Created with Sketch.
The Lighthouse Conversations
45 minutes | Oct 14, 2021
“Investing is about proving a thesis.” Feras Jalbout on the nascent investing culture in the region, crypto currencies and launching his trading app Baraka
In today’s episode, Hashem caught up with Feras Jalbout, founder of fintech app Baraka. A UAE-based platform, Baraka’s motto is empowering the investor and encouraging broader financial literacy among millennials and Gen Z’s in the Middle East. Hashem and Feras also discussed his pivot from private wealth management to launching Baraka, the future of crypto currencies, and Feras’ dress code tip for increasing efficiency.
45 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
“Barbeque is an analogue experience.” Hattem Mattar on the subtle science of live fire cuisine and why he finally made the jump to a full time gig
Welcome back, listeners! In our first episode post-summer, host Hashem Montasser caught up with Hattem Mattar, founder of The Mattar Farm for specialty artisanal smoked meat, brisket and third culture barbecues. Hashem and Hattem chatted about the hybridity of his upbringing; life as a father of two young children; and what finally pushed him to turn The Mattar Farm from side gig to main gig. Hashem and Hattem also delved into the subtle science of live fire cuisine and why Hattem does not see The Mattar Farm as a scalable business...for now.
45 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
“Nothing is more important than the founder.” Khaled Talhouni on his journey from venture capital to supporting startups with Nuwa Capital
This week we dive into the world of venture capital and startup investing as Hashem catches up with Khaled Talhouni, Founder and Managing Director of Nuwa Capital, a Dubai/Riyadh-based investment platform he set up with partners Stephanie Nour Prince and Sarah Abu Risheh. Hashem and Khaled discuss his journey in the early days of venture investing in Dubai and why he prefers investing in a startup rather than operating one. Khaled shares his views on identity politics and the startup ecosystem in the Middle East vs. Silicon Valley. Hashem and Khaled also talk about what goes into supporting a startup and why the founder is the most important part of the equation.Links A glimpse into the Careem mafia Why software is eating the world
51 minutes | Jul 8, 2021
“I had a feeling of hybridity that I wanted to both capture and express” Hashem Montasser on his journey from Wall Street to building The Lighthouse from the ground up
This week we reunited with one of our favorite podcast guests from 2020, Fatafeat founder and overall renaissance man, Youssef El Deeb. Having met last summer just as The Lighthouse reopened post-lockdown, Hashem and Youssef formed a bond over chocolate cake, books and a shared nostalgia for Egypt’s ancien regime. In this episode, the tables were turned with Youssef playing host and Hashem as the guest in the hot seat. Through Youssef’s thoughtfully penned questions, Hashem talked about his childhood in 80’s Cairo and the journey from becoming one of the only Egyptian traders working on the trading floor during the Wall Street era of 1990s in New York, to planting the idea of a concept store cum restaurant and establishing The Lighthouse in 2017.
46 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
“When it comes to homegrown concepts in Dubai, this is only the beginning.” Sandy El Hayek on Dubai’s F&B scene & how to play it for the long haul
This week Hashem caught up with Sandy El Hayek, the newly minted General Manager of Dubai’s Time Out Market which launched in April in collaboration with Dubai mega developer Emaar. A veteran of Dubai’s F&B scene, Hashem and Sandy talked about her childhood as the daughter of Lebanese immigrants in Halmstad, Sweden, how her family dynamics influenced her passion for work (and good food), and the rudimentary 7-star wine service experience in Dubai that led Sandy to pack her Scandinavian bags and expand her career in the UAE. They also discussed Sandy’s particular interest in homegrown concepts & why she sees organizational culture as an integral part of her career path.
