After graduating from high school, I was initially motivated to apply for Political Studies in France and Germany. After a year in Paris trying to perfect my French, I finally felt ready to pursue these studies. However, in a strange twist a fate, a chance conversation with a good friend completely changed my focus. She asked me what I hoped to do with a degree in Political Science. Instantly I replied “I will open my own Café!”
I had always worked in banquet service and cafés while attending school, and over the years a deep passion for food had taken hold of me. I had always known that one day I wanted run a cafe, but it hadn’t occurred to me actually make it the focus of my studies until the conversation with my friend. Shortly thereafter, I abandoned Political Science and applied to Gastronomy instead. That was in 2006.
For me, opening a café meant pure creative freedom. I wanted to chose local ingredients, meet farmers, smell the tomatoes and herbs, touch the apples and carrots I would use, and design the menu myself. I was inspired by the ambiance and character of independently owned urban Third Wave Cafes, which had just appeared in Europe. I knew exactly how the furniture would look like, what background music to play, what color the flowers on the tables would be. But a beautiful dream is just a dream until you learn how to make it into a practical reality.
In September of 2007, I started to learn the business from scratch. During my studies in Hospitality and Food Service Management, I attended lectures in cost accounting and results accounts, financial controlling, and mathematics. It was at this time that I began to come to terms with the stark reality that gastronomy is actually a fairly difficult business to be in.
After completing a three year work study program with Feinkost Käfer where I learned the fine art of throwing a high end party, my passion brought me back to Paris. There, I spent my days and nights at the international food market Rungis picking out great quality food, which I then brought to gourmet stores in France and Germany. I also spent the better part of a year in New York where I worked with great food entrepreneurs on a city farm in Brooklyn and became immersed in the New York Street Food scene. I realized that a farmer’s market in a metropolis made perfect sense, and full of ideas and inspiration, I headed back to Germany.
In Berlin, I felt ready to set up my own food business. With a strong dedication to fresh and local produce, my business partner and I organized dinner parties and caterings that brought our favorite dishes from around the world on to Berlin’s plates. After two years of hard work, moving to different kitchens, trying to place products, discussing heaps of ideas over a lot of really good gin and tonics, we finally dissolved the business and moved on in different directions. Now I am focusing on food event planning as well as food consultancy. As being involved in the field of events at Markthalle Neun, I have a strong connection to many creative Foodies who are part of the contemporary international food movement.
I learned a lot from my first attempt at running a business, and one of those hard lessons was that ultimately passion and ideals aren’t enough to create a sustainable and profitable business. Our tight budget didn’t allow us the opportunity to seek out the aid of a professional business coach, someone who’s advice and support could have helped us through the more difficult times in that venture. That’s why I believe a network like the Food Entrepreneurs Club (FEC) would be a valuable tool to other start ups who might encounter the same obstacles. The FEC is a chance to create a serious contact point for ambitious and passionate Food Entrepreneurs who are searching for affordable consultations.