It didn’t appear to be the right address. After all, the four-story building hardly fit the bill as a venue for a “gala dinner/dance,” particularly where Bastian Fassin and Tobias Bachmüller, co-managing directors of Katjes GmbH, would receive the European Candy Kettle Club’s 2016 award.
A welcoming committee of two beautiful young ladies quickly displaced that notion as they checked the who’s who guest list. The climb up the flight of stairs, which was peppered with graffiti on the walls and landings, including some iconic Katjes’ cats, reminded one more of the West Side of Chicago than Berlin.
But life in the hipster capital of the world demands bodacious imagination, even within the parameters of a staid, at-times conservative industry as confections. Reaching the top floor, guests were immediately transported into a sophisticated lounge featuring scores of pillow-laden sofas, a billiards table and waiters and waitresses offering drinks and hors d’ouevres.
Upon entering the main room, guests came across a spectacular dining area, complete with a bar, dance floor and a live band turning out some chilling blues and jazz. What had appeared to be an abandoned apartment building was now transformed into a sophisticated club scene, albeit with a confectionery twist-wrap.
Once the formal introductions of the ECKC members and guests were completed, the award ceremonies stepped up into another gear as past ECKC award recipients shared their congratulations and advice for this year’s winners.
Fassin and Bachmüller graciously accepted the honor and reminded guests of the company’s history and well as of the corporate culture, reaffirming that recognition comes from team effort and perseverance. Raging toward the early morning hours, the award ceremony capped an extended weekend featuring a visit to Katjes’ Potsdam plant, lunch at the Ristorante Il Teatro, a welcome dinner at the very hip and vegetarian Cookies Cream restaurant, a visit to Sanssouci Palace and a special private tour of Deutscher Bundestag.
Not only was the Katjes cat purring from having its co-managing directors recognized by the ECKC, but so were all the members and guests attending the weekend-long celebration. Definitely, it was “The cat’s meow.”