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Monthly Archives: July 2014

There are chefs and then there is Eric Ripert whose passion for cuisine, French cuisine in particular, continues to benefit the world. Let’s just say that if Ripert’s passion was poured into another profession, then the world will miss out on many of the best seafood dishes ever to pleasure the palate of men.

Ripert, a French chef and television personality with specialty in modern French cuisine in general and seafood dishes in particular, has many feathers in his toque. His flagship restaurant, Le Bernardin in the Big Apple, is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best restaurants by chefs, critics and gourmands alike – and every cent spent on its expensive menu is well worth each to-die for morsel.

The restaurant has made a consistent appearance in S. Pellegrino’s annual list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, was awarded the 1997 Best Restaurant in America by GQ, and the 1998 Outstanding Restaurant of the Year by the James Beard Foundation.

But these accolades fade in comparison with the Holy Grail, so to speak, of the restaurant business – the Michelin Guide star. Le Bernardin was awarded the maximum 3 Michelin stars for its excellence in cuisine, a feat that too few restaurants will match on a consistent basis.

And because it is in New York City, the New York Times’ opinion matters, too. Le Bernardin has been awarded the maximum 4 stars by the esteemed publication for its cuisine, which makes it the only restaurant to maintain the prestigious status for 10 years.

It’s no wonder then that the restaurant has been dubbed as the Temple of Seafood! New Yorkers go to Le Bernardin to worship Ripert and his creations – or perhaps, just to get a taste of what seafood should taste like.

Of course, the success of Le Bernardin is the success of Ripert. His passion for cuisine has been recognized many times over – the 1998 Top Chef of New York City and the 2003 Outstanding Chef of the Year, both by the James Beard Foundation. His dishes and desserts have been raved about in countless culinary magazines and have sent diners to culinary heaven and back again for more.

Ripert’s a nice guy, too, judging from his television appearances – yet another reason to rejoice that we have a passionate chef in our midst.


One of the most notable personalities that have been featured in TED blog is Cindy Gallop, an English entrepreneur born on February 1, 1960 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. She currently works as a CEO and an advertising consultant.

Gallop is famous for the companies that she founded. She is the former chair of the advertising firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty and handled huge companies like Ray-Ban, Coca-Cola and Polaroid. It was in 1998 that she opened the US branch of the company. She is also the person behind the controversial websites IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn. Before she turned to advertising, she has a strong background in theater publication for several years. She remains to be a celebrated icon in public speaking and specializes in the areas of business strategy, branding and advertising.

Although Gallop was born in England, she was raised in Brunei. She is English and half Chinese decent and has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Oxford University. She best describes herself as “the Michael Bay of business”.

Jay Van Andel is one of the commemorated icons in Grand Rapids with his name appearing in various landmarks in the city. He was one of the celebrated entrepreneurs in the 20th century and is notable for co-founding Amway Corporation.

Listed as one of the richest men in the world with a net worth of more than $2.3 billion, Van Andel passed away in 2004, the same year that his wife Betty died. His wife had Alzheimer’s and he had Parkinson’s. His entrepreneurial skills didn’t just benefit his own pockets, but also touched the lives of millions who were able to make living out of his business Amway Corporation. He is best known for his strong support for free enterprise and his strong faith in Christianity. These two things have made him an influential figure far beyond his native Grand Rapids.

His strong determination to break through in the world of business is made evident when he started marketing the supplements they manufactured through person-to-person means. He knocked door to door, explained his product and made demonstrations to market their first Amway product, L.O.C, a biodegradable household cleaner. His amiable personality and his strong command in doing sales talk have paved his company’s way to success.

Other than being an entrepreneur, he is also known as a philanthropist who has been actively giving back to the community he lives in. He has made millions of donations to conservative causes and has backed the Republican Party. He invested in smaller businesses and helped others succeed. He was strongly committed to making his community better and making his success touch other people’s lives.

His salesmanship was even evident prior to the creation of the multi-billion business. When he was still 15, he was already showing his being business-minded by charging 25 cents a week to let his classmate ride with him to school in his Model A Ford. He used the money to buy gas.

With a reported net worth of $1.4 billion by San Antonio Express-News, Billy Joe “Red” McCombs is ranked as the 913th richest man in the world in 2012. He started raking in his billions by selling cars – Ford Edsels. At his prime, he owned 55 dealerships which he still has to date.

Born in 1927, Billy Joe Combs became famous for his nickname “Red” because of his hair color. This name stuck until now. He is famous not only for his business but also in his ventures into sports. He was the former owner of famous teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Vikings.

Just last year, he hosted the inaugural Formula One Grand Prix race in Texas at the new race track, the Circuit of the Americas.

He is the founder of the Red McCombs Automotive Group in San Antonio Texas, Chairman of Academi and a co-founder of Clear Channel Communications.

The 19th richest American and the world’s 47th wealthiest man is a native of Oregon. Not only is he a business magnate but is also a well-loved philanthropist with millions of dollars of donations to his two Alma Mater: University of Oregon and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Philip Hampson “Phil” Knight was born February 24, 1938. He is the son of William W. Knight, a lawyer who turned into a newspaper publisher and his wife Lota Hatfield. Thinking that he will just find a job on his own, his father didn’t even allow him to get a summer job in his own newspaper company the Oregon Journal. With this decision, Phil went to their rival publisher the Oregonian.

