Daniel Cohen Managing Director Beigel Bake Limited London Brick Lane

Ep 70: Running London’s Most Iconic Jewish Beigel Shop | Daniel Cohen (Managing Director, Beigel Bake Limited)

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Welcome to Episode 70!

Our guest for STIMY Episode 70 is Daniel Cohen.

Daniel Cohen is the Managing Director of Beigel Bake Limited – one of London’s most iconic Jewish beigel shops, located along Brick Lane (also an iconic location in the City).

Beigel (or bagel, depending on where you’re from) is a second-generation family Jewish bakery that Daniel’s father began with two uncles back in 1974. Serving 7,000 dense and chewy Jewish beigels daily, 24/7, it has since been rated 3 stars by Time Out London in 2010 (4 stars by its online users) and featured by the photographic pictorial Life in the East End by London-based cabaret duo, EastEnd Cabaret.

In this episode, Daniel shares how Beigel Bake first came to be, what his father was like, how he got involved in the family business, the story behind its “rivalry” with a neighbouring Jewish beigel shop, how it fared during the pandemic and so much more.

If you’re ever in London, I’d recommend a visit to Beigel Bake!

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    Who is Daniel Cohen?

    Daniel is of Jewish/English heritage, whose father had begun Beigel Bake Limited with two of his uncles. Unsurprisingly, the bakery was a prominent part of his life and he shares how he would often pop into the shop to “help out”, as well as the origins of the family shop.

    • 4:10 Growing up with Beigel Bake as a prominent part of his life
    • 5:01 The Jewish history of beigels (or bagels)
    • 7:02 Brick Lane history
    • 8:57 How Beigel Bake began & its ongoing “rivalry” with a neighbouring Jewish beigel shop
    • 10:34 How Beigel Bake went from being a wholesaler to serving the public
    • 12:37 Growing by word of mouth (no advertising!)
    • 14:24 Most popular fillings
    • 14:43 The story behind the salt beef/pastrami filling served at Beigel Bake
    And then one guy said, I want a sandwich. You got anything to put in this? I'm hungry. I don't eat just bread... So they started making sandwiches & it wasn't even a shop at that time. It was just literally a hole in the wall. And slowly, slowly, they started getting busier and busier.
    Daniel Cohen Managing Director Beigel Bake Limited London Brick Lane
    Daniel Cohen
    Managing Director, Beigel Bake Limited

    Joining the Family Business

    His father tremendously influenced how the shop was (and still is!) run, and also the offerings available. Daniel shares the backstory to how they pivoted from being a wholesaler to serving the public, how they began serving pastrami/salt beef (now their most popular dish) and how his role changed when he became managing director. 

    • 16:26 What was Daniel’s dad like?
    • 20:28 Did Daniel feel obliged to join the family business?
    • 21:55 Why Beigel Bake started serving sandwiches 24/7
    • 24:14 Realities of running a family business 
    • 25:54 Becoming managing director
    • 28:58 Why Daniel released the recipe for their Jewish beigel
    • 29:49 Will Beigel Bake ever open a branch?

    Looking to the Future

    Daniel Cohen talks about how COVID-19 impacted their business and their plans for the future. 

    • 30:53 Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • 34:34 Launching their own delivery app (and some mishaps!)
    • 38:38 Working with charities 
    • 40:12 Having the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge come to visit
    • 42:23 How the business is currently faring
    Pinterest Daniel Cohen Managing Director Beigel Bake Limited London Brick Lane

    If you’re looking for more inspirational stories, check out:

    • Karl Mak: Co-Founder, Hepmil Media Group – building Southeast Asia’s largest meme-based company 
    • Renyi Chin: Co-Founder, MyBurgerLab – one of Malaysia’s most innovative burger chains
    • Hawker Chan: Running the World’s Cheapest Michelin-starred Hawker Chain (note: this interview was conducted entirely in Mandarin!)
    • Shawn Chong: x3 Diageo World Class Malaysian Champion & Professional Mixologist 

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    STIMY Ep 70: Running London’s Most Iconic Jewish Beigel Shop |

    Daniel Cohen (Managing Director, Beigel Bake Limited)

    Ling Yah: Did you feel as though because you had seen your father put so much into this shop that you had to join it?

