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Chef Ignacio Mattos Cooked For Obama And Conquered New York

Ignacio Mattos
Chef Ignacio Mattos at Estela, his downtown bistro in New York. Adriana Glaviano

Ignacio Mattos, a renowned chef in New York, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his esteemed restaurant, Estela, on Houston Street. Since its inception, this intimate downtown bistro has garnered accolades from food critics and earned a coveted Michelin star. It’s now an obligatory foodie destination, firmly established in the local dining scene. Its dedicated clientele sometimes dine there two or three times a week (which they can track on an app).

Mattos now has four restaurants and a hotel. Lodi in Rockefeller Center with its art deco flair, is inspired by Milanese bars and offers pastries. Altro Paradiso is an Italian restaurant in the heart of SoHo, while Corner Bar in the group’s Nine Orchard Hotel has a chic city bistro vibe. All of his restaurants are elegant and meticulously appointed, yet fresh and inviting. His dishes may seem simple, but they never fail to impress with quality ingredients, careful plating, precise technique and surprising flavors.

Grilled Berkshire pork with English peas, fava beans in pork broth, and fresh greens is one of the dishes by Chef Ignacio Mattos served at Estela restaurant.Grilled Berkshire pork with English peas, fava beans in pork broth, and fresh greens is one of the dishes by Chef Ignacio Mattos served at Estela restaurant. Adriana Glaviano

Mattos invited us to meet him at Estela. His staff asked us to wait for him at the marble bar, but he arrives before we have a chance to sit down. Mattos is wearing a white T-shirt, just like in his photos, and his intense gaze immediately grabs our attention. He appears focused and relaxed, ready to share a story without any obvious Uruguayan influences. It mostly unfolds in New York, a city that welcomes people from all corners of the planet.

Mattos orders us a dish to share: Ahi tuna sashimi served with an oil style emulsion made from infused fish bones, squid ink and olive oil accompanied by Ponzu sauce. The dish features endives with walnuts, anchovies and ubriaco rosso cheese. It also includes miso-infused zucchini with pine nuts, as well as a house specialty — fried black rice with squid and romesco sauce. The entire menu is inspired by the city’s immigrants and their food. “I wanted everything to feel very New York,” said Mattos.

Gastronomy has become something of a fetish and chefs are opening more and more restaurants. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s the solution, but it’s one way to do it.” He is known as a hands-on chef who happily takes on cooking and dishwashing duties when needed. He did this frequently at Estela, but acknowledges that with four restaurants and 500 employees, he started delegating tasks. “I used to go to the market every week for 17 years. I still go, but just when I’m cooking at home.” He believes gastronomy isn’t for everyone, but it’s still his passion. Personal time and family are important — he has a 12-year-old son from a previous relationship, and an infant son with his current partner, Laila Gohar, an internationally recognized artist who works with food as her creative medium.

Mattos began cooking out of necessity. He spent his childhood in the countryside of Capurro and Santa Lucía, in Uruguay. “I grew up with a grandmother who never said, ‘I love you’ — that was not part of her vocabulary,” said Mattos. “But the way we expressed love was through food. Me and my two brothers, we grew up in the countryside, you know, with all the things that come with it. In the summer, we’d make peaches and plums in syrup, tomatoes, jams, and even wine. But in the winter, I’d have to go out and butcher a pig in the cold and listen to it scream.” Mattos was put in charge of the cooking when he became a vegan because his grandmother didn’t understand what that was all about. “When I was 12, I noticed that my friends weren’t eating well, so I started baking bread and cakes that I sold to them.” At the age of 16, he started working in a catering service and moved to Montevideo. “That’s where I figured out that cooking would be my thing. It’s not like I really had much of a choice, you know? I wanted to leave Uruguay and become independent.”

Luckily, Mattos ended up in the right hands, in the right place, and at the right time. In Montevideo, he apprenticed under Michel Kéréver, one of Alain Passard’s mentors, and at Francis Mallmaman’s restaurant, Los Negros, where he stayed for seven years. “I’ve traveled with him, working on various projects, and let me tell you, it’s had a huge impact on me. It’s been such a fantastic opportunity to explore and experiment in different settings. There are very few people who do it as well as Francis.” Mallman said Mattos “doesn’t rely on pure innovation to express himself through his food. Instead, he lets his explicit and universal flavors be the only guide to his meals. He was actually the first to hide the main ingredient in the dish presentation, turning each bite into an exciting discovery.”

Ignacio MattosIgnacio Mattos at work in his kitchen.

Mattos came to New York for the first time 17 years ago with Mallman, his mentor. “I arrived with nothing but a job with Francis. I left and then came back, still with nothing. I owe it all to the connections I made in restaurants. Conquering New York wasn’t even on my mind. It was always about cooking and being consistent.” He also spent time at Zuni Café with Judy Rodgers (San Francisco), apprenticed under Martin Berasategui in Lasarte (Spain), and roasted meats in Da Cesare (Albareto Della Torre, Italy). In São Paulo, he handled up to 1,600 place settings daily at Paola Carosella’s A Figueira Rubaiyat. Mattos reopened Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires until it was time to return in a big way to the United States. “I was looking for a new challenge, and then this amazing opportunity came up to cook at Chez Panisse with Alice Waters in California. I ended up spending about a year and a half there. It was such an exciting time for me with so many opportunities. But I realized that I wanted to come back to New York — it’s home for me.”

He served as the chief executive of Italian restaurant Il Buco for five and a half years. In 2011, he seized the opportunity to open Isa in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Initially offering a wood-fired cooking menu, he added a refined and experimental touch. The goal was to make it accessible to young people with plates for $45, plus wine. Isa quickly gained popularity and attracted top chefs like Fredrick Berselius of Michelin-starred restaurant Aska, Fabian Von Hauske and Jeremiah Stone of Contra, and Pam Yung and José Ramírez-Ruiz from Semilla. “It was a very interesting team that won over a lot of people, but not everyone got it, and the numbers didn’t work.” Mattos, once hailed by food critics, had to close his first restaurant. With a newborn son (Paco), he found himself in a city that devours even the greatest chefs, wondering what to do next.

Chef Ignacio Mattos' Estela restaurant in New York City.Chef Ignacio Mattos’ Estela restaurant in New York City. Adrianna Glaviano

“So there I was, no job and up against the wall. It was now or never. I knew I wanted something different, something of my own. The Nordic era of Noma was booming, and everyone was jumping on the bandwagon. That’s when it hit me — I wanted to create simple, well-made food in a cozy atmosphere that would feel like a party.” Estela opened in June 2013 and survived the summer. Four months later, they couldn’t accommodate all the crowds. “It became the place where everyone wanted to hang out because there wasn’t any other casual spot as good as ours. We paid off the investment in just a year and a half – miracles really do happen!” As if that wasn’t enough, President Barack Obama himself paid a visit and everything just exploded. “A whole entourage of 32 cars rolled in. The streets were closed off for several blocks on all sides. They had helicopters, snipers — the whole thing. Everyone turned to look when he came in and started applauding, like it was a soccer game or something. It was a real spectacle!” Since then, Chef Ignacio Mattos has been unstoppable.

Just like his signature dishes, the flavor comes from the heart. Mattos learned to say “I love you” through food, elevating it to an exquisite art. He spent countless hours in the kitchen, relentlessly pushing boundaries, to create a welcoming universe that tantalizes the senses. This Uruguayan maestro embarked on the journey of the American dream to honor the very countryside that shaped him.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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