Bonn International Bonner earned seed money for food truck in Antarctica
Bonn · Gareth Patterson Were arrived in Bonn from Australia in 2012. His first job was in a Wachtberg snack bar. Today he runs Bonn's three "Pie Me" cafés.
Gareth Patterson Were worked in Antarctica for six months to earn the money for his first food truck. The Australian, who has already worked in Paris and London, had previously scraped by with a job in a Wachtberg snack bar. Then he found work as a cook at a research station at the South Pole. This enabled him to save 20,000 euros to start his own business, which now comprises three cafés in Bonn.
Patterson Were is at the "Pie Me" shop in Endenich. "So, what are we doing today?" is his first question as he sits down on the bench by the window. Talking about him. "Oh, who likes to do that?" he wonders. A staff member puts a cappuccino on the wooden table in front of him and then he begins to talk a bit after all.
Patterson Were comes from the island of Tasmania, which belongs to Australia. There he trained as a chef and pastry chef. Back home, he met a woman from Bonn, and she was the reason he came here in 2012. They are no longer together. "It's not a nice story," he says. He doesn't really want to talk about it.
He'd rather talk about the summer he spent in Antarctica. He cooked for researchers who were investigating how climate change affects the acidity of the ocean and what consequences this has for the animal world. To boost morale, he was expected to provide good food - lobster, oysters and fillet of beef were on the menu. A ship delivered supplies twice a year, fresh vegetables came from an indoor garden.
What's it like to live for months with strangers in a confined space? Did he ever feel like wielding a kitchen knife at someone? Patterson Were has to laugh. The atmosphere was good, he insists. The research station was on the coast, overlooking the sea, and you could watch seals and penguins. With temperatures ranging from -5 to +5 degrees, they could ski or go on mountain bike tours.
After returning, he put the money that he made into a food truck, with which he was on the road in Cologne and Bonn from 2015. Four years later, he opened his first café in Endenich, where he offers pies, a kind of Australian national dish. In Australia, they are typically filled with meat, but at Patterson Were, guests can also get them with spinach and ricotta.
Bonn reminds him of the capital of Tasmania
Patterson Were says Bonn reminds him a little of the capital of Tasmania. Hobart is similar in size and similarly green, he says. It's a 'likeable' place, he says. "I like the nature and the fresh air here."
He had once thought of settling down in Cologne - but he found the city too big, too hectic, with too much concrete. Nature also helps him to switch off, which he does by cycling through the Kottenforst.
Patterson Were is also a surfer. "I used to be addicted to it," he says. The sunshine and the beach on his doorstep are things he misses about his home. Where is the best place to surf near Bonn? Biarritz, he says. The town in south-west France is popular with many surfers.
What are the differences between Bonn and Australia? In Australia, things are a bit more relaxed, he says. People complain less, but he thinks it's okay that people in Bonn complain a bit more. What he has also noticed is that people here are more connected to tradition. "I think that's great," says Patterson Were. "However, it does somewhat hinder innovation. You often hear, 'It's always been done this way, it's going to stay this way.'" But he has noticed that recently, at least in the restaurant business, things are changing, that there are innovative concepts - such as cuisine from Israel, for example.
Change of subject: Are there actually many criminals among his ancestors? The island that the Dutchman Abel Tasman discovered served the British as a penal colony from the early 1800s. By the middle of the century, they had brought more than 70,000 convicts there. It is estimated that 75 percent of Tasmania's inhabitants are descended from convicts. Patterson Were is different: his parents only immigrated in the 20th century, his father comes from New Zealand, his mother came from England with her family.
A close connection to nature
Tasmania has another claim to fame. It is there that the United Tasmania Group, the world's first Green Party, was founded in 1972. The environmentalists fought against forestry and mining companies. Petterson Were says that his parents were also committed to the environment in the 1970s. His half-brothers were arrested during protests, he says. "I feel a close connection to nature," says Patterson Were. "You can't deny that we have a destructive impact on nature and the planet."
He wants to see a lot more of nature, starting in a few years. His two sons will be grown up by then. The business could also run when he is not there. He envisions being in Bonn from time to time and going on little adventures for a few months in between. He wants to go hiking in the Himalayas - or return to Antarctica.
Original text: Dennis Scherer
Translation: Jean Lennox