Portrait Swetlana Miller

A good mood

makes life better...

…and croissants tastier! Swetlana Miller knows what she's talking about, because she's been with Moin right from the beginning. A friend had told her about the organic bakery - at that time a company with just six employees - and after her interview with Mr. Mattke, Swetlana started immediately. "The part where our warm bakery stands today was our whole area back then," Swetlana remembers. "We used to stack each sheet of puff pastry by hand." Since then, a lot has changed: "Now we have so much space and so many machines. We still do a lot of work by hand, but all the equipment makes it way easier," says Swetlana, pleased with the relief provided by today's technology. As the assistant to production management, Swetlana knows every step in the making of our baked goods by heart and can correct processes very quickly if necessary. "We are here to make good food," she says and recalls the production of a very large quantity of vegan croissants, which made her think: "Mama Mia, so many people buy our croissants!" That makes you feel proud and happy, too.

When the native Russian says: "Quality comes first", she's not only talking about good knowledge of the raw materials and technical processes, but also about the right work attitude. After all these years, Swetlana knows very well how much people's attitudes affect the final result. "Bread tastes better when baked with love." This may sound kitschy, but it has been proven to be true again and again. We work with living, raw materials that clearly react to their environment. That's why Swetlana places such great importance on the joy at work - and, of course, the same applies at home.

She likes to decorate her house and enjoys her yoga classes where she gets to concentrate on herself. "It trains your ability to focus and makes you feel full of zest." She also loves being out in nature. "Back in Siberia, my sisters and me used to play a lot in the snow. Today, I'm always happy when I see how beautiful my garden is," she says, adding: "I'm just so grateful to be alive. We should appreciate every single minute." These words come from the heart. Swetlana has three sons, one of whom was hospitalized for a long time after a serious car accident. Such events hit you hard and demand a lot of strength and patience. But even then - or especially then - it helps if you manage to keep your smile and your optimism. Swetlana is convinced that "a good mood makes life better". It is exactly this conviction and her cheerful, open-hearted nature which, in addition to her many years of experience, enriches the Moin team so much.

But Swetlana also sees how she has developed through her time at Moin. "I used to just buy anything. Today I am much better informed and pay attention to labels such as organic, regional and fair trade. And I like to pass on what I've learnt. My children now also ask questions like 'What's in it?' or 'Is this organic?' - I think that's great!"

Swetlana doesn't have a long list of plans for the future; but she intends to keep on shining, to stay true to herself and to have as much fun as possible. And when the time is right, she would like to teach her grandchildren how to plant a vegetable garden - a perfect activity to pass on her great appreciation for life.

28. June 2019
by Natascha Solis


attitude | future | brotherhood | responsibility | trust

Portrait Shadi Alrhoan

Finding peace in

the here and now

Shadi was born in Syria and has already experienced a lot in his 29 years. His family belongs to the Christian minority there and so his childhood was marked by a lot of insecurity. When he was 13, he started helping out on his father's farm. Five years later Shadi's father died and the farm passed into Shadi's hands. "I took care of 70 cows," he says. Most of the milk was sold directly, but sometimes Shadi and his uncle made Arab style cheese out of it. "The right temperature and maturing time were very important," says Shadi, addressing factors that are also of great importance for his work today.

When he was not taking care of the farm, Shadi devoted himself to his many books - including texts by Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, William Shakespeare and Charles Darwin. What he read strengthened his conviction that every human being must be allowed to choose his religion. He decided to study political science and business management, but was unable to complete his studies as planned. The threat of war became so strong that escape seemed to be the only way out. "I walked for 35 days," Shadi recalls, making clear both the despair and hope that prevailed in him at the time.

He has been in Germany for almost 3 years now. During this time he has created a new home for himself, made new friends and found a permanent job. He discovered Moin on the internet platform "indeed" and despite his poor German language skills his interview was successful. Now he takes care of the doughs for us: "I make sure that the doughs mature well first and are then baked well." The right timing is very important in the production of our baked goods. This requires attentiveness and precision from Shadi. 

And when you are so present in the moment, you don't ponder on what was or what will be.

In his spare time, however, Shadi thinks a lot about the future. He thinks of his family in Syria, especially his little brother. "He wants to become a veterinarian," Shadi smiles and wonders whether he will be able to return to his home country at some point.

