Entertainment

Matty Matheson dishes on making The Bear — and his red carpet style

Canadian chef, entrepreneur and actor Matty Matheson opts for homegrown style for red-carpet awards season.

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It’s been a wild ride recently for Matty Matheson.

In between running his restaurants, launching Matheson Food Company, and the clothing line Rosa Rugosa, the busy Canadian multi-hyphenate has been out celebrating the continuing success of his first big TV series.

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Oh, you know, it’s a little FX show called The Bear.

On the show, which centres around a young chef and his passionate restaurant team in a Chicago sandwich-shop-come-fine-dining establishment, Matheson plays the role of Neil Fak, a somewhat-spacey handyman who carves out a front-of-house role for himself by the end of Season 2. Matheson is also a producer on the show.

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The “dramedy” has caused a stir since its premiere in 2022. And the second season has garnered the cast and creators an impressive list of accolades including the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, as well as best actor wins for series stars Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri.

Safe to say, Matheson is enjoying every minute of it.

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“It surprised all of us,” Matheson, speaking over video call from Toronto, said of the series’ buzz. “We made the show, especially the first season, and were like, ‘See you never. That was fun!’

“I don’t think anyone — literally nobody — thought it was going to do what it did. How it’s been received around the world — no one could fathom that. That’s like lightening in a bottle. It doesn’t happen.”

But happen it did. The show quickly became a must-watch series, one of those ubiquitous topics of conversation that arises with family and friends, undoubtedly beginning with, “Have you watched __ yet?” The show’s near-universal appeal, Matheson says, comes down to its “really intense and really human” depiction of life in a professional kitchen.

“I think it made people feel something. And I think that’s really rare,” Matheson says.

Aside from a small stint on the CBC series Workin’ Moms, The Bear is Matheson’s first “real” acting role. No stranger to being in front of the camera — Matheson was the host of Viceland’s It’s Suppertime! and Dead Set on Life, as well as being a regular content creator on his own social-media platforms — The Bear served up a scripted role in a serious actor setting.

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“It’s scary — it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It’s so far out of my comfort zone,” Matheson says. “I’m unscripted. My whole life has been unscripted television. And YouTube and everything else. It’s always been unscripted.”

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The biggest learning curve for the chef-actor, he says, had to do with remembering his lines.

“My brain is so all over the place and crazy. Being myself in front of the camera is easy. I think Fak is pretty similar to how I am. But remembering the words is the hardest part,” Matheson says.

Noting how fast the other actors can carry out their scenes, Matheson recalled times when he would get caught up in the action — and end up starring at Allen White.

“He’s so good at it. It’s amazing,” Matheson says of the buzzy star and viral Calvin Klein model. “Jeremy is crazy. He knows everyone’s lines too. He has the whole script memorized. It’s wild to work with him.”

For the second season, which sees his character Fak take on a more prominent role, Matheson worked his lines with co-star Ricky Staffieri, who plays Matheson’s brother on the show.

“He sat with me every night,” he says. “If I don’t have everything memorized before I go to bed, I’m not going to have it memorized the next day. So I have to have it actually memorized the day before. I can’t just read something and, like, bang it out. I’m too fried — in the sense that I’m too scared.”

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Matty Matheson
Matty Matheson with FIJI Water at the 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards on Jan. 14 in Los Angeles. Photo by Phillip Faraone /Getty Images for FIJI Water

For the busy awards show season, Matheson has leaned into his Canadian connections, working with retailer Harry Rosen to create custom suits through the company’s HAROLD collection.

“I need a lot of suits, it seems,” Matheson says of the packed awards schedule. So far, Rosen has made 10 suits and five tuxedos for Matheson. It’s a homegrown connection the busy chef and actor is happy to continue.

“It’s amazing. I still live in Canada. I love Canada. And to be able to wear a Canadian brand like Harry Rosen and HAROLD, it makes me feel good,” he says.

Matheson laughingly notes how his red-carpet style has gained him recognition on fashion lists around the world.

“I definitely didn’t think that stuff was going to happen,” he says. “I’m getting mentioned with all the top-tier people. And on a lot of best-dressed lists. It’s a trip.

“Everything with a grain of salt, but it’s cool. Like anything, it’s cool to be recognized. It’s cool to be like, ‘Oh, what I’m doing is making other people feel something.’ I like wearing what I’m wearing, so it’s an amazing win.”

While his acting career is, by all accounts, going quite well — a fact Matheson notes repeatedly that he’s very grateful for — the Canadian chef isn’t ready to hang up his apron any time soon.

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“Restaurants and cooking has given me everything. I wouldn’t be anywhere if I didn’t go to cooking school and find a love. It’s been 24 years since I was in cooking school and my whole trajectory has been toward this one thing,” Matheson says. “I always say, ‘The Bear is like my side gig. My reality is my restaurants. My reality is everything that I have outside of that (show).’ ”

Amid the lingering award show buzz — which includes the commentary about that Emmy Awards kiss by The Bear co-star Ebon Moss-Bachrach — Matheson and the cast are heading back to Chicago to shoot the third season of the award-winning show, which is slated to air in June.

“We all have the same mentality of like, ‘We are going in shooting the third season.’ And everyone is like, ‘Yo, let’s just put the blinders on, and put our heads down and try to make the show that we all love making,’ ” he says of their collective approach. “I think that’s what has gotten us here.”

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The Bear cast
From left, Lionel Boyce, Ayo Edebiri, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Liza Colon-Zayas, Abby Elliott, Matty Matheson and Jeremy Allen White, winners of the Best Comedy Series award for The Bear, pose in the press room during the 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on Jan. 14 in Santa Monica, Calif. Photo by Frazer Harrison /Getty Images

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