I came to Germany on a six-month leave of absence from my job in Turkey. But the engineer in me got hooked on the systematic, planned way of doing things.
I asked my wife if we could stay, and she said yes. The opportunities for education here are amazing. I took a business course at the University of Bonn that got me thinking about entrepreneurship, and then I turned to the needs of all these Turkish immigrants.
When Herr Nolte, a local baker, told me traditional German family bakeries had no future, I told him about Turkish pita. Then he said, ‘Maybe you’ve got a shot.’ His master baker was a real bread scientist, and we worked well and grew slowly. After 1983, we had the legal status to get the engineering done right.
Still, it took a decade to develop a pita-pressing machine, because the dough is so delicate. Herr Nolte was right the kind of family bakery he ran is a thing of the past. But the future still belongs to the self-employed.
You just have to roll with the changes. After all, just when we figured out how to run a pita press, Turks started buying whole-grain German breads and Germans started buying Turkish bread!
Unal Nas is a Turkish immigrant to Germany and owner of Elan Bakeries