Anna Maaß has been passionate about gastronomy since she was a child, when she worked in her parents’ hotel. In Berlin’s “Gendarmerie” she gets to live out her passion for guest culture to the fullest.
“When a place is really packed,” she says, “and it’s really going off on all sides, that’s a feeling you can’t describe. You either hate it or you love it. I really love it.” During hotel management school, however, her love of the hospitality industry left her because she had to work when her friends went out partying. She was about to drop out, but her parents threw a veto.
She completed her training but wanted to do something else afterwards. So, Anna Maaß continued her education and worked in human resources for many years. Until – in her early 50s – she found her way back into her passion: gastronomy.
The Gendarmerie: a monumental dining room with a lot of art
Anna Maaß recommends: The classic Wiener Schnitzel and a glass of Imperial, a full-bodied Austrian red wine to go with it.
The challenge of team building
It is precisely this kind of challenge that appeals to Anna Maaß. She puts it this way: “I have to be able to make a difference, I have to be creative, and I have to make things succeed.” The most important element for her is to form a team that gives the place a soul. The guest should get “a living room feeling”. This is supported by the fact that the staff of the Gendarmerie consists exclusively of long-term employees.
Anna Maaß vehemently disagrees when she hears someone say that they are “just serving staff”. She explains: “A good wait staff not only has professional knowledge, but is also a service provider at heart, a team player, an acting talent and a therapist. They must have a good physical constitution and, above all, be motivated and educated to have a say. They must also have a talent for languages. Our co-workers speak at least two languages each.”
“I bring creativity to this place, a proper table culture and cosiness, which makes the guests feel at home.”
The Gendarmerie has many regulars who appreciate being part of a big family here. In addition to the brasserie cuisine and a high-level wine list, they also value the atmosphere that stems from the monumental works of art in the interior. Above all, the “Bacchanale” by the French-Canadian artist Jean-Yves Klein, the largest wooden relief in the world, adds a special aura to the room. Guests dine under a panorama of ancient poets, gods, nymphs and muses, painted in poppy colours.
Enjoying the work
“You always have to stay positive and be creative,” says Anna Maaß considering the current gastronomy problems such as energy costs and food inflation rates. She sees the industry on the crossroads. In the long term, she believes only a few restaurants with individual character will be able to hold their own against the big chains. “Those will then be the special shops, the exceptions.” She feels that the Gendarmerie with its adjoining restaurant Austernbank and the event area and conference centre Humboldt is well positioned in this respect. And for herself personally, she wishes “to continue to enjoy it for a long time!”
The Gendarmerie uses luca because it wants to offer its guests as much convenience as possible, including during the payment process.
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