Matty Matheson Has the Māori Tattoo But His Te Reo Needs Work


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Matty Matheson Has the Māori Tattoo But His Te Reo Needs Work

The optimistic Canadian chef is eating his way through the South Seas for the new season of DEAD SET ON LIFE. We went to Thames for a bit of a hello.

Matty Matheson kicks off his third season with a muddy, hangi filled trip to New Zealand. DEAD SET ON LIFE premieres 8.30pm July 1 on VICELAND on SKY Channel.

It's 2pm. It could be 28 degrees on the Coromandel Peninsula but feels hotter. Matty is napping. Matty is an avid napper according to his mates. Someone is sent to fetch him. Maybe half an hour later a minivan shows up. Matty has arrived. He's not sleepy. It's all go. Pre-nap they were diving for mussels and caught some snapper and now it's time to cook. One of the boys, son of "Uncle Fabian", owner of the location they are using says "if you lived here you would get sick of snapper." He wishes for kingfish.


Morgan McGlone of Belle's Fried Chicken in Melbourne, described by Matty as "that big Maori guy" sharpens his filleting knife. They are making ceviche and crudo. Someone asks what is the diff. Matty explains ceviche is marinated and slowly cooks the fish, crudo is just raw.

Matty is more crudo than ceviche. What you see is what you get. He's the same in front and behind camera. There's no underbelly. His nose is getting burnt but he doesn't care, making the most of his sunburn time because in two days he's going to be reunited his wife and son in freezing Toronto. Mixed blessings.

VICE: Hi Matty. Ok, first question. Do you know what the word stink means, in New Zealand?
Matty Matheson: Stink? No. What does it mean.

It means lame or dumb.
Okay good, I need to know this stuff.

Next one, have you picked up any Māori words?
Uh, I learned mean Māori mean? Mean Māori mean? I think it means like "goodbye"? Like kind of a welcome/goodbye thingy?

That's maybe slang.
Yeah? Mean Māori mean? And then I learned kumara? The sweet potato, yeah right, kumara? Kia ora? Kia ora's where you pay what you think you owe, right?

I learned koha. I didn't really learn anything.

Next. Do you know about stuff other than cooking, what's the best non cooking thing you know?
The best non-cooking thing? Obviously I know stuff outside of cooking. I think right now I'm learning to be a father, and I think that's probably the most important thing, learning is a sensitive soft issue but I think learning to be a better husband, learning to make our family three, rather than two, is a big thing, you know? It's such an amazing strong connection with my son and my wife and just learning how to live in this new way. It's really easy because you love your son, or your children, so much, and I'm lucky that I love my wife and my wife loves me as much as we do, so. But learning how to be a dad and how to give in a different way is a really amazing thing to be learning right now.


Yeah? I'm a pretty patient guy. I'm not like a crazy, yeah, I'm a pretty patient dude. I've chilled out a lot in the last like three years. I used to be I think a little more of a spaz, a little more aggro.
What I've learned is if you can support your wife emotionally, physically, whatever your wife needs for the first year, do.

Maybe two years.
Two years? Yeah! Things I've learned is don't take anything she says to heart, just listen to her and if she needs something, then fucking give it to her. She's raising a child.

You've been away from home a lot lately.
A season's eight episodes. We're gone about seven days for an episode, travel days plus shooting, so we're gone about two and a half months a season, maybe close to three months. I've shot two seasons this year plus all of the other stuff that I'm doing, so I've been gone at least six or seven months this year, so yeah, it's tough but it's what I'm doing, I'm lucky that I have a wife that supports me in the ways that she does, you know?

We dated in high school, we've had it all out and we've stayed together, and had a good time and everything hasn't been perfect but I think when I stopped drinking it really helped things. I was an asshole but like I was never like a fuckin….I just liked partying you know? So I think once I stopped drinking it really changed our relationship. I talked more, I became a little more sensitive I guess, so. We've been together for 17 years. I'm 34. It's a long fucking time.


Why were you drinking so much?
I just liked partying.

So you weren't like, sad or miserable? There wasn't something you were running away from?
No! The thing that I've definitely found out since I've stopped drinking is I don't have a lot of demons. I just loved getting smashed. I loved doing drugs, getting as bent as I could, that's it.
I just didn't want to stop, and then it turned into a problem, and once it turned it to a problem, that was the thing that was wild.

So we all want to know about your Dead Set on Life philosophy, and if you got a tattoo here?
My philosophy is just try to be positive and be a better person and I think a lot of people have lived hard lives, interesting lives, sad lives, and there's people out there who have made decisions to live differently and I think that's something that I've done and I think I'm attracted to that. I'm attracted to damaged goods that have come up and have put themselves back together and are living in a new positive way, you know? It's good shit. People can go pretty dark side.

People can change though. If they want to.
Everyone can. There's gotta be some willingness. That's why it's so easy to shoot and so easy to fucking bounce around and do all this shit because I'm just being me, meeting people and kind of relating with things. Some people are worse off, some people aren't worse off.

And I did get a tattoo? I got a Māori tattoo. Yeah it was cool because it was like my son, my wife, my parents. We told a little story, which is cool.


Okay, my last question is really good, basically what do you think of Donald Trump, if you don't see the news or Internet a lot he's pretty much the new Prime Minister of America.
He's not a Prime Minister.

He's like a Prime Minister but they call him the President.
I don't know, he's a piece of shit.

Okay good, that'll be your end quote.

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Watch DEAD SET ON LIFE on VICELAND, SKY Channel 13, SATURDAYS at 8:30pm.