Cynthia Barcomi - Barcomi's

Cynthia Barcomi - Barcomi's

Introducing Berliners to American-style cakes, pies and cookies in the '90s. (English episode)
1 Stunde 39 Minuten


vor 1 Jahr
Before I moved to Berlin I used to have a little ritual, every time
I came here I made it a point to visit Cynthia Barcomi's Deli at
Hackescher Markt. I was in love with this place, obsessed with her
chocolate cherry muffins, with her tuna sandwich made with the
juiciest potato bread, and the world's best New York Cheesecake.
Whenever I set on the black and white leather benches in the tall
lofty room of her Deli, Cynthia managed to make me feel home and
taken care of but at the same time hungry and excited for
everything that was new to me in this big city. Cynthia came to
Berlin in the nineties, tumbling out of a rather protected
childhood in Seattle, Washington State, and a few wild years in New
York City, studying philosophy, theatre and drama at Columbia
University and becoming a dancer at the same time. Those were the
eighties and Cynthia lived the Flashdance-life. Although it can't
really get much better than that Cynthia felt pulled to Europe, to
Pina Bausch, Paris, Florence, and at one point to Berlin. Always
moving, she can't stand still. With two kids, she started looking
for a more steady life in the food world (maybe the only thing she
ever miscalculated), so she decided to roast her own coffee beans
and open her first café in Kreuzberg. Today this wouldn't be such
an adventurous career move, but back in 1994, this was a risky
endeavor. There were no American-style cafés, people didn't really
care much about American cakes, pies, and cookies, there was simply
no demand for it. Germans drank their old-fashioned filter coffee
in questionable quality, and were happy with it, and enjoyed their
German cakes for their 'Kaffee und Kuchen'. So now Cynthia popped
up in the city, ready to conquer and change it all - and she
succeeded. Three years after starting her first café, she opened
her Deli, which is the reason why I moved to the area where I live
now. I had to be close to that place. Almost 30 years ago, Cynthia
changed they way people eat in the capital. Less competition may
make it sound easier compared to today but this also meant that the
risk was much higher. She had to pioneer a market that was so
unfamiliar with her vision that even the banks told her "Look lady,
if this were a really good idea, we'd already have it." Her answer
was "What are you talking about. Society lives from new ideas. We
wouldn't have washing machines, we wouldn't have cars, we'd be
lighting fire, we'd be cavemen. I mean come on. Jesus!" So she just
put a plate of her cookies on the guy's desk and at one point she
got the loan. Sometimes in life you have to swim against the
current, ignoring the anxious voices around you. It worked out in
Cynthia's case but it wasn't always a smooth journey. Last year she
had to close her Deli to save her business. A decision so painful
that it still hurts her to talk about it. A chapter came to an end,
after writing a beautiful story that will always be a part of
Berlin, but Cynthia wouldn't be the person who she is if she didn't
get back on her feet to write another story - to be continued.
Cynthia shared the ultimate Christmas or New Year's Eve dessert
with me: Pecan Pie with Chocolate and Cranberries. You can find all
the blog posts about the podcast episodes including my guests'
recipes on under 'Meet in Your Kitchen'. INSTAGRAM: GUEST: RECIPE:
MUSIC: Martin Stumpf FRÜHSCHOPPEN: Ferrari Trento SOUND MIX: Kraatz
Studios MEIKE PETERS: Newsletter: Blog: Instagram: Facebook: Cookbooks:

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