Covid-19 times: reflections with Kristian Baumann

How is life in Copenhagen these days and how is Kristian Baumann of 108 reflecting on the impact of covid-19…

How did your city change because of coronavirus?

Copenhagen is like many other cities in Europe under a big amount of stress. The government took early measures and this looks like it has flattened the curve. One of the scariest things is that many of my colleagues around town are in danger since the business has slowed down significantly and with no tourism, it makes it very hard times. Luckily we have received stimulus packages for our employees and for the fixed costs. This might help to some but unfortunately, some businesses don’t have the liquidity to stay up a float and that makes me very sad.

Many people have adjusted to take away and there’s a real sense of community now. The locals are very good at supporting restaurants, farmers and other small businesses and hopefully this spirit will continue when we get back and can open our restaurants again.

There’s also a great sense of forgiveness for those who got really scared in the beginning and began hoarding in the supermarkets. People are now shopping normally and have respect for each other.

What was your first thought when coronavirus appeared and what do you think now?

During my wedding in early February, I had a long conversation with my friend (Chef Sung Anh) from Seoul. The virus has been spreading fast and it became very clear to me that it would only be a matter of time before it had a global impact.  I knew that it would have a big influence on the economy and therefore as soon as I got back to work we began to form a plan with different scenarios and emergency routes for our financial status.

How are you spending these days?

I exercise every day. Running and doing yoga in the morning. This really helps my mental state of mind but also it’s good for me to have routines. Another way for me to relief some of the stress is to take the time to cook a good meal for myself.

Did you transform your activity?

We closed our restaurant. Our guests have been very understanding of the situation. In the first few days, before everything got closed by the government, we did our best to rebook or help people finding reservations at other restaurants.

This is a hard time for all working in hospitality – also for the suppliers of restaurants, farmers, those who offer services to the restaurants. What should we do to support each other and survive also economically?

Our profession is just a small part of a big ecosystem. There are already many initiatives by people all over the town to support and buy groceries from local farms. The Danes have really embraced it and it is fantastic to see everyone help out. When we come back to work we will continue the work we have done over the past year by sourcing locally and this will make a huge difference to the farmers.

What are you doing to stay positive?

Exercise, speak to friends and watch anything by Dave Chappelle.

How do you see life after coronavirus?

It will be very tough coming back. The world will have changed so much and we will have to do three times as much for lesser pay than what we used to. But it brings me comfort knowing that one day I will be back cooking for someone else than myself.

Support systems and fundraising is something I’m thinking a lot about these days. I’m very worried about all my friends around the world that might live in countries where the government aren’t supplying good stimulus packages. We need to find a way to help those people back on their feet.

This time “at home” is also a time for reflections. Do you think it will create some change in how we work and live our future? If yes, how?

Hopefully we all will learn from this. We are all one and only have one Earth. My hope and dream are that finally global warming will be taken seriously and the governments around the world will take extreme measures to prevent the collapse.

What would be your personal message for your colleagues and other hospitality people around the world?

Stay strong, be nice and we will come out of this. The people in our profession are some of the strongest people on the planet and have such great love for their craft. We will come back.

Andreja Lajh

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