Until then, we are grateful for Shadi's contribution to Moin and he is grateful for the chance to lead a safe, peaceful life. "Working with the dough isn't difficult and can be fun," he says. "Besides, it's a very nice team."

When asked about three wishes, Shadi's first two answers come immediately: "No more wars! No more weapons!" And after a short pause he adds: "No more religion." At least not one that allows inflicting suffering on others. 

And then Shadi has a fourth wish: "At some point I want to finish my studies." - May all these wishes come true!

6. May 2019
by Natascha Solis


attitude | future | brotherhood | responsibility | trust

Portrait Dirk Urban

Nothing is impossible!

Thoroughbred baker, confectioner, product developer, customer advisor, instructor...Dirk Urban has been at Moin for an impressive 13½ years and has always contributed to the quality of our baked goods.

Dirk auf Messe

As a product developer, he is the man who turns our ideas into reality. For example, say, it’s Monday and the idea of a poppy seed swirl comes up. On Tuesday Dirk has already created a prototype and by Wednesday we all have the pleasure of tasting the new creation. Apart from his treats his calm, helpful attitude and the fact that he enjoys what he’s doing strengthen our team. Dirk has turned his hobby into a profession and knows from experience that work can be fun.

That does not mean that the road so far was always easy. As a 16-year-old, he began his apprenticeship with a 70-hour week. "Don’t get any funny ideas about having Saturdays off,” was the clear message from his boss at the time. Fortunately, at least on Sundays, there was no baking. Despite the high demands, Dirk likes to look back on his apprenticeship. "Back in the day, many companies had family-like structures and there was a greater focus on quality than is common today."

Many backed the wrong horse by setting their priorities on quick profits and exchanging their sovereignty for processed ingredients. Simply blending baking mixes has got nothing to do with the true art of baking.

In addition to product development, Dirk spends a lot of time in our modern production facility and ensures that his skills and experience flow into the processes. But every now and then he takes the time to teach our apprentices how to bake a traditional honey cake, for example. "Nobody does that anymore. Hardly anyone today knows how to bake without using technical enzymes." Of course, that's not the case at Moin. "Moin makes top quality!", Dirk knows, "We control all our processes ourselves rather than putting our trust in chemical companies and their products." At Moin we rely on our know-how which Dirk has plenty of!

He also likes to share his tips and tricks with local grocers. He knows that every store is different and that you have to stay flexible in order to get the best possible results. In the mornings, when the bakery counter needs to be filled it can get pretty stressful and sometimes the motto is: the main thing is to get it done. In these situations Dirk can provide professional guidance: "I can optimize the entire process and increase the quality of the baked goods." And in the end, there even tends to be enough time to enjoy a cup of coffee while appreciating the successful counter presentation - a nice realization for many who previously believed that there was no better way of going about it. But especially when someone says something along the lines of "that's not possible" or "there's no such thing", Dirk comes along and says: "Well, let’s see about that ...!" Then he will experiment until the opposite is proven. "Nothing is impossible" is Dirk's motto.

Anyone who has experienced Dirk playing football knows how ambitious he is. While other players dropped early, Dirk still showed full dedication. Even if his team’s score was 0 to 3 in the 89th minute, he didn’t give up. Quite on the contrary, "Now more than ever!" Dirk thought and gave it all he had to shoot at least that one goal.

Dirk has seen a lot in his life. Nevertheless, he wants to get to know the world even better and travel more with his wife. "Otherwise, I'm happy and satisfied," he says and answers my genie-in-a-bottle question - granting him three wishes - quite modestly with: "Health." So be it!

14. January 2019
by Natascha Solis


attitude | future | brotherhood | responsibility | trust

Portrait Vicky Leskien

The only way is up!

And bread is always 

a good idea.

Vicky Leskien

Vicky Leskien is our superwoman in accounting. Commited, resourceful, with a preference for high quality, persuasive and humorous – that's her, but not at eight o'clock in the morning! Vicky certainly isn't what you would call an early bird, but never mind.