    Daniel Cohen: No, definitely. Like he was really, really hugely committed. I tell people it was his first wife. There was the bakery and then there was us.

    Not in a bad way, but like, I can understand, you know, how much of himself he put into the place to make it what it is, you know. It's part of you. It could be your first wife or your first child or whatever, you know. And plus it's, we all lived off it, right. It was keeping us going.

    So it's an important place as well.

    But it was like a character then atmosphere. There's parts of you, like you could say the still parts of him there, if that makes sense.

    Not, I'm not being like all spiritual. What I mean, it's like the way he was like the characteristics and the way he set the standard there.

    You know, it's like his personality is like, you can feel it. And there's an atmosphere because he was a bit quirky. He wasn't boring.

    For example, you know, most people you've got a shop full of people. You wouldn't think of raising your voice or saying what's on your mind. Or, you know, there was no filter. If he thought it, it came out, you know, he didn't think, should I say this or shouldn't I say this? I feel this way. And I'm going to tell you, I feel this way. No, I'm not happy. Hey, you're an idiot. As blunt as that, not, I don't think you should have done that. Hey you idiot, what've you done you know.

    Ling Yah: Hey everyone!

    Firstly, happy Chinese New Year!

    Welcome to episode 70 of the So This Is My Why podcast. I'm your host and producer, Ling Yah, and today's guest is Daniel Cohen, managing director of Beigel Bakes. Beigel Bake s is one of London's most iconic Jewish beigel, or for some bagel, bakery located along Brick Lane.

    It also happens to be one of my favorite places in town. Open 24/7, and rarely is without a very long queues snacking all the way out onto the streets.

    As a second generation owner, Daniel peels back the layers on what it's like to run a family business. How the bakery first got started, what his father was like, and the way they started introducing sandwiches with salt beef fillings, the famous rivalry they have with another beigel shop two stores down, how they've adapted to the pandemic.

    And their experience having the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge drop by. If you have ever been curious to know what it's like to run one of London's most iconic bakeries. Then this is the episode for you.

    Are you ready?

    Let's go.

    Daniel Cohen: I'm Jewish in origin.

    My dad's from Israel, my mom's from England. Before I was born, he opened his bakery, Beigel Bakes, that's what we're here to talk about. He opened it to the public in 1974. However it was a wholesale business prior to that.

    He met my mom at the bakery, so she works for him. So they got together there.

    When we were younger, my dad was really a little bit more observant than he was later on in life. And that's due to his mom. His mom was religious. He didn't- my dad didn't really care. We were like, you know, traditional. We kept bits and pieces, but some we weren't like full on, we enjoyed ourselves as well.

    Daniel Cohen: I went to a Jewish primary school. My children go to a public, English school. So on Sundays they have like an hour or two of Jewish school. I wouldn't say they start reading all the Bible and whatever.

    Daniel Cohen: We're Jewish people, they learn a little bit about our religion and the festivals. Because like said I'm not that religious, so I'm not hugely practicing, but it's nice to know. It's like education, isn't it.

    So we had normal, you know, maths, English, Jewish studies, we learn about Jewish stuff, kind of like religious studies. History, geography, you know, et cetera, et cetera, PE you know, we did everything just within our school learning. We have this Jewish education as part of it.

    And also it was a Jewish school with themes. So.

    Ling Yah: What does that mean? Because I come from a Muslim country and there are no Jews here.

    Daniel Cohen: Very similar to being Muslim, actually. You've got halal over there.

    Ling Yah: Yes.

    Daniel Cohen: We've got kosher.

    It's the same thing, different name. They've got five prayer times a day.

    Ling Yah: Yes.

    Daniel Cohen: We have three. I didn't do any, but we're meant to pray three times a day. Women. Shouldn't really be like walking around in the bikinis and whatnot and showing their body off.

    Okay. Yeah. We're a little bit more discreet as well. You know, there's this very similar.

    Ling Yah: So you mentioned that your father started his business before you were born. So I imagine that growing up there must have been a tremendous feature in your family life.