50 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
“The artist’s box doesn’t have to be small or exclusive.” Maha Maamoun on her multidisciplinary art practice and the importance of making art accessible to a wider audience
In today’s episode, host Hashem Montasser, a collector of Middle East art, catches up with multi-disciplinary and award-winning Egyptian artist Maha Maamoun. Maha expands on how her series “Domestic Tourism” and “Cairoscapes” came about and shares the fascinating stories behind the composited photographs. Hashem and Maha discuss the importance of displaying art to a broader audience within public spaces which has led to The Lighthouse’s acquisition of some of Maha’s artworks which are currently on display at our new Mall of Emirates outlet. Maha elaborates on her process as a multi-disciplinary artist, and how the exclusivity of certain art spaces and her desire for access to a wider public led to the creation of the publishing initiative Kayfa-Ta with her contemporary, Ala Younis.
39 minutes | May 19, 2021
“Curiosity is a blessing and a curse.” Manal Ataya on why curiosity became an essential trait in navigating her career as museum director.
In our first episode since Ramadan break, Hashem is joined by Manal Ataya who, as the Director General of Sharjah Museum Authority, sits at the helm of 16 museums documenting and consolidating the cultural heritage of the region. They discuss the “inner workings” of a museum director and why Manal finds curiosity and hunger for knowledge so essential to success in her field. They also talk about the subject of mental health which sits at the forefront of the post pandemic era. Manal speaks candidly about her own personal struggle with anxiety and being diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). She reveals that the book “First, We Make the Beast Beautiful” helped inspire a change of perspective for her to not only embrace some of the positive outcomes of an anxious mind, but also use it to her advantage as a tool that fuels her productivity.
46 minutes | Apr 8, 2021
‘Preserving our heritage is to preserve ourselves.’ Designer Nada Debs on the inspirations of hybridity & true craftsmanship, plus creating her own contemporary design language.
On this week’s episode we caught up with friend of The Lighthouse, furniture and product designer Nada Debs. Coming from a lineage of Lebanese textile traders who settled in Japan at the turn of the century, Nada grew up with a sense of dissonance as one of the few Arabs/Muslims in Kobe. She chronicled her journey from booming 1980s Japan to Civil War Lebanon to Rhode Island and how each part of the journey influenced her designs, reiterating the importance of heritage and hybridity. Nada also shared her experience collaborating closely and exclusively with skilled craftsmen to produce her designs, and the inextricable link between craftsmanship and spirituality. [WhatsApp our team](https://wa.me/971585953034) if you would like to inquire about the Nada Debs 'Refraction' mirror collection which is sold at The Lighthouse, Dubai Design District.
52 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
‘For a review, I have to be in the right state of mind.’ Samantha Wood AKA FooDiva on her restaurant review process, Dubai’s F&B scene & the ONE review that broke the internet.
Grab a pen and notebook because this episode is brimming with life learnings! Samantha Wood AKA FooDiva, inimitable queen of Dubai’s restaurant review scene takes us along her transition from corporate hotel PR to solopreneur and becoming one of Dubai’s most sought after food writers. We chatted about Samantha’s restaurant review process from start to finish, the two most important skills one must possess to leave a lasting impression on serious foodie audiences, and the review that broke the internet all the way to Milan, London and back to Dubai! Sponsored by MonViso. Listen in for a discount code to redeem on their online store. You can connect with us on Instagram.
44 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
“I use my shows to make a statement,” gallerist Isabelle van den Eynde on her curatorial techniques, working with Emirati artist Hassan Sharif and the challenges of showing art through the pandemic.
This week we caught up with gallerist Isabelle van den Eynde, founder of the eponymous Gallery IVDE, one of Dubai’s most established and celebrated contemporary art spaces. Isabelle shared snippets of her journey through the local art scene and how the late artist Hassan Sharif’s artistic methods still affect her everyday life. We also chatted about the ebb and flow of the art world throughout the pandemic, how it influenced the work of artists, gallerists and collectors to varying degrees. What radical changes did Gallery IVDE adopt and how did it accommodate visitors during ongoing international restrictions? Tune in to find out. Sponsored by MonViso). Listen in for a discount code to redeem on their online store.
44 minutes | Feb 24, 2021
‘If your concept isn’t differentiated, you’re selling hot air.’ Samer Hamadeh on his mission as an F&B owner/operator and how to develop an edge.
