Matt Pancer wth Icy beard and wetsuit

Matt Pancer, creator of “Ras Kitchen” A life spent Traveling, Surfing Frozen Lakes and filming in Jamaica

Matt Pancer surfing in indo

Matt Pancer skating the Bowl at Bondai Beach Skatepark
Ras Kitchen  – Dub Mix on Spotfy.

Matt Pancer is a Surfer, Skater, Video Maker and an overall fun guy from Toronto, Canada. While at home, he got used to surfing the Great Lakes… in Winter!!! (sic!)

He also runs the Youtube Channel “Ras Kitchen”, dedicated to Jamaican cuisine (called “Ital”). The Show recently reached 300.000 subscribers and peaked 25+ Million views!

Star of the Channel is Rasta Mokko, a Jamaican chef who hasn’t been cutting his hair for nearly 50 years.

Rasta Mokko prepares green scrambled eggs?
Green scrambled egg?

I met Matt (excuse the pun) at a random house party in New Zealand, as we found out that we were both heading the same way, we agreed to meet again in Bali, Indonesia (that’s how a traveler’s life goes, pretty much).  So, he became my travel buddy for the first half of my trip to the island of Bali.

Our Scooters in Tabanan, Bali.

Together we explored (and surfed) the southern coast of the Island, driving our Scooters (and surfboards) from the Bukit Peninsula till Pantai Medewi.
I witnessed him filming at an authentic Indonesian dinner organized by himself at a local restaurant (thanks again for that Matt!), and could see how much passion he puts into what he does (and in surfing as well ahah!).

As You have probably understood, he’s an interesting character and I thought he would have been a great guest to start my “Living The Dream”  section about traveling characters!




Let’s hear what he has to say about Cooking, Surfing, his Travel Hacks and Tips for visiting Jamaica!

25 million views!


Hi Matt, please introduce Yourself to the readers!

Hello my name is Matt, aka Matthew aka Mateo aka Matty P! I’m a video creator from Toronto, Canada.

Do You remember how we met?

We met at a house party in the surf town of Raglan, New Zealand….through our Catelonian friend Max & Sara.

I had been living in a 1989 van, …and was on the fence whether to stick it out in NZ, or say f**k it and go to Bali and get out of the cold. We both had a similar mindset, NZ is great but not wanting to live there forever…so Bali was the new choice!

Please tell us about Your Travels. For how long have You been Traveling and how many Countries have You visited so far?

My family moved from Canada to England for one year so that was the first trip out of North America. I think it gave me the travel bug because being 8 years old and seeing all these cool European countries was a big eye opener. I’m not sure how many countries… maybe 30 or so?

Any Favorite Destination?

I think that’s a hard one for anyone to answer, but the last 4 years I’ve been coming to Indonesia and I love it. Massive country, every island is so different from the next. You could spend a lifetime just exploring Indo. Brazil & Australia come to mind too.

What motivated You the most to Hit the Road at the beginning?

Cold weather! I love Canada and I do enjoy part of the winter but it’s way too long for my taste. I try and take off January- April.

Matt pancer surfing

What are the Highlights and Downsides of traveling for You?

At the end of the day I think it’s the people you meet that are the real highlights. There are some very nice waves that are burned into my brain permanently too.

Downsides… not much, maybe explosive diarrhea? That’s never cool!

What’s Your best Travel tip or Travel hack?

Don’t plan! Almost all the coolest stuff I’ve ended up doing has come from not planning. You plan in an extremely general way, and then just roll with it from there.

Yoga balls for massage therapy
You mean this Yoga Balls Matt?

Another actual hack though….my friend Shawno got me these “yoga balls”, 2 balls in a net and another one used for massage. If you’re sitting on long plane/scooter rides, or surfing your brains out, your body can get pretty haggard. I used the 2 balls in the net and place them around my spine and It prevents all kinds of stiffness and uncomfortableness. I use the other one to roll out on my hips, back, shoulders and I swear by them now. Even 2 minutes a night/morning can do wonders.

[Grillo: I browsed for more information about the Therapy Balls Matt is talking about, and I found both the product for sale and this video that explains how to do exercises for your back].

How do you Support your travels?

