Our first morning in Berlin, at Le Jardin bistro inside Schlosshotel, we met Chef Jon. Because our German speaking server didn’t fully understand a particular breakfast request, he excused himself, went back into the kitchen, and seconds later the executive chef appeared, wearing a toque blanche (“white hat”)—which made him appear even taller—and to our surprise, spoke English with a very pleasant Scottish brogue. Yes, he understood perfectly what we wanted, returned to the kitchen, and soon reappeared with a beautifully plated order of waffles topped with fresh strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream, and lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar. I had recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease—which turned out to a misdiagnosis, I learned years later—so as I enjoyed a cheese plate with prosciutto, sliced pears, a mix of berries, and my second cup of cappuccino, I was content to watch what had been a picture-perfect presentation of waffles, being happily devoured across the table from me.
Mornings at Le Jardin were a delightful way to begin each day. From that first morning on, besides the pleasure of a satisfying dining experience in a lush, tropical garden-like atmosphere, we got to know our affable new friend, Jon. Night owls, and slightly late risers, most of the guests had come and gone, by the time we sat down and I’d ordered my first cappuccino. So typically, after our breakfast was served, Jon would come out and join us in conversation at our table. It was probably that second morning, that we learned about Isabel, the young lady he bought a ring for, and intended to propose marriage—when the right time and place presented itself, he said. Isabel was the only girl he dated, his parents were totally thrilled about, so she must be “the one”.
That was in the fall of 2011! In the spring of 2013, while in Germany once again, from Weimar, we decided to take the morning train up to Berlin and do dinner with Jon and his now fiancée, Isabel. When we contacted Jon, he convinced us to not only come up for dinner, but to stay overnight, saying he would take the following day off to squire us around areas of Berlin we hadn’t previously explored. Isabel was events manager at Soho House, and she would arrange our room accommodations, Jon said. That was perfect!
Surprisingly, besides the visuals—an eccentric mix of Art Deco, contemporary and vintage decor—Soho House Berlin, a massive, sprawling building designated an historical landmark, has quite a storied and layered past.
Although in 2011 we toured the former Eastern sector of Berlin—by bus, up to the Brandenburg Gate, and back to the west side of the city—this was the first time we stayed on that side of Berlin, dined, and had our very own personal tour guide—our dear friend Jon.
Since this last visit, Jon and Isabel got married in her home city, Madrid. For the wedding, Jon’s parents and relatives made the journey from Scotland to join Isabel’s family and friends for the wedding celebration. With the beautiful Isabel, a vision of loveliness in her bridal gown, surrounded by family, and Jon and his groomsmen decked out in black tuxedo jackets and kilts from their native highland, the day was one big joyous affair.
Back in Germany, Jon and Isabel have made Berlin, the city where they met, their home. And in December of 2014, the couple welcomed their adorable little cherub, Heidi, into the world!