    Daniel Cohen: Yeah. Like I would go there as a child all the time. He would take me. There was like, it was a fun place to be when you're small, you know, imagine being a child has this flour, dough, machinery. Like you don't have to keep the place clean like you do at home.

    Throw flour everywhere and you know, you clean up afterwards, obviously we're not animals,

    Daniel Cohen: working full-time at 19, but if I ever go in as a child. Yeah, there's not much to do so eventually after I messed around a bit, I'd go and help the people like cut beigels or butter them.

    And I might pick up the broom and walk around and sweep and know that I was told to it was just something to do. And you know, I saw others doing it. So I was like, oh, I'll help you, you know, and everyone was so friendly and it was just a nice place to be.

    Ling Yah: Beigels, I was reading, it actually originated from Jewish communities in Poland, isn't it? What's t he history behind that?

    Daniel Cohen: So apparently there's a story that it was like, there were hard times and there was a king and they just come out of some kind of bad situation and they wanted to celebrate. But then, because there were hard times, there wasn't like a lot of food and products and stuff to have a party with, so they had to make do with what they had.

    So apparently the beigels started by they didn't have enough to push out for all the people around, so they used a bit less. And then like they removed a bit, hence the hole. Yeah, it's a fun, it's a nice story.

    I don't know if that's the reason.

    So they made the hole and that way they could make an extra portion. So like, you know, you'd save a quarter from each one can make an extra portion and they spread it out that way. That was another thing.

    Another story I heard was there was a way of carrying them and displaying them.

    So they'd put them onto sticks or string. Yeah. And instead of filling up bags and stuff, it's just an easy way to transport them, right. So you just fill up loads of string with beigels and you'd go around and you just take them off and sell them.

    So I think that's the shape that it came from.

    Why we boiled them and the methods of cooking them, I think that's probably something that evolved over time.

    Ling Yah: And it wasn't, it, it used to be given to women following childbirth?

    Daniel Cohen: I never heard of that. I don't know. Actually I know the pronunciation, a lot of people say bagel and we say beigel that's because the Yiddish, which is the Eastern European Jewish language, words are pronounced differently in different languages, right. So you'd say baigen, it would be the Yiddish pronunciation.

    My dad's from Israel. So he would also have a bit of an accent to him. So he'd say beigel. So hence why it's spelled, and we say that way.

    And then, you know how English words sound slightly differently to American words? Bagel is a very American way to say it like.

    Instead of, we say Iraq, they say Iraq, you know. We'd say Arab, they say Arab. So it's like just pronounced the word differently. I think that's all it is. But obviously there are more Americans in the world than us. So they say bagel took off a bit more, I guess.

    Ling Yah: And I just wanted to talk about the area in which your shop is located.

    Because it's in Brick Lane, which is quite historical and I was reading up. And apparently it was quite a derelict area before?

    Daniel Cohen: Basically it's um, throughout time, a lot of immigrants have waved into the UK when there have been problems like people seeking asylum and whatnot.

    So the first wave, going back to that time when the Jewish people and they were brought into the east end, because there's a dock there.

    London Docklands, it's not far from the east end. So they, were brought into that area. Obviously it's a poor area, so where'd you put immigrants? Put them there.

    So that became a Jewish community and Jewish hub. And, that's around the time that my dad came over here and he started his business, you know, the bakery the next wave that came in were Bangladeshi people and whatnot. So at one point it was a very Bangladeshi area. Although a lot of Jewish people remained because some people bought shops and homes and housing properties, and obviously established shops.

    So some remained, some closed and moved on. And slowly, slowly it turned into a bit of a Bangladeshi Jewishy area. And now a lot of Spanish, Italian and French people came there and over time, because it's so close to central London, it has become much more of an affluent area.

    And so you have a whole variety of different people like you've got Americans, English people have come back to the area. You've got lots of students. There's loads of night life and activities and things to do this. And that's become a huge jumble of all different ethnicities. So it's really a nice, diverse, interesting area to be.

    Daniel Cohen: Yeah.

    Well, w w we're open all the time. 24 hours a day, every day. We're never shut. We're always there. We're reasonable in price.

