Though Marissa Hermer and her fellow Ladies of London may have been celebrating the end of the year at Cafe Royal during this season's infamous New Year's Eve party, that's actually where it all began for her and her husband Matt. The couple sat next to each other during a dinner party at the chic London hotel many moons ago, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Marissa and Matt's marriage is unique compared to the other couples' on Ladies of London in that these two not only play together, but they also work together, which means we've seen a lot of Matt during these past two seasons. Just as Matt has been a constant presence on the show, the fact that Marissa has been able to count on him during their marriage has been one of her favorite things about her husband. "Matt is very steady — he is a rock," Marissa told The Daily Dish. "As a friend, husband, father, and business partner he is always reliable and supportive. I feel very lucky to have found someone so constantly supporting, who helps me find solutions when life throws me curve balls. That, and he always makes me laugh."
Matt has shown a great deal of support — both professionally and emotionally — as Marissa gets ready to open up her new Top Dog restaurant this season. In fact, with his years of experience in the food industry (more on this later), Matt has been a valuable resource for Marissa as she undertakes her biggest business venture yet. "Matt reminds me to take a breath and not to make rash decisions," Marissa said. "I often get caught up in the moment, and Matt reminds me to take a step back, sleep on it, and then, after getting some perspective, make a decision."
Read on to find out more about the lad behind this lady, and you'll see why he and Marissa go together better than a hot dog and ketchup.
You Can Thank Him for London's Nightlife
It's no surprise that Marissa would turn to Matt for some advice on opening up Top Dog considering the fact that he knows a thing or two about launching a restaurant — or several. That's because Matt is the founder and CEO of Ignite Group, which owns restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in the London area and around the world. These include the restaurant Bumpkin, which we've seen the ladies dine at quite a bit on the show, the cocktail bar Eclipse, and the club Boujis, which has been a favorite haunt of celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio, Rihanna, and even Prince William and Prince Harry. Here's hoping some of that success will rub off on Top Dog.
He Used to Invest Time in a Different Career
Clearly, Matt has now found his calling, but it didn't happen overnight. After graduating from Reading University in England, Matt went on to work as an investment banker. It was only when he was 26 years old and learned that his favorite bar for entertaining clients was up for sale that Matt decided to buy it on a whim. He renamed the bar Eclipse, according to the Evening Standard, and we all know how that turned out for him. Six months after buying this place, Matt was in the bar business for good.
He's Not Originally from London
Matt lives in London with his family now, and he has a British accent, but this gent isn't originally from England. Matt actually grew up in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. With fellow famous native Welsh including the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, and Michael Sheen, Matt is in good company.
He Had a Political Upbringing
Matt didn't just grow up in Cardiff; his family was a huge part of its civic life. Matt's father Julius Hermer was heavily involved in Cardiff politics, serving as lord mayor in 1987, the leading ambassador of the city's civic functions. Julius, who was a lawyer by day, also served on the Cardiff City Council and as vice chairman of the South Glamorgan County Council. Now we know from where Matt got his high-achieving attitude.
He's Kind of a Big Deal
You'd expect any wife to boast about her husband, but when Marissa says that Matt is one of the top restaurateurs in London, she's not being hyperbolic. Tatler named Matt "Restaurateur of the Year" in 2008 in the magazine's annual Restaurant Awards. He has also been named one of London's 1,000 most influential people by the Evening Standard on a few occasions. It's actually surprising that Marissa hasn't boasted about her husband more.
His Marriage Proposal was Far From Romantic
Marissa and Matt seem to still be head-over-heels in love with one another, but their marriage didn't get off to the loveliest start. "It was totally un-romantic," Matt said of the moment he proposed to Marissa to marry him in a 2009 interview with the Evening Standard. "I'd just done a gym class and she was sitting on the sofa, in pajamas, reading the newspaper. I got down on one knee and then I burst into tears. But it was perfect — I'd never want to do it in a restaurant with violins and the maître d'…" We don't know about you, but that description still managed to make our hearts melt.
He's Big on Travel
Hop on over to Matt's Instagram feed, and you'll immediately notice that this guy is a globetrotter. Matt has taken pics with the fam in Newport Beach, Calif., at the Berlin Wall, and in Jamaica, all within the past year. Matt also told the Evening Standard in 2009 that his biggest indulgence is travel, and that definitely still seems to be the case.
He Survived a Near-Death Experience
During one such trip in 2004, Matt actually found himself "just 15 seconds from death" when the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami hit Thailand's Khao Lak. "I was actually going down to the beach when I met everyone else running up the stairs screaming," the restaurateur told the Evening Standard in 2009. He said he made it to a roof unscathed, carrying a man that had been badly injured by the storm. Matt stayed to help the relief effort for the next several days and later continued to raise money for the cause.
He's Obsessed with Cashmere Sweaters
Any Brit worth his or her weight in wool loves a good jumper, but Matt covets his sweaters like no other. "I've been obsessed with buying cashmere sweaters for 20 years and have a vast array in every cut and colour," Matt said in an interview with The Telegraph. "I'm trying to rein it in though as the wardrobes in our new house have been commandeered by my wife." What a sacrifice this man has made for love.
He Has a Black Belt in Karate
Matt seems pretty mild mannered, but you wouldn't like to see him when he's angry. That's because Matt has a black belt in karate. "I almost fell over when he told me," Marissa told The Daily Dish. Yeah, that is hard to believe.
He's a Fan of SoulCycle
Karate is apparently not the only activity Matt appreciates. He has also given some mad props to SoulCycle on social media. Maybe he'll start biking around London with his fellow cycling enthusiast Julie Montagu?
When you've gotten over how cool Matt is, take a tour of the home he shares with Marissa in the clip, below.