Celebrity Chefs: Q&A with some of Mississauga’s most notable local chefs

Published May 26, 2021 at 5:06 pm

Mississauga has a wide variety of some of the best restaurants that make the city an incredible place to be a foodie – and a ton of talented chefs who are proud to call Mississauga their home. We’re highlighting some of the most notable local chefs and restaurants in our #MississaugaMade Chef Series, brought to you by Tourism Mississauga and insauga.

From Italian to Indian, from Port Credit to Streetsville, we’ve sat down with some local celebrity chefs to hear their thoughts on everything related to food and food service, as well as their history, inspirations, and some personal quirks you might never have expected!

Be sure to check back each month as we continue to update the #MississaugaMade Chef Series with more Celebrity Chef Q&A’s this summer.


Chef Humberto Sanchez, Bar Catalina

Address: 231 Lakeshore Rd E, Mississauga
Neighbourhood: Port Credit
Website: barcatalina.ca

Humberto Sanchez is the owner of Bar Catalina, the only Spanish restaurant in Port Credit that features the delicious and authentic Spanish rice dish known as paella. Humberto has starred on several Food Network TV series, such as Chopped Canada and Fire Masters.

What inspired you to become a chef?

Humberto: I remember begging my first kitchen manager to give me an opportunity to become a cook because as a dishwasher, I was only making $6.25 an hour. I heard that cooks made $9 to $10, so that gave me a strong incentive to learn how to create delicious dishes.

Tell us about your cuisine/menu and its history.

Humberto: There was a time in an area of Spain where people didn’t have many ingredients and there weren’t a lot of resources available. They created a dish with rice, chicken, rabbit, and some vegetables, and turned it into something so magnificent, now known as paella. I love Spanish cuisine and I want to represent it well.

Tell us about a monumental turning point in your career.

Humberto: Being able to participate in Food Network’s Chopped Canada and Fire Masters was an experience that completely change my life. Also, being able to teach and mentor the new generations of cooks in the city.

What inspired you to start your restaurant?

Humberto: Mississauga needed a restaurant like Catalina where you can have tapas and paellas, plus grilled meats and fish served in a stylish setting with a cozy, glamorous feel. Let yourself be carried away by the uplifting rhythms of Spanish music with family and friends, and enjoy the same atmosphere that you can find in your favourite bar in Spain.

Why did you choose to set up shop in Mississauga?

Humberto: I love Sauga, I live here, it is an amazing multicultural city close to everything around. One day while driving I saw the place and right away I knew it was perfect for a Spanish restaurant, being in Port Credit where we have a wide variety of restaurants and people really enjoy eating out.

What is your favorite go-to restaurant in Mississauga?

Humberto: The Wilcox Gastropub, Capra’s Kitchen, and Pho Ngoc Yen.

What are three of your restaurant’s most popular dishes?

Humberto: Seafood paella (Pescado y mariscos), Valenciana paella (Paella valenciana –traditional valencian classic paella), and Iberian ham croquettes (Croquetas de jamon iberico).

What is your least favourite ingredient to use?

Humberto: Onion, I just can’t eat it haha!

What do you dunk your fries in?

Humberto: Ketchup!

What ingredient wouldn’t you use in a paella, taco, eggs, pasta?

Humberto: Chorizo, I love chorizo but it does not belong in paella!

What is your one go-to ingredient?

Humberto: Tomato. I could eat tomato and bread by itself!

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a chef?

Humberto: Respect the ingredients you are using, think about the producer, the fishermen, only use what you need. To make good food you only need good ingredients and great execution, and more importantly a pinch of salt!


Chef Rick Matharu, Rick’s Good Eats

Address: 6660 Kennedy Rd #1, Mississauga
Neighbourhood: Derry West
Website: ricksgoodeats.ca

Rick Matharu runs Rick’s Good Eats, located on the border of Mississauga and Brampton. The restaurant is best known for offering an incredible array of North American and Indian fusion dishes. Rick rose to celebrity chef status after winning Food Network’s Recipe to Riches Season 2.

What inspired you to become a chef?