When I’m in Canada I have a commission based sales job that I do when the weather is good. I also invest in property so I have a few rentals going . I also work as contract videographer and run my YouTube channels. I try to focus on work that is not just a time/money trade, I want to build things that keep on generating income in the future. I’ve never been good at having a “real” job, but for me this works out much better for the lifestyle that I want to live. It always sucks when I have to answer the “so what do you do” question because it’s this long ass explanation…

How does it feel like when You are at Home after all this traveling?

Feels great, I love Toronto especially in good weather. I love being near my family & friends again, always look forward to traveling and being home too.

Surfing on the great lakes

What’s like to Surf those frozen lakes? Brrrr….

Lake surfing is pretty ridiculous, but like many surf sessions it’s all about the journey! Its crazy to be out there with snow and ice, but man when the waves get good it’s still hard to believe that we can surf solid waves even right in the city. No crowds is always good yes?

Ras Kitchen banners on Youtube

Ras Kitchen

Tell us about your YouTube channel: Ras Kitchen

This is the worlds first (and best) Rastafari cooking show, straight from Jamaica. I had the idea to make an Ital cooking show which I tried to pitch to TV networks and failed hard. We just started putting it on YouTube and 9 years later we are still going.

And who is Mokko? How did You meet?

Mokko is the Rasta chef of Ras Kitchen. I met him after scouring the internet to see if anyone had ever done and Ital cooking show (nobody had). Eventually I found a random 1 min clip on YouTube of this very cool Rasta man cooking up some soup. It had his phone number so I called him up and asked if he wanted to make a show.

He said ”ya man!”

Matt Pancer and Rasta Mokko in a river in Jamamica

So your favorite Ras dish is…

Any kind of run-down….lobster, red herring, saltfish. It’s an incredible dish with a coconut sauce. Will blow your mind.

You must have Traveled to Jamaica quite a few times for Your project. Give us a hint for visiting the island!

I recommend going to the less touristy parishes like St Thomas. Get away from the crowds. Those popular places are beautiful, but way too much hustle. And forget those travel warnings, Jamaica overall is not this war zone that the media makes it out to be.

Can You tell us a sentence in Jamaican Patois?

Better watch the show for that! Rasta Mokko can teach you 😉

Which destinations do you still have on Your Bucket list and Where are You going next?

I want to surf in Africa, so have been looking at Angola… somewhere a bit off the beaten path. I’d like to go check out one of those co-working spaces in Colombia or Argentina, those look great too.

Any hint or motivation for a beginner traveler?

Buy a ticket, get your shots & visas but don’t plan too much.

Matt Pancer works on a hammock at the airport

We’re done! You got some extra space for thanks and recommendations!

Thanks to all the cool people I’ve met travelling! Get DuoLingo on your phone, and learn a bit of the local language wherever you are. Even knowing the smallest amount will show people you have an appreciation for their country. Currently learning a bit of Acehnese (language of Aceh Province Sumatra.) So far I know how to say “bohu mangat” (delicious coconut) and it has got a lot of laughs.

Bless up and get out there. Thanks Grillo!


Thanks Matt, enjoy Your travels! 😉


Here you can see the trailer for “Ras Kitchen” from Youtube:

Ras Kitchen also has a website with an online store where T-shirts and other branded items are available. Like this super cool Rasta mug!Rastafari Cup by Ras KitchenMatt Pancer also runs another Travel & Cooking Channel on YouTube:Earthly Eats” . I picked this video about a mission of a group of friends crossing Australia on board of Cabrios from the’ 90…


We have talked about:

Ras Kichen
- YouTube Channel
- Facebook Acount
- Instagram Account
- Stay at Mokko's Place: here or contact him here.

Earthly Eats
- Youtube Channel
Travel Tips
- Yoga Therapy Balls, with video demonstration on YouTube: here.
- Duolingo

Video Making
For interested readers, this is part of the equipment Matt uses for Filming:
- Cameras: Canon XA20,Lumix GH3GoPro Hero 4  
- Lens: 14X140 Lumix17mm Olympus45mm Olympus 
- Microphones: Rode ShotgunRode Videomic Pro

You can follow Matt on Instagram: @jabap

Leave a comment