Sören Zuppke is the Co-founder of Studio Aperitivo and Explorer at Michelberger Hotel & Restaurant. In this interview we spoke a lot about the meaning of community and why not being focused on money or capitalism makes it easier for the idea of community and sense of togetherness to grow in Berlin. Enjoy!
Tell me Sören, how did Berlin influence your path?
Berlin changed everything! Before I came here, everything was about "what has been” and when I moved here, it became about “what could be”. In a sense that Berlin allows you to follow the directions you feel like following. I moved to Berlin to become a journalist and shortly after decided to work as a chef on the side. The best part was that no one judged me on whether I was trained or had the experience to try out this path. There was this possibility to give it a try by doing it and I simply took the chance! To be honest, I think this is extremely rare in other cities, but possible in Berlin.
What is your personal Berlin?
The city is so hungry for ‘the new’. This makes it really good and really difficult at the same time. I previously worked and lived in other cities and everything was so exciting. But everything seems a bit flat being in Berlin now with the development the city has seen in the last 10 years.
And what does the local Berlin community mean to you?
The Berlin community is so fun, because it’s also so fast! And even though it’s so fast, it has a very honest connection. Berlin is known for being non-superficial, where people connect on a real level with like-minded people and this comes with so many levels of support.
When I started working for Sofi bakery and became part of the Berlin hospitality scene, it was so welcoming! The support I have received starting in this industry was crazy, it was out of this world. People, friends, former clients of mine, the crew from Otto - everybody was lifting each other up for the successful launch of Sofi, rather than seeing it as new competition, and I think that’s so unique. This is true for Berlin as a city, but also true for the generation we are part of. I think our generation is built around the idea of community and the sense of togetherness. We see the advantage of communal support rather than competition.
Berlin was never about money or capitalism and obviously this makes it easier for this idea to grow. Moreover I’ve seen a lot of people lately that prioritize happiness over success. Or who see happiness as a form of success. But at the same time, it’s just a great city for the idea of community to prosper. For me this is very powerful.
Who is your role model?
Firstly I wanted to say my mother, but in this interview I nominate my little sister. It wasn’t always easy for her. But she finished school, completed the Diploma, and came up with the idea that she wanted to become a nurse! I was really impressed that she knew what she wanted to do. A lot of people struggle with finding their passion and she nailed this one. She is now the youngest nurse ever in the hospital, where she runs a full department. This is her own achievement — she found her passion and continuously succeeds at it!
Which is your favorite WAA Podcast episode?
It was the episode with Monika Jiang (E.13). I think we need more entrepreneurs who advocate for healthy businesses and practices for themselves and their employees. Focusing on parameters of growth and revenue seems very short term for me and I think that Monika’s ideas could and should inspire more business leaders.