Mehr Informationen zu Shanis Restaurant Beba findet ihr hier.
Shani Leidermann und Emil (5), Juni 2019.
Interview: Marie Zeisler
Fotos: Anna Sauvigny
Hello Shani! You are originally from Argentina. How did you end up in Berlin?
Actually, I was born in Israel, but my parents emigrated there from Argentina in the 1970ies, and their parents immigrated there from Turkey, Morocco, France, and Russia. When I was 21 years old, I went to study dance in Amsterdam. There I met Valentin, my partner and together we started a band and came to Berlin in 2012.
My parents live in Tel Aviv now, and they come to visit me regularly.
Just a few months ago you opened a Jewish restaurant at the Martin Gropius Bau. Congratulations! How did Beba happen?
I always had a big passion for food. I cooked a lot for friends and family at home, and during my dance and theater studies; I worked as a cook in a fine dining restaurant and started a small catering business with a friend. Then after I gave birth to Emil, my son, I started working at Infarm, a vertical farming startup where among other things, I was hosting events and working with different chefs to develop recipes and culinary concepts. I then felt that the next step in life should be dedicated entirely to my passion for food – I left Infarm to open my own restaurant. For the next three months, I looked for a location, but nothing really convinced me. Then I met Cynthia Barcomi at a Feminist Food Club event, and we immediately clicked. After 10 minutes of conversation, she told me about the Gropius Bau opportunity. That same week we already went together to meet the Museum’s management team, and two weeks later, we hosted them for a tasting dinner. It was a perfect match, but Cynthia is really the one that made it all happen – she believed in me and my concept from the first moment and had the courage to go with her intuition and back me up completely. I am incredibly grateful for that…
Now at the restaurant, I work with infarm and Cynthia, and my parents are involved as investors. I have a great team at the restaurant – which is not easy to find, and it usually takes more time to build one. One thing I’m very thankful for is that I met Anat Barak. She is the chef of Beba – and one of the greatest gifts ever given to me! I met her through a friend – Adi Shilon, who is also a very talented food creative. And we also clicked right away. She was there from the start, and she helped me with the pitch when I made the first tasting dinner. It’s priceless to have somebody like her running your own business.
Is your son bilingual?
Yes! He speaks Hebrew with me, German with his father. But he also understands some Spanish and some English. I’m very proud of him. I tell him that he should speak Yiddish as well ☺. When I was a child, I grew up in Israel, and as my parents are Argentinians, they spoke Spanish to me, but I spoke back in Hebrew. Emil is different; he speaks Hebrew to me, like he really wants to speak Hebrew. With his father, I speak English, sometimes a bit of Spanish, so he hears a lot of that, too.
I imagine having just started a restaurant and having a five-year-old is not so easy to handle. How you organize your week?
Since we are dependent on the opening hours of Martin Gropius Bau, we are open from 10 till 7. That means I don’t have to stay away at night. Tuesday is a free day. And during the weekends, I try to take some hours off to be with Emil. It doesn’t always work, but luckily we have good friends around who help out.
Your son is now five years old. Do you feel like opening your own business is happening now that your son is a bit older? Or do you think it doesn’t really matter?
I think it is easier now; then when he was three years old, cause now he can enjoy hanging out at the restaurant, playing or painting on his own. It would have been more difficult before.I had our son when we were still in the band and when we toured a lot. He was a backstage Baby! He was always sleeping in the backstage area. We released three albums. The maternity leave was actually my most creative time! This was when we got signed by a label. We performed for many years.
You have a beautiful kitchen; also the design of the bathroom is lovely. Are these all your ideas? Where do you get your inspiration?
I spent hours looking at Pinterest boards and fantasizing about my own design versions. Then I discussed it with my partner, my parents, and friends – It was fun.
What’s the most challenging thing about being a mum?
Time management. I want to spend so much time with my son, but it doesn’t always work. Other than that, I must admit that I really enjoy being a mom – Its the most amazing and rewarding thing ever.
What’s the most beautiful thing about being a mom?
Hugging – I am still addicted to Emil’s smell, just like when he was a small baby. I also love teaching him small things – like new words, or little life hacks – it’s so much fun to see him laughing from a new word he discovers and finds funny. And laughing in any form – Emil has a great sense of humor so I sometimes really feel like we are friends making jokes together.
Thank you Shani!