Alsatian abroad. Claude Trendel, French cuisine smuggler in Berlin

■ Berlin, without the Wall. In his cooking school-table d’hôte with the air of an industrial loft under the roof, next to the town hall of Charlottenburg, in Berlin, Claude Trendel hesitates for a fraction of a second, searches for his words in French, “because now they come naturally in German”. Arrived in January 1990 in Berlin for his military service, the young Alsatian born in Benfeld never left. His hotel technician certificate from the Illkirch hotel school in his pocket, called him that he had the choice between three assignments, including Berlin. “It was clear, the Wall had come down! And I was going to take up a job in the kitchen: I was happy,” recalls the man who spoke both German and Alsatian with his family and friends from Kertzfeld where he grew up. “With also a German-speaking friend, we were the only ones to go out to the Kneipe (neighborhood bistros) in Kreuzberg. The other conscripts remained among the French. »

■ The Piaf and its…

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