Early February 2020
I wanted to get out of Saudi Arabia as quickly as possible! I was extremely fed up. The job I took a few weeks earlier was a disaster, so I just quit. Without going into further detail here I just want to mention that this role did not match up to my expectations at all.
At the Marriott Mena House, Cairo, April 2021
Now I was already sitting in my airplane heading for Kuala Lumpur, one of my favorite destinations in South East Asia. KL (short for Kuala Lumpur) is what I consider something like my living room. Living room because it feels so comfortable. I spent a few years living in Malaysia and I am extremely familiar with that place. I love KL’s vibe and Malaysia’s energy in general. It is a multicultural country. People speak English well; the infrastructure is great, and it is a very tolerant country.
After my bad experience in the Middle East, I just wanted to spend time at my favorite destinations. I needed to relax and eat my favorite Beef Rendang and Fried Mee Hoon. After spending a week in KL, I headed for Vietnam first. After that I zoomed over to Thailand.
April 6, 2020
Unfortunately, Thailand started to shut down the entire country. I was lucky to get out literally with the last plane from Phuket International Airport. It was a German charter airline. Phuket authorities opened the airport only for us so that 180 passengers could fly back to Europe.
Since that day and my arrival back in Germany in the evening hours of April 6, I had tried to stay vigilant. I was constantly assessing the situation and hunting for new job opportunities. But what I had witnessed was the total collapse of the global hotel and tourism industry. The outlook was grim.
I managed to join a local startup company in Berlin and assisted them with their bootstrapping. I never wanted to be back in Berlin, let alone Germany, but this was the best fallback plan I could think of before I left Thailand. I was keeping afloat.
Being a nomad for the past 22 years, my aim was clear: secure a job abroad again. And get the heck out of Germany asap! There was no way for me to stay in Berlin, not to mention to settle down in Germany. That thought alone felt like a nightmare to me.
Meanwhile I had been sending out dozens of applications to the few hotels which were still hiring. The job market situation was a disaster (and still is today). Many recruitment agencies just vanished, they disappeared. Headhunter companies I successfully worked with for many years – just gone. I was a regular guest on LinkedIn, scrolling down the feed in the hope to catch any job opportunity. But just besides a few pathetic guys who thought they must collect resumes by posting clickbait notifications, nothing interesting came up.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” This wise quote became my daily mantra. The year 2020 was the year of patience. I did extremely well, but where was the fruit? I needed to get out of this madness-place and refuel my mental and spiritual tank. That was in November 2020.
Vamos a Tenerife! I was a happy camper arriving in Tenerife, an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, sunshine was back, and I could mingle with my beloved palm trees. The weather was simply perfect. It reminded me of San Diego in Southern California.
I rented a car and drove around this beautiful island, discovering every day something new. The isle is diverse. There are beaches, cliff coasts, and volcanos – lots of volcanos. If you love hiking than you will fall in love quickly Tenerife. It has endless miles of hiking tracks. If you are a loner and a solitude-junky then Tenerife is your place to be.
One afternoon when I came back home from one of these beautiful, lonely hiking adventures, I checked my emails as usually. Once I opened my inbox folder, something was different. I received an email from Cairo in Egypt. The email from Cairo caught my eye immediately because during these times I received only a handful of emails per day. What may it be about? I clicked-open the email. To my great surprise the Director of Human Resources of a famous 5* hotel dropped me a mail saying he wanted to talk to me regarding an open position for an Executive Chef role in his hotel.
I almost went nuts! That’s fantastic I thought! Finally, someone was reaching out to me, interested to hire me. It was about time. I replied to his email immediately and we set up an appointment for an interview.
December 24, 2020
Long story short: after several long lasting and intense interview sessions I was offered to become their new Executive Chef. I have not received a better Christmas gift in many years. That was just awesome. I felt a gigantic sense of accomplishment. I fully deserved it, that was my conviction.
My persistence, perseverance and eventually patience paid off again. I stuck to my guns even it was hard sometimes. I had learned my lessons from the past.
March 13, 2021
The moment I had longed for so long was finally here: my departure from Germany! 😊
Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet.
Have I wetted your appetite for more? Great, then you might want to check out my BOOK for more adventures, tips and tricks you need to get what you want out of your kitchen career and life!