Born in Rostock she went across the country for her apprenticeship as a hotel manageress in Elmau near to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, followed by a year as an assistant in a town on the shore of Lake Tegernsee. But something was missing as she kept carrying plates from A to B. For a while she continued working as a waitress, but at the same time she picked up her studies again in preparation for her belated high school graduation. Her motto: The only way is up!

She chose nutrition as her major subject and thus the decision for the food industry was made. This was followed by a dual business studies course at the Hamburg University of Cooperative Education with parallel training as a butcher. Since then, she feels that she appreciates animals much more and eats less meat than before. She says: "Good meat must be expensive! And when I do fancy chicken, I get a whole one and consume it all, not just the fillet pieces."

After her studies, she quickly found employment as an accountant and soon she found herself responsible for the entire IT department, too. But that couldn't be the end of the line either; surely there's still something else waiting! At a football match of the team Eintracht Frankfurt, she noticed the sponsor "indeed" on the jerseys. She followed this hint of fate and went to their website for job offers. And that's where she discovered Moin's nice advertisement. 

"I can see myself feeling comfortable there," was Vicky's first thought and soon afterwards she had her job interview. She was asked about her best eating experience, and immediately a big smile spread over her face. She enjoys remembering that special evening with her boyfriend in Berlin, when they were invited by his dad, a native of Berlin, to the brasserie at the Ritz-Carlton. Dressed to impress and full of anticipation, she passed the porter at the entrance of the Ritz-Carlton. 

„What a guy that was, standing there in his opulent cloak holding a cane!“, enthuses Vicky and remembers how he then used that cane to knock on the floor in order to announce their arrival: „I bring guests!“ The head waiter, who seemed to enjoy the occasion just as much as Vicky did, served an aperitif right away. „Not only was the food sensational“, Vicky gushes, „but the service was absolutely incredible. Those are excellently trained people who really enjoy what they do. Just great, I can't forget that.“ 

While she was still waiting to hear back from her interview at Moin, she was strolling through Kiel when she passed a large billboard that said: "Bread is always a good idea". Obviously, Vicky immediately had to think of Moin and laughed at what seemed to be yet another hint of fate.

Since then, Vicky Leskien has become an integral part of our team, in which she sees her personal strength in structuring processes. She says: "I have many answers to many questions and I like to give incentives. But at the end of the day everyone has to chip in to make it work." She is currently also doing a 16-month training course to become a stewardship accountant. After all, the only way is up!

In her spare time, Vicky takes piano lessons, has a subscription for the Hamburg State Opera and fervently follows every Darts World Championship. She also likes to travel, but never stays anywhere with less than 5 stars. "When my boyfriend and I go on holiday together, these are precious moments. I don't want to waste any time being annoyed with bad hotel rooms," she says. Upon asking what wishes she holds for the future, Vicky replies: "Financial security, sunshine, being happy and that things will continue successfully." Of course they will, since the only way is up...

23. November 2018 
by Natascha Solis


attitude | future | brotherhood | responsibility | trust

Portrait Tim Petersen

Solving a small problem can be the first step towards tackling larger issues

On the way to work recently, I heard on the radio that there is an acute shortage of apprentice bakers in Schleswig-Holstein. At the same time, we are celebrating our colleague Tim Petersen having completed his baker’s apprenticeship after just two years instead of three, earning in the process the best exam results in his year in the district of Steinburg. Congratulations! Our colleagues Julianna Müller and Vicky Leskien were in attendance at the graduation ceremony.

Tim displayed the creative and bold sides to his personality in his presentation. Instead of adjusting the size of the bacon cubes in his onion tart, he preferred to adjust the outer edge of his pastry and created a bar in the medieval style. The heartiness of these extra-large bacon cubes evoked precisely that era and simultaneously gave expression to Tim’s confidence and passion for baking.

This passion was awoken by experimenting with sourdough breads. “You can really do magic with it,” Tim explains secretively, and has plenty of ideas for new kinds of bread in his head. And now that he is able to enjoy his first very own kitchen, he is sure to realise plenty of those ideas.

