It’s all about taste… humor and love. That’s the way Khalid choose to make a living out of a tiny restaurant.
by William Franck
Khalid Doulfikhar, Cologne
On a sunny Sunday… walking through the streets of southern Cologne, to a café on the Rhine… Khalid holds a pack of butter, he just borrowed from a Moroccan friend… Sunday is the day he prepares most of the quiches he will be selling during the week. He is “Monsieur one man show”… His restaurant has six tables, seating for 18, one cook, one waiter who are the very one person. His day starts with the market at 6am, he opens the restaurant at 9, and works the day through till 8pm. No break! At 7pm a friend helps him clean the place.
A place called “la petite faim”, the little hunger.
While the butter is melting I ask him why he’s into cooking…
Khaled : It’s all about love.
If you prepare a plate with love it will leave the kitchen with love.
When the dish arrives at the table, the guest gets another big smile… and for sure some love.
I tell you, when I prepare a dish, it must feel like making love.
Do the clients leave the place in pregnancy?
(Laughs) Gosh, that might be hard… For sure it is easier for a feminine “clientele”, but, well… Some men are sensitive too.
What was the most funny event in your career?
There are so many, I cannot remember one in particular… The whole life is a big laugh even when there are problems. That is the way it has to be. Well, once a woman helped me out… she was wearing some nail polish… Preparing dishes with nail polish, the smell, the chemicals… I tell you, you just can’t do that…(He laughs) Oh… Yes, sorry, that is not funny. Indeed. How can you cook like this? It’s totally absurd.
And once a guy ate the “macarons” displayed as a piece of design in the vitrine. An exhibition somehow that got eaten up… Of course they were hard like a rock. Can you imagine him biting into a rock… People are stupid sometimes, I tell you.
And the worst?
In the first months in Germany I sometimes felt like crying. I mainly work alone, and sometimes it is hard to chat, take the orders, cook and serve 20 people that might all come at 12.45. People sometimes have no empathy and behave like middle age warriors. No patience, no empathy. There was this person coming at lunchtime, occupying a table of 4, spreading things around, connecting to the net with a laptop and ordering only one espresso. Can u imagine?
Sometimes, there is no other way then just laugh. Well I am the smiling kind of person… And internet is shut off at lunch time. Although “espresso people” still come at lunch time… Maybe I should turn off the machine at lunch time as well.
Why did you leave Morocco?
I worked as an electrician repairing elevators… but I didn’t enjoy the work… so I tried to get into the famous “Ecole hotelière”… which I succeeded. Even though I was turning thirty then. I had a hard time being with these younger students. But I did well. I went to work as a cook in Spain and afterwards on a ship… but I got sick in – what one can call – a jail.
I left for a French restaurant and after some time I came to Germany because of a German woman I fell for. That was even tougher. I didn’t speak a word of German and the paperwork wasn’t easy either.
In the end, I am here, this is my place, my life, my freedom. To share smiles in my small sunny kingdom!
La Petite Faim,
Karolingerring 5 – 50678 Köln
0221/92358672 / Mo – FR 9:00 – 20:00
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