    My dad always believed in being fair and honest and not being greedy. He was very content. He said like, I don't need much more. The rest is just waste. Why should I kill myself and work extra and, and squeeze everybody else around me when I'm happy. Everybody, you know, I'm doing well, let everybody do well with me.

    And he was really good guy. He was, it was nice. Not just because he's my dad. He actually like, it was a nice guy.

    Ling Yah: Do you remember the story behind how this shop starts in 1974? I mean, he started it with his brother Amnon and also, Sammy as well, right?

    Daniel Cohen: Correct. Yeah. So prior to that my uncle Johnny, his elder brother, was here many years before him.

    And he started the bagel trade. He was the person that brought bagels to England. He actually started it all over here.

    Daniel Cohen: He had three shops and he recruited my dad to come over from Israel and help him. He put the seeds in my dad's head and my dad said, well, there wasn't much going on in Israel, to be honest. It's a very poor country.

    It was like just started off at the time. And he was like, oh God, no. Okay. And he came. He started working with him and he learned everything. And, there's two bakeries in Brick Lane. Yeah. My uncle owns the other one and my dad worked there. Then my dad started renting that building of my uncle and started Beigel Baker there really.

    But it was a wholesale business and that a little bit retail. And then my dad and my uncle had a bit of a falling out because my uncle wanted his shop back and my dad wanted to have the business then. Now he wanted to keep going. Then the bakery where we are now was a butcher. That guy's retired. And my dad knew him.

    So he took the shop. He offered to buy the shop from him and did. And that's why there are two bakeries in Brick Lane, they're the same. And then my uncle sold that one to somebody else in the end. So now it's two different families.

    They actually all worked for my uncle. Johnny so it's all really the same, but it went that way after my uncle sold it.

    That is kind of technically our shop but we don't own it now.

    It's not us anymore, but that was us. And then we moved over here and somebody took over that one. I won't say we're in competition. We're friendly. Everyone seems to like us more thank god.

    Ling Yah: And how did it go from being a wholesaler and having no shop front to actually selling to the public?

    Daniel Cohen: So people used to come by, obviously you could smell the produce, whatever.

    And although it was a factory and wholesale, like things were pretty relaxed back then, especially my dad is very relaxed person, so the door would be open. People would come in, come in, can I use the toilet? Can I this?

    We used to get deliveries from um, you know, a lot of drivers, truck drivers used to come by, drop deliveries and stuff, and then asked to have some food and we'd give it to them.

    And then some say, oh no I insist on paying. Okay. And then passerbyers could smell what was going on. So, oh, can I have some beigels? And yeah. Yeah. And then eventually they just thought, well, let's just start selling some. So they started selling people that passed by would ask. And there were lots of black cab drivers and the road sweepers and people in the area, they just knew us police.

    Working people that just got to know us from the community. Very cool. Like oh, I'll buy some. I'll buy some, I'll buy some of them. They're like, okay, let's make a small shop. So literally they just made a window. Cause it was like all shutters and stuff. They just made the window. Got a little box, literally like a Moneybox with some change in there and people, they'd be working people coming in and can I have some beigels?

    Okay. Here's six beigels. And then one guy said, I, oh I want a sandwich. Like you got anything to put in this? I'm hungry. I don't eat just bread. So I think one of them had something like, Hey, have some chicken or whatever, you know, whatever it was, you know? And then, maybe we'll make sandwiches.

    So they started making sandwiches and it wasn't even a shop at that time. It was just like literally a hole in the wall. And slowly, slowly, they started getting busier and busier. People asking, asking so they said, okay, people want this. Let's give it to them. So they made the shop.

    It was a tiny shop.

    It was literally like a tiny table. There would be cooking and then people would come in and then you'd go and serve and you'd carry on making beigels and you'd go and serve. And then eventually it got too much for them to handle it. They got a woman to come and make sandwiches and to serve.

    And it just grew. It just got bigger and bigger.

    And then as he got bigger, the shop got bigger and the door opened up and we've got windows and it became what it is now.

    Almost by luck, you could say.

    By chance.

    Ling Yah: And it sounds like it was purely by word of mouth. You didn't have to put yourself out there and advertise in newspapers.