Rick: My inspiration comes from the way food can bring joy to a person’s day. Seeing the way people’s eyes would light up when they eat something amazing is incredible. I love witnessing how food can allow conversations to happen, people to open up, share a meal, and connect. Food is a gateway to learn about new cultures and worlds. I love seeing and being a part of how food can transform an experience! Also, A LOT of watching Food Network as a kid inspired my love of the cooking world and all the different ways you could interact with food!

Tell us about your cuisine/menu and its history.

Rick: My cuisine is a reflection of me, my identity, my upbringing. Growing up in my diverse area, I was exposed to so many different cultures and their food. In my own home, my mom was experimenting with fusion food forever and so my style of cooking comes from that experience. My cuisine is a living history that reflects the immigrant story of my Punjabi heritage and my Canadian life.

Tell us about a monumental turning point in your career.

Rick: Winning Food Network’s Recipe to Riches completely changed my life. The food world before that was a passion project while I ran my food blog and used food as a creative outlet. After winning Recipe to Riches, I began to see food as a career and something I could pursue. Being able to represent my community on a national and even international scale was huge for me. It was the first time so much of the South Asian community felt seen and represented. I’m always so proud to be able to do that with my community.

What inspired you to start your restaurant?

Rick: After running my food blog for years, people would always message or comment saying that they would love to try what I would create and post. We started with a pop-up series, just seeing if people would actually turn out and come support us based off of our online presence, and it worked! Every week we would sell out of our gourmet samosas. For a year we popped up out of my house, doing drop-offs and pickups from friends, family, and acquaintances. As word spread we started getting some really cool opportunities. Private events at tech companies, afterparties at TIFF, and the pop-up turnouts started getting bigger. We started popping up in my friend’s restaurant and then eventually grew out of that too. We needed a permanent home and that’s when we finally took the leap to open up a brick and mortar shop after almost two years of pop-ups.

Why did you choose to set up shop in Mississauga?

Rick: I always say it was fate! The location off the highway, close to so many major roadways, and the diversity and accessibility all made it a great fit! It’s so close to the airport and we loved seeing people come off the plane and come straight here, as we have now become a destination spot. It feels like we are in the middle of it all.

What is your favourite local restaurant in Mississauga?

Rick: As a chef and foodie, it is SO HARD to just pick one! For pizza it’s got to be Luca’s or Marconi’s. I love Masrawy’s, Owl of Minerva and of course Capra’s Kitchen.

What are three of your restaurant’s most popular dishes?

Rick: Our top sellers have got to be our Tandoori Fried Chicken Sandwich that we call the RFC, our Loaded Fries with either Butter Chicken or Shahi Paneer and all the fixings, our Shahi Paneer Naanwich which is my twist on a grilled cheese, and our Punjabi Cheeseburger which was named the top under-the-radar burger on insauga!

What is your least favourite ingredient to use?

Rick: When I was a kid, my Dad would load up my sandwiches for school with cucumbers and now I’m not a huge fan!

What do you dunk your fries in?

Rick: Mayo! I got a lot of different types of mayo in the restaurant and even when I’m home or out, I gotta get a good mayo or aioli to dunk those fries in!

What ingredient wouldn’t you use in pasta?

Rick: This might be a little controversial but I don’t think veggies belong in pasta! It’s just filler to me, haha!

What is your one go-to ingredient?

Rick: Garlic. Lots and lots of garlic!

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a chef?

Rick: PREP IS EVERYTHING! Always be prepared for any situation as much as you can be. If you think you’re prepared, prepare some more. Better to be over ready and kill it than feel like you’re scrambling!

When you’re not at the restaurant, what is your favourite thing to do or place to visit in Mississauga?

Rick: When I’m not at the restaurant, I love being outside on the beautiful trails. I’m lucky to live by Erindale Park and Rattray Marsh, so going for long walks or a bike-ride near the river and by the lake is so peaceful.


Stay tuned for more local #MississaugaMade Chef Series videos and Q&A’s coming soon!

For more information about #MississaugaMade, or to find more local restaurants near you, visit MississaugaMade.ca.

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