Hello, my name is Albert, but please without “t” at the end, my name is of French origin and I do not like the German way of pronouncing it. I was born in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (Romandy), not so far from the city of Lausanne. That was long time ago in 1934. Back there I learnt the profession of Restaurant management at a vocational school and shortly after I started working away from home: in the Netherlands, France and in 1970 I moved to Germany and never regretted that.
Albert, but why Germany in the first place?
People said that there were excellent career opportunities in the gastronomy branch. And they were right! I was the head of the restaurant at the hotel Schweizerhof in Berlin until my retirement. Ah good old days! I once took the reservation from Helmut Kohl, when he was still the head of Rheinlad-Pfalz, I chatted with Willy Brand about politics and saw many other VIPs. Good old days!
Did you speak German when you came?
A little bit. Only later on I learnt German properly. My third wife was German!
And what’s your mother tongue?
French. But I also speak Italian, Dutch, English and a little bit of Spanish. All these languages I’ve learnt thanks to my profession. I remember I once had employees from 15 different countries! And now not to be bored I am learning passionately Russian 😉
Would you agree that Germany is a multicoolty society? And if yes, do you support the idea?
I think so, especially in Berlin where so many nationalities live side by side. I 100% support the idea of a muticoolty society. I can always learn something good from other people: their traditions, culture, and cuisine…I was mostly interested in the last one, perhaps because my whole life was dedicated to Gastronomy and I am still responsible for cooking at home…in spite of the fact that I am blind.
You have been living in Germany for so long… you feel integrated …
Oh, yes. More than enough. From a Swiss I turned into a German. But actually we, Swiss, have a lot in common with Germans. Our mentalities are alike. We also put great importance on punctuality and tidiness. The main difference between Germany and Switzerland? To my mind, there is more democracy and freedom in Germany, the society here is really multicoolty, what I cannot unfortunately say about Switzerland.
Can you imagine living in Switzerland now?
Honestly no. I am used to Germany and Germans. The only thing I really miss is the mountains!