This week we caught up with our d3 neighbor Samer Hamadeh to doubleclick on his pivot from nightlife impresario as founder of Stereo Arcade--a Dubai staple--to F&B as owner/operator of Akiba Dori, a licensed Japanese street food restaurant. Samer shared some insights he gained since launching his first venture in 2009, from how to raise capital for new projects to scaling a business beyond one venue. On his learnings over the years and the collective shock of 2020, Samer firmly believes that nothing “is the end of the world,” and recommends for those who have strong convictions to press on the gas pedal during the hunt for opportunities especially during more challenging times. Tune in to find out more about Samer Hamadeh’s journey as an “entrepreneur” and why he really dislikes being called one!
53 minutes | Feb 3, 2021
‘Every act of reading is historical,’ Nadia Wassef on the art of reading vs. the craft of writing, and the business of founding Diwan, one of Egypt’s most popular modern book stores.
This week we’re joined remotely by Nadia Wassef who in 2002 co-founded Cairo’s popular Diwan bookstore with her sister, Hind Wassef and their friend Nihal. Now, with three Masters degrees in her pocket and a separation from Diwan, Nadia is embarking on the arduous journey of writing her first book and shares snippets from her routine and experience thus far; what is the best time of day to write? How does a writer unwind and gather ideas? Hashem and Nadia also discuss the business side of owning a bookstore like Diwan and share parallels to The Lighthouse in Dubai. Aptly titled Shelf Life: The Chronicles of A Cairo Book Seller, Nadia’s memoir is set for publication later this year and we’re already tapping our feet with anticipation.
46 minutes | Jan 21, 2021
Helen Farmer on evolving into a social media influencer & mompreneur yet maintaining a work-life balance while in the public eye
Is there a recipe for building a loyal following? Helen Farmer’s work combines effective storytelling and just enough vulnerability to resonate with her audience of radio listeners and tens of thousands of Instagram followers. As one of Dubai’s most popular radio hosts and author of “The Mothership” blog, Helen amassed an audience who both relate and aspire to her “mompreneur” experience and defer to her in terms of recommendations on Dubai expat living. But how does _the_ Helen Farmer of Afternoons with Helen balance her influencer activities including commitments to her ever growing list of marketing sponsors, her radio job, and spending quality time with her young family? She may say there’s no strategy, but the action plan seems firmly in place and she generously shares the building blocks with Hashem in our first guest episode of 2021.
43 minutes | Jan 13, 2021
2020 in the Rearview Mirror
Feels good saying it’s behind us, doesn’t it? What started as a normal year filled with fresh resolutions and new aspirations slowly took a strange turn into an unknown trajectory. When we concluded our [live podcast session with HE Zaki Nusseibeh late in February 2020, we didn’t know that weeks later we would close shop to prepare for quarantine. But we were determined to keep The Lighthouse Conversations going and, like many podcasts, we invited our guests to join via online recordings. Our first post-lockdown session back in the studio with Amira Rashad (Founder of Bulkwhiz) gave us feeling that a sense of normalcy might be upon us despite the masks and physical distancing. Tune in as host Hashem Montasser and producer Chirag Desai recall some of their favorite highlights of 2020's The Lighthouse Conversations, including how being vulnerable took a whole new meaning in 2020 and why food and memory are intertwined in many, sometimes unexpected, ways.
54 minutes | Dec 16, 2020
“You need to have a niche and really invest in yourself.” Tariq Khayyat on architecture in the region; working with Zaha Hadid; and his advice for aspiring architects
We caught up with Tariq Khayyat, one of the leading architects in the region, and a long time guest favorite of our restaurant in d3. Khayyat is the founder of a bespoke architecture firm, TKDP, in Dubai and leads grand scale projects including Shenzhen Luohu in China. But before this, Tariq Khayyat spent 14 years working with the late Zaha Hadid and described what it was like meeting the iconoclast for the first time as an MA graduate in London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture. Tariq also shares his design philosophies; what it actually means to qualify as a “sustainable” building; and the one advice he gives young graduates.
