When he lived in Albania, few people knew about Drini's origin. Originally from Permet, a town in southern Albania, the son of a family persecuted by the communist regime, he preferred to claim to be from Vlore. Today he is the owner of a restaurant-pizzeria in Berlin and few know that he is not Italian.
"A portion of spaghetti with mushrooms", orders the newly entered customer. "Willingly," responds Drini Sakollari, repeating the same order in German to the cook. After that, he returns to the table holding a small bowl full of olives and slices of homemade bread. "Bread and wine, it is the best Italian in the area", many restaurant customers write on the internet. Few people know that the oil painting occupies a large part of a wall inside the restaurant, it does not portray the coasts of Puglia but the vineyards of Radhima, a seaside resort a few kilometers from Vlora. "In that village I did my training after having obtained the maturity in Vlore ”, says Drini. Now accustomed to interviews, he welcomes to his restaurant many journalists who question“ the Italian gastronomist ”for comments on football and the fashion of the Bel Paese. "I can tell you all about blue football from the '70 to the present, but I'm not Italian," he replies to journalists who continue to interview him, always missing out on this detail!The hateful question
Where are you from? Whenever he was asked this question in Albania, Drini felt uncomfortable. If he told the truth, it would have been difficult for him to avoid other questions about the family and then talk about the grandfather sentenced to 10 years for "agitation and propaganda" against the communist regime. "Immediately after the conviction of his grandfather, my parents, both young teachers who they had only been working for a year, they were confined, "he says.
And just to get rid of that question, he decided to graduate in Vlore, hosted by his aunt married to an officer. From then on, when asked about his origins, he replied relieved: "of Valona". Obviously this held up until he met people from Permet. "Denying your origins within the same country was the height," he says.
A Lisi of Benja, where 50 was born years ago and where he was forced to return after the internship, they called him Kulak. "Many managers of the cooperative, though almost illiterate, came to read me the works of Enver Hoxha", he says with regret. true psychological torment for the then twenty year old. With the help of his uncle, he exchanged this torture with the physical one: he began work as a miner in Valias near Tirana. "Now I wouldn't work in that place even for 1 million euros. A dear friend died before my eyes as he tried to warn me of the danger and recommend me to run away quickly. I saw the land that covered it ... ". With the exodus to foreign embassies in Tirana in the 1990, Drini was among the first who crossed the threshold of the German one without thinking twice. Once inside, he met many of his colleagues in Valias. "Almost a third of the intruders were from Valias".
From dishwasher to chef
His dream was the United States, but a series of circumstances did not allow its realization. So he stayed in Berlin, where he now lives with his wife and two sons. "I traveled a lot, but no city in the world is like Berlin, so pleasant for all lifestyles," says Drini.
His career in Germany corresponds perfectly to the stereotype about immigrants: "I started washing the dishes, then I went to the bar, then to the pizza counter to end up in the room serving. I had learned everything about the profession, I just missed being a chef and owner. So I tried to open this restaurant that turned out to be a success ", says Drini smiling and goes to a table where customers seem to have just finished eating." "Espresso, cappuccino, grappa, what do you like after a meal? He offers the house ".Article by Anila Shuka, published on the Albanian online edition of Deutsche Welle the July 21 2010 . Original title "Drini Sakollari, Italians më i mirë i zonës".
Translated by AlbaniaNews from.
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