Andrew Preble: Bringing the Big Easy to Berlin

The Local’s series “Making it in Germany” presents Andrew Preble, a Louisiana native serving up proper Cajun cuisine in the German capital. Mark Worth reports.

Andrew Preble: Bringing the Big Easy to Berlin
Photo: Mark Worth

Every year, thousands of people come to Berlin in search of new experiences, outlets for their creativity and maybe even a little notoriety. Arriving with little more than a backpack, limited German skills, and no job or contacts, Andrew Preble wasn’t looking for any of these things. But after less than two years in the city, the 25-year-old may have already discovered them all – in a way he never expected.

An idea came to Preble while attending a creative meet-up group, where expats and other adventure-seekers gather in hopes of turning their cocktail-napkin dreams into reality.

“I met a girl from New Orleans who wanted to start a gumbo delivery service,” says Preble. “I said there’s no way I’m pedaling a bike with gumbo through this city in winter. So I thought – the customers can come to me.”

Having never before started, owned or even managed a restaurant, Preble is now the owner of an authentic Cajun-Creole restaurant in Berlin. Just off of Görlitzer Park in the heavily touristed, multicultural mecca of Kreuzberg, the New Orleans Haus joins a growing list of Berlin restaurants serving food made by Americans according to traditional recipes.

Jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, crab cakes, red beans and rice, Creole cheesecake, and fruity Hurricane and Orange Blossom cocktails – all have that close-your-eyes-and-you’re-on-Bourbon-Street taste. Preble’s foundation is the Cajun-Creole recipes he inherited from grandmothers on both sides of his family – though curiously enough they had Mexican and Swiss roots.

“In New Orleans, it’s normal to grow up in the kitchen – so I’ve been baking since I was six,” says Preble, soft-spoken and still a bit boyish. “All of the food we cook here at the restaurant – I grew up eating. The gumbo we make, with okra, is the same that we ate every Christmas Eve back home.”

For Preble, back home is Abita Springs, a town of about 2,000 just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans that was originally a Native American village legendary for its medicinal waters. Today it’s probably best known for Abita beer and its Mystery House, which happens to be run by Preble’s father, John, who has become famous for his homemade inventions and folk art – including a flying saucer protruding from the side of an Airstream mobile home.

Also an artist, Preble’s mother, Ann O’Brien, was a respected jewelry-maker who died of cancer four years ago. Shaken by her death, and with New Orleans still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, Preble bought an airplane ticket and left the next day for Argentina, where he stayed for six months to work on his Spanish. “I needed to reset my brain,” he says.

In addition to South America, Preble’s travels also took him to Australia, where he worked as a landscaper on movie sets; Norway, where he studied Norwegian at the University of Oslo; and Austria, where he studied business in Innsbruck – and also where he realized he was broke after just two weeks on the road when his bankcard stopped working.

Eventually he landed in Berlin, but frustrated with his employment search, Preble began looking for a restaurant location about a year ago, finding a southern German-style café about to close down. Luckily, after taking it over, he was able to keep all the equipment and furnishings. “Everything was here,” he says. “We just had to make the food.” Instead of liver-noodle soup and sausage salad, the small kitchen now dishes out Jambalaya and gumbo to the sounds of Professor Longhair and Fats Domino.

As complicated as Cajun-Creole food tastes – blending French, Spanish, African and Native American flavours – Preble admits it is “really easy to cook in big batches. You can keep it warm and serve it instantly.” But, he says – and here comes the tricky part when opening a restaurant like this in a place like Berlin – “You can’t short-cut anything.”

Preble searched for months before finding such basics as fresh crab meat for his crab cakes, celery seeds for Creole mustard and the perfect red beans. “Seafood is the most difficult piece,” he says, adding that the crawfish for his étouffée and crawfish Monique dishes come from Denmark.

With no hope of finding smoked Andouille sausage – a must-have for gumbo – he found a local butcher who agreed to make it for him, following a recipe from Preble’s grandmother. He can’t find filé powder (dried Sassafras leaves) for his gumbo, but he can easily buy Philadelphia cream cheese for his Creole cheesecake – a genuine treat for those who tire of German-style cake made with quark.

Still not satisfied with his menu, Preble will soon introduce more Bayou classics, including po’ boy and muffaletta sandwiches, and Café Du Monde-style beignets and coffee with chicory. On a recent Sunday he spontaneously whipped up pancakes, and corn and shrimp soup. “You can’t get complacent,” he says. “We’ll always be experimenting and playing around. That’s how you stay fresh.”

Though open for just six months, Preble has already attracted a loyal and diverse clientele, evidenced by many favorable reviews – in both English and German.

