COPA Durham Roberto Copa Matos walks through his farm, Terra Secca, in Hillsborough, NC. Matos, originally from Cuba, studied biochemistry in the University of Havana but immigrated from the island in 2002 due to political oppression. "It has always been my dream to have my own farm and work the land," said Matos. He even attempted to start a small one in his backyard in Cuba before the government shut it down. Roberto Copa Matos holds black beans that he harvested from his farm, Terra Secca, in Hillsborough, NC. Matos's concept is simple: from soil-to-table. He owns the nation's only soil-to-table cuban restaurant and he takes a lot of pride in that. 'It's about cultivating relationships from soil to table. From the moment we harvest our food to the moment where we serve the guest, we are building relationships along the way," says Matos. Roberto Copa Matos harvests lettuce from his farm, Terra Secca, in Hillsborough, NC. His goal is to grow the farm to the point where almost all of the food products he uses at his restaurant come from his farm. One of Roberto Matos's team members cuts lettuce in preparation for the dinner shift at COPA, Roberto's restaurant. Roberto strives to create the best working environment for his employees, who he refers to as team members. "I don't ever ask them to do something I haven't done first. It's really about respect and making sure everyone feels great coming to work," says Matos. He also chooses to pay living wages and provide benefits to all his employees. Roberto Copa Matos is the owner of COPA restaurant in downtown Durham, NC and he is also the chef. "It's like a puzzle sometimes and I always enjoy the challenge of solving it," says Matos about creating successful dishes. His created a simple yet effective menu that is based on traditional cuban dishes. Roberto Copa Matos puts the finishing touches on one of his most famous dishes, 'Copa Vieja a la Americana.' He describes the dish as a "long-forgotten version of Cuba's signature dish, ropa vieja: NC grass-fed beef, slow-cooked with wine, mint, and a light tomato sauce. Served on casava flatbreads." Roberto Copa Matos designed the interior of his restaurant and one of his main priorities was to have an open kitchen concept. The idea is that guests can always see what's going on inside the kitchen. Roberto Copa Matos leads a cooking class in the kitchen of his restaurant, COPA. Before COPA opened, Roberto started a kickstarter in which people could donate money that would be used to complete the interior of the restaurant. Those that donated a certain amount would receive a cooking class and a dinner. Roberto shares a laugh with his wife and co-worker after the Saturday dinner shift ends. One Saturday's, Roberto serves all the left over food so that his team members can have a nice meal before going home. Roberto's hat sits on a table while he eats. "The law makes us wear something on our heads while we are in the kitchen and I though I would wear something that fit the theme of the restaurant," said Matos about his choice of wearing the traditional hat.