His entrepreneurial skill was awakened while attending Stanford Graduate School of Business. It was his stop in Kobe, Japan that he stumbled upon his gold mine. In November 1962, while in Japan he discovered the Tiger-brand running shoes. With his interest in track, he was very amazed with the quality of the footwear that he requested to meet up with the Mr. Onitsuka, the owner of the label. He requested for samples to be sent to the US and he introduced this to Bill Bowerman with hopes of sales and endorsements. Bowerman was his coach and will soon become his business partner.

With Bowerman’s interest in the product and his design ideas coming into play, they partnered on January 25, 1964 to create Blue Ribbon Sports. This company will soon become the number one brand name in running shoes, Nike. It was Jeff Johnson,a friend of Knight who suggested the name Nike, after the Greek winged goddess of victory. The company’s logo, which would soon become one of the most powerful brands in the world was designed by Carolyn Davidson for $35.

With estimated net worth of $14.4 billion, Phil Knight sits as the chairman of the board of Nike after he abandoned his CEO post on November 18, 2004. He is currently busy with his Knight Foundation together with his wife Penny whom he married on September 13, 1968.


Thanks to Murad Al-Katib, Canada is well on its way to becoming the largest exporter and producer of pulse crops like beans, chickpeas, and lentils in the world. He and his company, Alliance Grain Traders, Inc. are at the forefront, dominating lentil exports with a 40% cut of the market. Sales shot up from $35 million in 2004 to a whopping $760 million in 2011.

But Al-Katib doesn’t ship raw products. Instead, he has a network of 12 factories that add value to the products he exports through extensive processing, like separating lentils according to colour to suit preferences unique to certain regions. Thankfully, technology is on Al-Katib’s side, simplifying the work to optimize output.

With and estimated worth C$1,093,400 in 2013, Al-Katib is definitely doing well in business. A year earlier, he was given the BASF Pulse Pioneer Award in 2012 for his extraordinary contribution to the growth of the pulse industry in Canada.

Mihal “Mike” Lazaridis is a businessman and investor, best known for founding Research in Motion or BlackBerry as it is known today. Passionate about the capabilities of basic science to transform the world, he also co-started Quantum Valley Investments with his childhood friend Douglas Fregin. Fregin also had a role in founding BlackBerry. Aside from BlackBerry and Quantum Valley Investments, Lazaridis also founded the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, in which he serves as the Chairman of the Board. With a net worth of $800 million, Lazaridis was ranked as the 17th richest Canadian by Forbes in 2011.

Lazaridis has a colorful heritage, born in Istanbul to Greek parents and growing up in Canada. At a young age, he showed keen interest in science, winning a prize for reading every science book in the Windsor Public Library when he was 12 years old. He went to the University of Waterloo to study electrical engineering in 1979. In 1984, Lazaridis responded to a General Motors request for a network computer control display system to be developed. He was awarded the contract, prompting him to drop out of school in the same year even though he was set to graduate in two months. It was thanks, in part, to this contract though that Lazaridis was able to launch Research in Motion.

Over the course of his career, Lazaridis was given several distinctions, including an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree given by the University of Waterloo, a spot on the Maclean’s Honour Roll, membership in the Order of Ontario, and officership in the Order of Canada. He also adds an Emmy and an Academy Award for technical achievements to his list of successes. For his work with BlackBerry, many recognize Lazaridis as the father of the smartphone, a visionary and an innovator.

Kunal Gupta is the CEO and co-founder of Polar Mobile, a platform-provider for digital media distribution. Started when he was 22 years old, the company today boasts of a customer base in 12 countries handled by a staff of 50.

Every year, Polar Mobile grows, and Gupta is glad of all the help he’s received to be successful in business, like the $6 million funding the company received which helped it release a new product line called MediaEverywhere. According to Gupta, MediaEverywhere, a software platform developed to distribute various types of media content across connected screens, is the big goal. Powering and monetizing content is what drives the young entrepreneur to persevere in the industry.

Before Polar Mobile, Gupta established the Impact Entrepreneurship Group, a non-profit organizaton ran entirely by students to support aspiring young entrepreneurs. Gupta saw the kind of impact receiving help at the early stages could give a budding businessman and so the organization was born.

Robert Deluce is the founder, President, and CEO of Porter Airlines, a short-haul airline based in Toronto, Canada which started operating in 2006. He was an executive for other airlines before and he brings his experiences with these companies to Porter Airlines, which include owning, financing, operating, restructuring, and managing in the aviation industry. Some of the airlines Deluce has worked with in the past include Austin Airways, White River Air Services, and Canada 3000 Airlines. Aside from Porter Airlines, he is also the President of Deluce Capital Corp and President and CEO of Porter Aviation Holdings Inc. In total, Deluce has more than 50 years of experience in the airline business to fall back on, thanks to his family.

Porter Airlines is cruising the skies of Canada now but it wasn’t smooth-sailing for Deluce at the start. Like anyone who’s ever ventured into a business, he was faced with a lot of challenges just to get his company off the ground. There was the problem with the bridge that would connect the Island Airport in Toronto to the mainland, the lawsuit form Jazz, the previous airline using the building that Deluce bought in the Island Airport, and the people and the politicians. But not like the others, Deluce persevered, bringing out every ounce of determination he has to take Porter Airlines where it is now.

Deluce is one of nine children born to Stanley Matthew and Barbara Deluce in Ontario, Canada. Aviation has always been in the family, what with his father a part of the Royal Canadian Air Force who opened a small flying service after the war to cater to tourists going to Lake Superior. Deluce became a pilot when he was a teenager and returned to work for the family after finishing his schooling. Since then, the man has been around airplanes and there’s no stopping him just yet.