50 minutes | Dec 3, 2020
Gear your life towards more than one legacy,’ Michelin Star Chef Daniel Boulud on wearing multiple hats to turbocharge a successful multi-decade career
This week we caught up with Michelin Star Chef Daniel Boulud on location at his newly launched Brasserie Boulud at the Sofitel Obelisk in Dubai. Chef Daniel is heralded as one of the world’s top chefs and has many accolades under his belt including a James Beard Award. He is the author of several books, and possesses a keen business acumen with a portfolio spanning food tech investments and charitable endeavors including ‘Citymeals on Wheels’ where he serves as board co-president. Host Hashem Montasser argues that many great chefs are just that; great chefs and being a Star Chef does not always equate to good business sense. So how does the iconic Daniel Boulud remain at the top of his game and what was the best birthday gift he ever received? Tune in to find out.
47 minutes | Nov 18, 2020
"You can't be noticed unless there is sincerity in your work." Fashion designer Yasmine Yeya on being inspired by Egypt’s beauty, landing Jennifer Lopez as a customer, and debunking the overnight success myth
How do you go from working in advertising, to waking up with a gazillion Instagram notifications of J.LO wearing your mustard yellow couture gown to her movie premiere? In this week's episode, Hashem sits with fellow Egyptian, designer Yasmine Yeya, to discuss what entrepreneurship means to her...and their mutual love of Egyptian fattah! Yasmine shares stories from her beginnings; how she launched the now well respected Maison Yeya, and her transition from emerging designer, to a couturier whose opinions are so sought out by her clients that she acts as part designer, part friend & therapist to help them through the finish line and fulfill their wedding gown dreams.
43 minutes | Nov 5, 2020
“I'm not going to measure somebody by whether or not they've had a show at the MoMA,” Maya Allison on her curatorial techniques and how she forged a successful artist-curator bond ahead of the UAE Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale
In this week’s episode, Hashem, a long-time art enthusiast & collector, is joined by Maya Allison, Executive Director & Chief Curator of NYUAD’s Art Gallery, who shares glimpses of her professional journey leaving the New York/American art scene and moving to Abu Dhabi to establish The NYUAD Art Gallery. Maya reflects on how she measures the ripple impact of artists she’s interested in; the growing pains of managing an art-focused “start up” and what’s in store for the upcoming UAE Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale.
46 minutes | Oct 21, 2020
“Life is beautiful” has become a personal philosophy for me.’ Fatafeat founder Youssef El Deeb on his creative journey across media platforms, and the Arabic saying that became his life’s calling.
This week’s episode was quite a unique experience for us at the recording studio that we hope all you listeners will enjoy! Our guest, Youssef El Deeb, is the founder of Fatafeat, the first Arab TV company that was acquired by a global media conglomerate, Discovery. In a time when Middle East television was airing cooking shows as “fillers" for grandmothers at home, Youssef El Deeb had the foresight to drum up the likes of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson to the prime time. And fostered a now growing scene of Arab TV chef talents. He is also an author, painter, photographer and award winning filmmaker. And yet, despite his many achievements, and like most successful people of such high calibre, El Deeb has vulnerabilities and a punishing inner voice. Find out what makes him tick, and which Arabic saying became his life’s motto.
45 minutes | Oct 7, 2020
"We don't have pills for eating disorders." Eating Disorder expert Carine El Khazen on signs for the early detection of mental health issues, and how to cope with the collective trauma of the pandemic.
This week Hashem caught up with Dr. Carine El Khazen, clinical psychologist at the American Center in Dubai, and Vice President of MEEDA (Middle East Eating Disorders Association). Eating disorders are the deadliest form of mental illness, and 95% of sufferers are women between the ages of 15 to 25. Dr. Carine also shared that patients as young as 11 have come to seek treatment at her practice. Growing up in a family of image-conscious female relatives on both parents' sides, Carine witnessed early on and first-hand the effects of body consciousness and food obsessions, cementing her focus on eating disorders during her psychology career which spans over 15 years. Hashem and Carine also discuss the devastating effects of social media channels like TikTok on children's self esteem as well as the long-term effects of the pandemic on society's collective mental well being.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021