

  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Chef Matthew Krizan from Mateus Bistro in Mahone Bay is one of 10 guest chefs from across the country who will cook for an outdoor dinner in front of Parliament Hill.</p>

The owner and chef of Mateus Bistro in Mahone Bay is heading west to help serve 1,000 patrons at an open-air dinner in the nation's capital.

Matthew Krizan is one of 10 guest chefs from across the country who will travel to Ottawa on August 27 for a sold-out dinner in front of Parliament Hill, in celebration of Canada's 150th year of Confederation.

He will be the only chef based in Nova Scotia and one of two from Atlantic Canada.

Krizan said Michael Moffatt, a former colleague and chef at Beckta in Ottawa, invited him to the dinner.

He called it an honour to have a spot.

"I would have never guessed, as a little boy, I would be travelling around Canada creating dishes from the bounty of the terrain," said Krizan in a media release. "That makes a great country, to me."

The four-course meal will be held on a closed portion of Wellington Street in Ottawa.

The chefs will have access to five mobile kitchens on site, with each kitchen handling about 200 people.

"Two hundred people is quite manageable if you have some experience under your belt," Krizan told LighthouseNOW with a laugh.

His offer to the table will be an appetizer - a twist on hodge podge served with scallops, a lobster tail and pickled sea asparagus - using local Nova Scotia ingredients.

But just before he departs for Ottawa, Krizan will spend nearly two weeks aboard the Canada C3, a vessel currently making its way to Victoria from Toronto via the Northwest Passage, in the hopes of reaching the West Coast city in 150 days.

Krizan spent 10 days on the ship earlier this summer after one of the chefs pulled out at the last minute, he said.

He joined the crew, made up of dozens of people from scientists to youth ambassadors and First Nations, on an early leg from Montreal to Baie-Comeau.

Krizan leaves on August 11 and will spend 13 days travelling from Pond Inlet to Cambridge Bay.

It isn't the first time the European native has spent time in the North.

Born in Bratislava, formerly in Czechoslovakia, Krizan fled the country with his family in 1979 while the country was under Community Party rule.

They landed in Toronto before moving to Newfoundland in 1984.

Krizan studied at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London, working at Digby Pines in between school years, eventually landing a job as the sous chef at the Rideau Club in Ottawa.

In 2002, he stepped aside from cooking to become an IT manager for the local government in Iqaluit, where he worked for eight years.

"It's just an unbelievable part of the country that not many people get to experience," he said.

In 2010, Krizan left and opened his first restaurant, Mateus Bistro, in Mahone Bay. He currently lives in Riverport.

"I love what I do and I believe in the food that I serve," he said. "If you serve fresh and honest food then you don't have to do a whole lot to it, just cook it properly."

Following his 1,000 person dinner later this month, Krizan will cap off his culinary journey as a guest chef at Beckta the following night, where he will join his colleague Moffatt and a former mentor of his from the Rideau Club.

"I guess it solidifies my belief in what I'm doing as well because it eventually pays off, just sticking to your dream and doing what you really actually love," he said, adding "2017 has been a good one so far."

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