Matt Basile is an ambassador for good eating. Whether he’s cooking up a storm at his Queen West Lisa Marie restaurant, or catering to crowds with Priscilla, launching cooking shows, or working on a cookbook, Matt and his partner in life and business Kyla Zanardi have been absolutely crushing it, creating how-to cooking videos that are hilarious, and inhalable and absolutely binge worthy. We sat down with Matt after catching a sneak peak of his upcoming show on YouTube; How to Holiday with Jordin Sparks & Friends.
Libby Roach– Tell me a story! What’s Kin and what’s cooking?
Matt Basilie– Kin is multi-channel network, they focus mostly on digital content, they are the digital content arm of Corus Entertainment. I’ve been with them for at least three years, we had been on another MCN previously, but we didn’t feel like it was a good fit. I knew Rick previously from Stephen and Chris on CBC, and we know a lot of their creators know a lot of their talent pool and people were like these are great people, you need to go meet them and talk to them. So, Ky and I met with everyone, and it felt like a really good fit. They allowed us to have great creative freedom over our content, but tried to see if there were opportunities in the market to navigate that content; through synergies with other brands, or main media like Food Network. It’s been phenomenal. They are first and foremost the most amazing people to work with. Secondly, they really do what they do the best in the industry. They’ve brought some amazing brands forward, that really make sense, like “Matt fries a lot of things, let’s give him a deep-fryer!”. It’s really smart strategic planning on their part. And they never try and stifle the way we create content. I’m goofy, but I try to be very chef focused as well. They’re just so open to our style.
LR– From a creative perspective, I have to mention, there’s not many couples out there that are working together, living together, doing everything together, and killing it! Brunch Life, your second book just came out…
MB– Ky is my partner but also owns her own content creator studio, both in digital film and still imagery, mainly in the food and lifestyle space. Her company Benson & Oak essentially produces all our content. What’s great is, it’s just her and I, and I’m like, let’s do this, and she’s like, no, that’s stupid! But why don’t we do this? So, we riff back and forth, and she has a great team as well. It’s small team so we’re all very invested in the content we make. We know when something feels right versus when it doesn’t. It’s like a three-prong relationship with Kin.
LR– Sounds like the pipeline remains the same, but the strategy gets a boost from Kin’s network?
MB– I think what we try to do is because we came from TV first and then moved over to digital, we wanted to retain a lot of the aesthetic that TV has, but with the freedom to be yourself, how digital allows for.
LR– Where do you see yourselves going forward for this branding and relationship?
MB-OOOhhh! I think what’s most exciting for the future is more of the relationship and more usage, and overlap, between traditional digital and brands. I think five years ago when we were discussing the future of media everyone was still operating in their own individual silos, commercials worked with brands, TV made TV, digital was a funny YouTube video where someone gets pranked, or drunk people doing shit. Now that the infancy stage of digital is beyond us, we can see how those three worlds really do operate the best under a collaboration. And I only see that becoming more prominent in the future.
LR– So there’s going to be a Pasquale tribute in the future?
MB– Pasquale’s Kitchen Express! That’s a great example of one of the first TV shows I grew up on, but now with digital there’s an opportunity to bring that back have fun with it, but still pay respect the original, the OG guy who made all that fun stuff happen. I really believe there wouldn’t be as many opportunities now if there hadn’t been a guy like Pasquale back in the day. Man, I’ve been getting a lot of Pasquale related comments lately! Which is so great, cause you put something out there on digital and you’re never quite sure how people are going to react to it. We tend to pilot things first, see if it’s a hit with our audience and we’ll focus on that. We had a similar reaction to Chefs in Cars Getting Takeout. The problem with that was that we had such a great reaction we did so many high-end chefs the first season, we ran out of Canadian Chefs! So, what do we do now? Well, we could do US chefs, or European chefs, but that requires a larger investment and more production values. So, there might be an opportunity down the road, not saying there is, but there might be for larger media or a brand to say we can see how the digital idea can really transcend those walls and work in multiple platforms.
Watch Matt get jolly on December 1st 8pm, he’ll be whipping up brunch favourites like Fried Chicken and Waffles on How to Holiday with Jordin Sparks & Friends.
Interview may be edited for length or clarity.