Mohammed al Gosh is a 25-year-old Syrian. He came to Germany three years ago from Egypt, before the big wave of refugees. He soon learned German and then discovered his passion for cooking. Since 2016 he has been running a catering service called “Orientsy Buffet”.

Company: Orientsy Buffet
Type of business: private limited company (UG)
Sector: food service, catering
Founder: Mohammed al Gosh and two friends
Year of founding: 2016
Founded in: Berlin
Employees: none – “we do everything ourselves”
Branches: Berlin

You can’t do anything if you don’t speak the language:

In the first few months, Mohammed studied German for eight hours a day. “I went along to any German course I could find in the refugee camp.”

3 questions, 3 answers

WJD: You have set up an oriental catering service here in multicultural Berlin. There is already a wide range of catering services here. What gave you the idea to do this?

Al Gosch: When I arrived in Berlin, I couldn’t really cook properly. But I wanted to get to know people, and I soon realised that I was actually quite good at cooking. I invited friends around and they really liked the food I made – that’s how I got the idea to start up a catering business. There are hardly any oriental specialists in the catering business here, yet Syrian cuisine is really interesting. We use hundreds of different herbs and spices, and you also get a taste of our culture too, with a bit of influence from the Ottoman Empire and from the French. Our religion plays a role too. I have had a lot of positive feedback. People really seem to like our food.

WJD:  Setting up a business is always difficult. Did you have any problems? Or any good experiences?

Al Gosch: There are always problems, but I would definitely recommend talking to the people at the IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce). They have been really helpful and gave us a lot of very clear information on how to do things here in Germany. Our main difficulties have been with bureaucracy and with the language. Although I can speak German quite well now, I still sometimes get letters that I just can’t understand. Despite this, I would still recommend that other migrants try setting up their own businesses, under the right conditions. I definitely wouldn’t suggest setting up on your own if you don’t speak German. If you don’t speak the language, it will be unbelievably difficult, as you won’t know what the authorities need from you.

WJD: What kind of people or companies order food from you?

Al Gosch: We have a very specific target group and we focus our efforts on them. We concentrate on large companies, political parties and organisations. During one of our jobs, I happened to meet the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. I was under a lot of stress, but the food was really great and afterwards I even got to talk to him for 15 or 20 minutes. He was a really nice man! Incidentally, I got a personal invitation from the President to another event – this year’s Citizens’ Celebration in Bellevue Palace.


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