“Our customers always notice that our food is special. But,” Preble says, “that’s hard for me to imagine because I grew up eating it.”

Know someone who’s “made it” in Germany? Email us at: [email protected]

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EXPLAINED: The 25 most in-demand jobs in Germany

For those considering relocating to Germany - or looking for a new profession - here are the most in-demand jobs out there, according to a study by LinkedIn.

EXPLAINED: The 25 most in-demand jobs in Germany

Germany is desperate to fill jobs. In autumn last year, authorities said there was a shortage of 390,000 skilled workers. 

The new government plans to ease red tape and overhaul immigration policies to make it easer for non-EU nationals to come to the country. 

READ ALSO: What Germany’s coalition proposals mean for citizenship and immigration

But many people already within Germany might also be thinking about a change of career, or pivoting to a related sector, especially after the Covid pandemic changed the world of work. 

For those who are curious, international job search engine LinkedIn has published a list of jobs that are in-demand in Germany. Although lots of positions in Germany require that you speak German, many companies are international and encourage English speakers to apply.

What is the list?

The so-called LinkedIn Jobs in Trend 2022 list shows the 25 occupations that have grown the most over the past five years compared to other other positions. 

The list “allows insight into how the job market is evolving and the long-term opportunities it presents – whether you’re looking to change careers, re-enter the workforce or upskill for future challenges,” said LinkedIn. 

It’s based on LinkedIn data between January 2017 and July 2021. 

READ ALSO: How to boost your career chances in Germany

Here is the list of the top 25 positions, including the core skills required for each and the desired amount of experience for candidates according to LinkedIn.

In some of the descriptions below we haven’t translated the job name  to German – that’s because it is usually advertised in Germany with the English name.

1. Consultant for the public sector (Berater*in für den öffentlichen Sektor)

Responsibilities: Advising public and government institutions on the modernisation and digitalisation of administration and infrastructure

Most common skills: Public Policy, Management Consulting, Policy Field Analysis

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Hamburg and Munich areas

Average years of experience: 2.8 

2. Product analyst (Produktanalyst*in)

Responsibilities: Product analysts use metrics to evaluate a company’s products to determine whether they meet current and future market needs

Most common skills: Tableau, Google BigQuery, SQL

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Hamburg and Munich areas

Average years of experience: 3.7 

A man at his home office desk.

A man works at his ‘home office’ desk. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

3. Business development specialist or consultant (Beschäftigte in der Geschäftsentwicklung)

Responsibilities: Business development employees develop companies, enter new markets and evaluate sales opportunities

Most common skills: salesforce, account management, inside sales

Top regions hiring in: Berlin Munich and Frankfurt areas

Average years of experience: 3.3

4. Sustainability manager (Nachhaltigkeitsmanager*in)

Responsibilities: Sustainability management employees are based in corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments and look after the social, environmental and economic aspects of a company

Most common skills: Sustainability reporting, corporate social responsibility, life cycle assessment management

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Berlin and Hamburg areas

Average years of experience: 3.8

5. Cyber Security Specialist (Cyber Security Spezialist*in)

Responsibilities: Unlike IT security, cyber security is not limited to the environment of your own company, but also keeps an eye on wider threats from the internet in order to ward off viruses, Trojans or ransomware

Most common skills: ISO 27001, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), vulnerability assessment

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Frankfurt and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 7.1

6. Developer for machine learning (Entwickler*in für maschinelles Lernen)

Responsibilities: Machine learning developers create so-called artificial intelligence. They research and design models and algorithms that enable machines to recognise patterns in large volumes of data, among other things

Most common skills: TensorFlow, Python (programming language), Keras 

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 3.3 

READ ALSO: Working in Germany – 7 factors that can affect how much you’re paid

7. User Experience (UX) Researcher

Responsibilities: User experience researchers find out what users need and want and prepare these findings for developers, marketers, designers and others

Most common skills: Usability testing, design thinking, human-computer interaction

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 4.6

8. Real estate finance specialist (Spezialist*in für Immobilienfinanzierung)

Responsibilities: Real estate finance specialists accompany and advise clients from the initial property enquiries stage to closing the deal and agreeing on financial arrangements

Most common skills: Construction financing, finance, sales

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg areas

Average years of experience: 5.3

9. Head of Public Affairs (Leiter*in Public Affairs)

Responsibilities: Public affairs is the strategic aim to integrate the interests of the employer into political decision-making processes. Also known as lobbying, the job description should not be confused with public relations (corporate communications)

Most common skills: Politics, international relations, strategic communication

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 7.2

10. Information security officer (Beauftragte*r für Informationssicherheit)

Responsibilities: Information Security Officers protect data in analogue and digital form. To do this, they ensure that sensitive data is only accessible to authorised persons at all times.

