Matthew Batey | Calgary’s Food & Hospitality Game-Changers 2024

Teatro Group’s Director of Culinary and Chief Operating Officer is guiding the next generation of chefs by providing educational opportunities.

Photo by Jared Sych.

Matthew Batey is an incredibly accomplished chef — anyone who has had the pleasure of eating at Mission Hill Family Estate in Kelowna or at The Nash in Calgary during his respective tenures knows the man can cook. But, in more recent years, as chief operating officer and director of culinary for the Teatro Group, he has shown that he also has a considerable knack for leadership and mentorship. While Batey continues to use those skills in overseeing Teatro’s culinary programs, he has also extended them towards a new, younger generation of budding chefs.

This new role kicked off when, by happenstance, Batey ran into an acquaintance in the Teatro dining room, who asked him to help out at a fundraising event for The Educational Partnership Foundation (TEPF), an organization that runs programs to match high school students with apprenticeships in various trades. As he researched the Foundation, Batey learned that the trades covered didn’t include a cooking program.

Since professional cooking — often painted as a creative or even artistic endeavour, rather than a skill on the same level as welding or carpentry — was not on TEPF’s radar at the time, Batey set out to help launch a program with the Foundation in 2021, giving kids interested in cooking the same opportunities as those looking to explore other skills-related fields.

“Cooking is a hard business for adults, let alone for teenage kids,” Batey says. “A big part of this is being able to get in front of people and dispelling some of the assumed cultural norms of what a professional kitchen looks like.”

With its multiple venues, including Vendome, Alforno, Cucina, EAT (Eighth Avenue Trattoria) and its flagship Teatro Ristorante, the Teatro Group is in a unique position to offer this programming. Each year, a small cohort of high school students spends six weeks exploring different types of kitchens, while earning credits towards their diplomas.

The program isn’t designed to replace a post-secondary program such as those offered by SAIT, but it helps students set an expectation for what a culinary career might look like, while building confidence and soft skills. Plus, it’s a win-win situation for Batey and the Teatro Group — already, its restaurants have taken TEPF graduates on as employees.

“At the end of the day, this, to me, is a really cool opportunity to give back in the way that all of my mentors gave to me,” Batey says. “We need that next generation to enable us to operate successful restaurants.”

Get a weekly serving of suggestions for how to experience Calgary's restaurants, bars and markets by signing up for Avenue’s Food & Drink Newsletter.

This article appears in the March 2024 issue of Avenue Calgary.

Related posts

This New Pizzeria and Bar Serves Up Roman-Style Pizza with Casual Flair

Chris Landry

5 Things We’re Excited to Eat and Drink in June

Alana Willerton

Try Specialty Tacos and Margaritas During Calgary’s Taco Week and Margarita Madness

Chris Landry

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Privacy Policy

Privacy & Cookies Policy
Avenue Calgary