Like a lucky Dream
by
Jochen Kern


Germany 1975 - 1980

 

OWN BUSINESS CHAPTER

A small village in North Germany where people have never ever seen a Chinese girl, a pub full of drinkers, a wife with no knowledge of German language, a house on loan and etc... Starting off business in this place was not easy because people came only to watch my wife and not to consume anything from my new menu or beverage list. To change the pub into a restaurant was difficult but my wife, Dolly mastered this situation very fast. "Honey (me), come in and kick this customer out or I’m going back to Singapore!" I did so because I had no choice. After half a year, my place became famous over the next 200 kilometers radial as an outstanding restaurant with impeccable service, and a menu with specialties from all around the world.

Business flourished and we eventually grew like a small kingdom. My first car was a Volkswagen and 12 month later, it was a Opel Rekord followed by a Mercedes 200 and a Mercedes 280 SE and it was likewise with the holidays. The first year, we had only 3 weeks of vacation, the second year with 4 weeks in summer and another 2 weeks in winter. Not bad.

I obtained my Master’s Diploma for kitchen in the trade commission and arrived at the highest class for a cook - a "Kitchen Master", which is in Germany and for me, something very special. I made a diploma in the trainer’s course and was able to train apprentice in my restaurant. So many diploma and the good business made me high and my small place in Salzgitter with a fifty seat restaurant, was surely not enough for a superstar like me.


my master diploma

My friends, John and Wolfgang offered me a partnership in a new business venture. I invested 500,000 Deutsch Marks and we became the owners of the Bowli GmbH in Cologne. The business on the Rhine River was big. The huge bowling company had twenty lanes for bowling, one coffee shop, one prime restaurant named "Lobster" and a discotheque. I was in charge of the food and beverage and started work at five in the morning (to be at the market) and closed at one the next morning (at the cash register). My two partners had better jobs. John was an engineer by profession and took charge of the bowling lanes and machines. Wolfgang, meanwhile, was in charge of entertainment and had more time to spend with his girlfriend because the discotheque was only opened at night.

A year rolled by and we encountered our first problem.. Our Financial Controller advised us to expand our business for if we didn’t, we will go bankrupt as our tax payments ill be higher than our cash-flow. The next week, we were sitting in Leverkusen Volkbank office and explaining our unbelievable experience in gastronomy, sport and entertainment sector while hoping for a credit of two million Deutsch Marks to undertake a new project in Leverkuen Underground Entertainment Complex.

Half an hour later, there was a bankdraft for two million Deutsch Marks for the purchase of this monstrous project in our account. My workload increased drastically through the rebuilding or the exchange of Germany’s latest disco to a bowling and Kegel (German bowling) centre which included restaurants and bars and etc... Even before the opening, we had already made our first profits of over 500,000 Deutsch Marks, through personal (non-contracted) rebuilding work. It was a tough job with only part-timers who were unable to pay their bills in Cologne Westbowling. They worked for a few hours each day to pay off their ransom for this project.

High society was the next step; night clubs, pilot license, private airplane, new Mercedes and only the biggest was good enough. The problem on my side was, I had more food and beverage outlets which were directly under my responsibility. It was too much, my wife was unhappy and I was unhappy as there was an unfair distribution of workload and cash.

the new feeligs-PPL, I pilot approach Koeln - Bonn airport 1980

Next, came the discussion among the three partners, sales of shares and a telephone call to Sheraton’s Head Office which had moved to England, Oxbridge near London.

"I am looking for a job as an Executive Chef.."

and after checking my computer data from Africa...

"Yes, you can start in Basrah, Iraq, Venice of the Orient..."

This was the second move from the bureaucratic Germany, my homeland.

The Middle East airplane was dirty, full of flies, loose seats, an engineer who tried to repair the compass with a hammer and the overall sloppy looking crew gave me a bad impression of this flight to Kuwait.

 

The local Recipe

MUSCHELN RHEINISCHE ART

MUSSELS IN WINE STOCK.

CLEAN MUSSELS AND BOIL IN STOCK MADE FROM FHEIN RIVER WHITE WINE, CELERY ROOTS, ONION, PARSLEY, WATER, SALT AND PEPPER. SERVE IN SOUP TUREEN, INCLUDING STOCK, ACCOMPANIED BY A SLICE OF GERMAN PUMPERNICKEL BREAD WITH BUTTER.

YOU MAY EAT ONE KILOGRAM OF THIS DELICATE MUSSEL DISH - THE PROTEIN AND MINERALS WILL GIVE YOU STRENGTH, AND IT IS TRADITIONALLY EATEN ONLY IN THE COLD SEASON. THE BET MUSSELS FOR THIS DISH COMES FROM THE COLD WATERS other NORTH SEA.

 

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