    Daniel Cohen: No, no.

    And I guess, thank God we had a lot of like black cab drivers and mini cabs and stuff and road sweepers and things, and people would probably walk around and say, oh, where can you get something around here? Because like you said, it was a really rough and rubbish area. And then you've got all the shops.

    It was like a loads of erm, s eamstresses, tailors, leather factories, and everybody knew everybody in the area. That's you coming into your shop, going out of your shop, you've parked your car. You just get to know people on the road. Like we still know all the shops around us like on our section. I know every single shop owner, they all know us.

    I go to them to get stuff. They come to us to get stuff, and there's a lot of bartering here. I have a biegel, give me some soap. Have a beigel, can I have some onions, you know, and stuff like that. So just everybody started telling everybody and they will tell their customers and black cab drivers would be like, oh, I know a place you can go to come here and I'll get your beigel.

    Come lets go get a beigel if you're hungry, you know, and stuff like that. Just, yeah, just word of mouth. It just grew and grew and grew very slowly. And then all of a sudden about the early nineties I would say it started getting better. Because up until then, we didn't have much money or anything.

    I used to share a room with my sister. You know, we lived in a small three bedroom house. There was seven of us living there, and it was just over time, we got lucky.

    Why do you think it was that it suddenly got busier in the 1990s? Was there a particular incident that happened?

    No, I don't think so. I think that that was just like, word of mouth started spreading, like anything. One tells two people, two people, two or four people. Four become 16, 16 becomes 85. You could get to a point where a hundred people tell us 300 people, 300, a thousand, you know, and eventually it just goes out of control, doesn't it? Like things on Instagram, how the things go viral. One since the one, one since the other and you know.

    Ling Yah: So I wanted to talk a little bit about the fillings that you mentioned a bit. What are the typical flavors? I suppose, salmon and. Cream cheese seems to be really popular

    Daniel Cohen: Yeah, my favorite, the number one is a salmon and cream cheese. Another very famous offering Jewish offering is the salt beef. That's the number one most popular product, hands down.

    Ling Yah: Isn't there a story behind that? That your dad loved pastrami, which is salt beef and he would buy from someone else?

    Daniel Cohen: That's right.

    My dad used to go to- there was a place called Blooms in Whitechapel, another Jewish shop or a delicatessen. They sold like pickled cucumbers, herring, fishbowls. Latkas. Salamis, you know, like bits and pieces, deli foods. So there's a delicatessen. You can go in there, you can have some chicken soup, you could sit down and eat a meal or whatever, like traditional Jewish bits and pieces.

    But I just go all the time and like, I'm not going to live on beigels, I used to go and eat. So he loved salt beef. They used to sell salt beef, and they got into trouble one day and closed down, decided to leave the area. And my dad says, you know, he liked salt beef. Let's start selling salt beef. So we bought some in, we started doing it and we bought one piece of meat, we sold it. We bought two pieces. We sold it, duh, duh duh, everyone started getting a taste for it. Now we're buying lots of beef.

    Ling Yah: I mean, you make it sound so easy. Like, did you guys figure out the recipe along the way?

    Daniel Cohen: There's a standard. There's a traditional way of cooking it, you know, like I said, my dad was friendly with the guy.

    He probably asked him and he told him a little bit and it's just a traditional Jewish food. Like a lot of households make it themselves especially back then, one out of five households would probably make their own salt beef. So it's not like it's a secret or anything.

    But then you go to everybody's house, everybody's mum will make it a bit different. It will taste different, right? Some puts more pepper, some puts less pepper, some puts more of this come you know? So my dad, he was not bad a cook, you know, he's quite a good cook, I guess he'd baked with his life. That's what he did. So he cooked the salt beef, and then once he ate and he said, it needs more, this, you know, it needs more that.

    He liked it and others also liked it. I don't know what to say. He, you know, he had a good tongue He had a good palette. He knew what he was doing. So yeah.

    Ling Yah: Your father sounds like such an interesting person. Are there particular memories that stand out for you?

    Daniel Cohen: You know, he'd done a lot in his life.

