The Fierce Fine Foodie
We first met Nina at the 25 hours hotel opening in Zurich back in 2015 and fell in love with her bubbly personality right away. Her big smile is extremely contagious and her curly hair is every girl's dream. Fast forward a couple of years and this busy lady is running her own restaurant with her brother.
We talked to the soon to be mommy about KIN, what it's like running a restaurant, the ups and downs, what is most fulfilling about her job and also about challenges. Like the one she and her brother are currently facing: Covid-19. She's fun, fierce and fabulous, enjoy this interview.
Two years ago you opended the restaurant “KIN”with your brother. When did you first start putting the wheels into motion for this project? How did you come up with the name? Tell us a little bit about the restaurant...?
We have wanted to open a restaurant together for a very long time. We also knew early on that it should be an Asian restaurant. We both love to try out different restaurant concepts and our travels are also mainly focused on food.
When I then took a short break in the summer of 2017, we wrote our first concept together. We also were looking for a location which turned out to be incredibly difficult. In January it suddenly worked out. 2 weeks later we had our location, but still no cook and also not really a plan what we wanted to offer. So we first started renovating the restaurant by ourselves.
Through many exciting conversations with different chefs we discovered our concept: Asian inspired dishes with local and seasonal ingredients to share. This concept in combination with the small open kitchen, the long tables and classic old school hip hop fitted perfectly to our ideas. We wanted our guests to have a new experience in Zurich.
KIN sounds very Asian - but it’s English and comes from the expression „next of kin“ – was kind of fitting for us being brother and sister.
People are more and more becoming aware of health and plant-based diets are all over. How do you cope with this at KIN?
Since we only have eight dishes on the menu anyway and we have found two incredible vegetable suppliers from the area, it suits us perfectly. 3 dishes are always vegetarian if not even vegan.
What do you find most fulfilling about your job?
The exchange with the guests. I love to be among people and if they share the same passion (food) as I do, all the better! And we never stop learning. By constantly changing the menu we learn so much about how to prepare the dishes from far away.
What is the most challenging part of running a restaurant?
No two days are alike. One evening you go home overjoyed after an exhausting night shift and have the feeling that you own the world. And the next day you arrive at the restaurant and hear that overnight all the fridges have failed because someone pulled the plug by mistake. You can never be sure.
What made you decide to leave “the secure work field” and open your own restaurant? Was there a particular moment that catalyzed the decision for you?
No, I actually always knew I wasn't cut out for an 0815 job. Although I've often wished I was. But I need the challenge, the uncertainty. I want to enjoy my work as much as possible every day.
What is your advice for people who are interested in leaving their conventional 9-5 job but concerned about what is out there and if they can make it?
You can always go back! But sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone to find your happiness.
Covid-19 hit really hard and you had to close KIN for now. How are you coping with this situation and what are your plans?
My brother and I have kept our salaries very low since the opening and of course worked super hard. We also didn't spend much money, even when things were going well. Our small reserves have certainly helped us in the last weeks. Our problems rather come now with the reopening on 14 May. Our restaurant with the long tables is not suitable to keep the minimum distance. Sharing is of course only possible with certain security measures and our concept only pays off when a certain number of guests is reached. Therefore the restrictions of the government are a big challenge for us. But they also force us to remain creative. Therefore we had to make some adjustments to the concept - but we are looking forward to the realisation. Nevertheless, a certain uncertainty always remains. We are very curious to see how it will turn out..
How can we, Zurich and your community support you?
Easy: make a dinner reservation and drink a loooooot of wine. 😉
Currently listening to: Cleo Sol - Why don’t you
How to unwind after a long day at work: Get out in the fresh air with my dog
Ultimate happy fix: All kinds of sports
Can't live without: Sports - keeps me balanced
Last thing you ate: Fresh salad from my mothers garden in Majorca
Best piece of advice for success: Get out of the comfort zones and take a chance
Most used emoji: 💃🏽