Most common skills: ISO 27001, Information Security Management System (ISMS), data protection management

Top regions hiring in: Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin areas

Average years of experience: 10.2

11. Specialist in talent acquisition (Spezialist*in für Talentakquise)

Responsibilities: Talent acquisition specialists identify suitable job candidates and take care of the strategic development of the Talent Acquisition department

Most common skills: Employer branding, sourcing, talent management

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt areas

Average years of experience: 3.8

12. Expansion manager

Responsibilities: Expansion managers accompany the growth of companies and take care of things like the purchase or leasing of business space in optimal locations

Most common skills: Business development, marketing, strategic planning

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich areas

Average years of experience: 5.7

13. Test engineer (Prüfingenieur*in)

Responsibilities: Cars, wind turbines, lifts, amusement park rides and countless other technical constructions must be regularly checked for safety. This is where test engineers come into play

Most common skills: LabVIEW, Matlab, electrical engineering

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Hamburg and Tübingen areas

Average years of experience: 4 

14. Marketing (Marketingmitarbeiter*in)

Responsibilities: Marketing employees (Associates) support the planning and implementation of marketing activities for companies and organisations

Most common skills: Social media marketing, online marketing, content marketing

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Hamburg and Munich

Average years of experience: 2.7

15. Data engineer (Dateningenieur*in)

Responsibilities: Data engineers deal with the collection, processing and checking of data

Most common skills: Apache Spark, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Apache Hadoop |

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 4.8 

16. Personnel officer recruiting (Personalreferent*in Recruiting)

Responsibilities: Recruiters use job advertisements and various channels to search for suitable candidates for open positions in the company and personally recruit suitable candidates

Most common skills: Active sourcing, e-recruiting, employer branding

Top regions. hiring in: Munich, Berlin and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 3.3 

A woman sits at a desk.

Are you looking for a chance in career? Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Finn Winkler

17. Manager in strategic partnerships (Manager*in Strategische Partnerschaften)

Job Purpose: Strategic partnerships managers are responsible for building and maintaining relationships with business partners to further the development and distribution of their own products and services

Most common skills: Business development, account management, product management

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt areas

Average years of experience: 6

18. Head of Software Development (Leiter*in Softwareentwicklung)

Responsibilities: Software Development Managers are responsible for all stages of software application development. They control and structure planning, organisation and execution

Most common skills: Agile methods, cloud computing, product management

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt areas

Average years of experience: 12.2 


19. Data science specialist

Responsibilities: Data science experts or data scientists help companies to make data-based decisions. They build a structured database from raw data, analyse data and prepare it with business background knowledge

Most common skills: Python (programming language), R, SQL

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Hamburg areas

Average years of experience: 3

20. Robotics engineer (Robotik-Ingenieur*in)

Responsibilities: Robotics engineers develop and programme robots and other intelligent assistance systems, whether for medicine, gastronomy, or future cars.

Most common skills: Robotic Process Automation (RPA), UiPath, C++ 

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Frankfurt and the Hanover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg areas 

Average years of experience: 3.8 

21. Investment associate (Investmentmitarbeiter*in)

Responsibilities: Which areas are worth investing in, which companies are suitable for takeover? This is checked by investment managers through market observations, financial modelling and due diligence procedures

Most common skills: Private equity, corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions (M&A)

Top regions hiring in: Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin areas

Average years of experience: 2.7 years

22. Chief Information Security Officer

Responsibilities: Many companies are not only urgently looking for information security officers (see position 10), senior positions in this professional field are also in high demand

Most common skills: Information Security Management System (ISMS), ISO 27001, IT Risk Management

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin areas

Average years of experience: 14.3

23. Manager in strategic sales (Manager*in im strategischen Vertrieb)

Responsibilities: Strategic Sales Managers usually look after selected target and existing customers over a longer period of time. Duties include preparing quotations and negotiating prices

Most common skills: Solution selling, business development, account management

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt areas

Average years of experience: 9.3

24. Communications manager (Kommunikationsmanager*in)

Responsibilities: Communications managers take care of PR work inside and outside a company – this includes planning communication strategies as well as implementing campaigns on social networks or organising press appointments and events

Most common skills: Strategic communication, public relations/PR, internal/external communication

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Nuremberg areas

Average years of experience: 5.4 

25. Specialist writer for medicine (Fachautor*in Medizin)

Responsibilities: Medical writers produce documents in a medical context, such as study reports for scientific journals, texts for regulatory authorities and information sheets for medicines – but also journalistic texts for websites or magazines

Most common skills: Clinical studies, scientific writing, life sciences

Top regions hiring in: Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich areas

Average years of experience: 5.2