Roberto Copa Matos

Chef

As a chef who has been educated as a biochemist and has also worked as an artist, Roberto has a singular approach to the kitchen: he treats it as both a laboratory and a studio, creating precise, attractive dishes. Roberto began his journey in 2011 as a chef at Old Havana Sandwich Shop, quite by surprise. But he soon grew to love the craft and profession. 

From the first year it opened, Old Havana consistently won awards for Best of the Triangle and Best of Durham in its categories, including Best Cuban, Best Latin American and Caribbean, and Best Sandwich. 

Before long, Roberto realized that he had found his calling in “cultivating relationships from the soil to the table.” This is the vision that he brings with him to COPA: a passion for connecting diners to the land and history that is steeped into every bite.

Roberto sees today that the serpentine paths of his life have crisscrossed too many times to count, with each intersection bringing him closer to his true calling. Part scientist, part artist, part farmer, Roberto never intended to be a chef—but today he can’t imagine being anything else.