Based in Hohenfelde and using potatoes grown in his own garden, Tim knows that organic simply tastes better. He loves the simplicity and warmth of stews. "You can put whatever you want in a stew," he explains. Generally speaking, he appreciates the value of living in the countryside, not just because of his own vegetable garden, but above all because of the feeling of freedom. Lots of space, plenty of air and music at whatever volume you want. He describes his job at Moin as a "lucky coincidence". A particular highlight for him of late was attending an organic foods trade fair for the first time, where he was able to see the impact of his day-to-day work at close quarters. Seeing the many people who came up to our stand, tried our samples and visibly enjoyed what he had prepared with his colleagues gave him a meaningful lift after the occasionally stressful examination stage. He sees listening and being able to put himself in other people’s shoes as some of his strengths, both of which come into play in the production team. If everyone sees and recognises each other as part of a whole, where others may potentially have weaknesses they can easily be balanced out through sufficient attentiveness and team spirit. Our motto of "each should do what they do best" allows us to move forward together - or in Tim’s words, "when I solve a small problem, that can be the first step towards tackling larger issues."

24. September 2018 
by Natascha Solis


attitude | future | brotherhood | responsibility | trust

Portrait Jule Prothmann

There is always something you can do

Jule Prothmann

Jule Prothmann is our purchasing and project manager. She grew up in a village surrounded by farms where her family would get their eggs and milk from. Apples always came from their neighbours garden. In this way, Jule experienced the benefits of regional value creation early on in her life. " There was a lot of talk about food at home", Jule says and remembers her mother facing the challange of trying to please each family member . Both children were picky when it came to food and dad hadn't quite realized the advantages of organic food yet, which collided with her own high quality standards and her conviction that meat consumption should rather be kept to a minimum.

Not only mum shaped Jule's understanding regarding conventionally and organically produced food, but also Jule's best friend, who grew up on the Demeter farm Hof Dannwisch which is run in accordance to high biodynamic agricultural standards. Good food remained an important part of Jule's life even after school. She studied food management at the Dual University of Heilbronn. During this time she also worked at the organic supermarket chain Alnatura in Darmstadt. This meant a lot of back and forth for Jule, which in addition to the distance to her original home up North wasn't always easy. "Back then, when someone asked me where I lived, my reply was: In my car", Jule recalls and has to laugh because even though she's happy those days are over she also knows that a little "rock'n'roll" doesn't hurt. After all it's the challenges in life that let us grow most and make us stronger. Giving up simply isn't an option. Jule believes: "There is always something you can do." 

When it was time for her internship she applied at Moin. A perfect choice since Jule's serenity and positive attitude match MOIN in the way strawberry jam matches croissants.

Upon asking about her personal to-do-list Jule starts dreaming about a trip to India. She says: "I definitely want to see those spice markets." And one of her long-term goals is to have a farm of her own with dogs, cats, pigs, donkeys and one alpaca.

29. August 2018 
by Natascha Solis


attitude | future | brotherhood | responsibility | trust

Portrait Jochen Schneider

Use your head

to live from the heart

Bäckermeister Jochen Schneider

Our master baker Jochen Schneider came all the way from Lower Franconia to us in Glückstadt.

After completing his master the year before and getting to know productions that did not fit his expectations, he sets out to find a bakery with values that fit his own.

He discovers Moin on the internet and - despite the stiff breeze up here - decides to bring his skills and passion for the bakery trade to us. "It makes people happy when they have something good to eat. I enjoy making food that others like to eat." Jochen experienced the tremendous influence the quality of food has on ones well-being firsthand.

"There were times when I ate bad bakery products every day. Back then I was really fat." There's no sign of it today though. For the sake of his health, Jochen chose a meat-free diet.

"Since becoming a vegetarian, I've started cooking intuitively, without a recipe book, and that worked amazingly well. I eat very differently today."

His appreciation for good food is also evident in the production.

Jochen carefully picks up the baguette dough and with a calm confidence shapes it in just a few movements. "If you create too much pressure, the dough contracts again", he explains.

Jochen generally does not think much of stress. "I work to have fun" he says, knowing it's different for many people in our money-based society. "I love the idea of a society that is self-sufficient, where people bring in their talents and work together hand in hand to ensure a good life for everyone."

When asked what he would like to change in the world, Jochen says: "A fair distribution of resources would be good. Everything else can stay as it is. "

1. June 2018 
by Natascha Solis


attitude | future | brotherhood | responsibility | trust