    From a very young age, he was one of eight children. His dad and mum. Like, I don't think they were like a hundred percent and his dad wasn't around all the time. He used to go off and come back and go off and come back and they didn't have a great relationship.

    He was one of the older children. He was apparently very difficult to discipline, so yeah, he was like a bit of a rebel, you know, it wasn't when he loved his mom to bits, like as soon as she's told him something, he'll do it. But he was also like, he liked to do his own thing. He liked to push the boundaries, you know?

    So apparently at one point he went to um kind of like a boarding school for like, naughty children, you could say, you know. He was naughty. He used to go off and not come back for a few days and God knows what else. And so he went to school for naughty children cause he was a bit difficult. So he's like, you know, he's got lots of stories of things that he had done.

    He had got to mischief, he was always doing something. Then his parents were carpenter. Traditionally, my, grandfather was a carpenter.

    My dad used to do that. It was used to do French polishing and so he's very handy. He knew how to fix everything. Cause he was like pretty hands-on. He was in the army, he was in the war of independence, like the five day War of Israel?

    No. So after um, Israel was gone under British rule, it was called Palestine at that point. So after the world war, everybody voted and gave Israel to the Jewish people.

    There was a little bit of like harmony at a time because they were just middle Eastern Jews and all the Arabs and Palestinians and whatnot, living there. Afterwards, the east European Jews came in from after world war two, because that's where they settled there.

    Like, they made that their home. And um, I think there was just a bit of rivalry and I don't think the Palestinians really appreciated that the country con other than whose country was, was the British, the British owned Israel. But I guess they would say we were here first, but then you've also got the native Jews who were there first.

    So I'm not politician.

    But anyway, because of what of that war started. The native Arabs or Muslims would, or not Jewish or whatever people didn't appreciate the newcomers and wanted to get rid of them and whatever didn't accept what t he world voted like how can you just give away a country. It's our country.

    We live here or whatever. Anyway, so my dad was in that war, which I guess quite interesting. He'd done a lot of different jobs and things is, you know, he'd done a lot in his life and back then, like things were hard. So, you just have to get by and do what you can to get by memories of him.

    He was a very funny character. A really really good personality is like-

    it's strange. Like he'd blow up over little things. Like I um, was making too much noise or woke him up or whatever, like I, you know, I'd get in huge trouble. and I had a car accident. I was sort of, oh my God, he's going to go crazy.

    I'm dead. I'm dead. So he said, hmm, okay.

    Then he asked me, so what did you do?

    So I said, well, I had some money on him. So I gave the guy some money and I said, I'll fix the car privately. I really, I kind of didn't want you to find out, but I didn't have enough money. So I need more.

    So he was like, okay, very good, no problem.

    And I was like, really? No problem. You know, I thought I was gonna have my head cut off, but no.

    No problem.

    I spilled my cup of coffee on the floor. Oh my God, oh my God, what've you done? It was just funny. He kept you on your toes, you know. It's always a- he surprised to me. Was what I remember.

    He was always making you laugh. It was funny. He's like, for example, he'd- he kept himself to himself a lot of the time. He was like quiet, but then like, he'd want a bit of company so he'd normally like he had his own living room where he'd watch TV and stuff and so I had loads of friends over because we were quite social. We had our house was like, we had an open door. Anyone, all my friends, my brothers and sisters' friends, I was one of five. So it was quite often a lot of people in my house. And every so often he'd come in and he'd be sitting with us and be like, Hey, how's it going, everyone, you okay, you know?

    Yeah.

    And then he'd talk to us and then all of a sudden he'd get fed up. So it'd be like, okay. And just walk away, like I've said, hello, bye. I'm gone, you know. It's funny. It was, he was like, things were on his terms. It was quite funny that he did that.

    I just remember he was really, really good dad. He's a good, nice guy. I don't know.

    Ling Yah: Did you feel as though, because you had seen your father put so much into this shop that you had to join it?

    Daniel Cohen: No, definitely. Like he was really, really hugely committed. I tell people it was his first wife. There was the bakery and then there was us.

    Not in a bad way, but like, I can understand, you know, how much of himself he put into the place to make it what it is, you know. It's part of you. It could be your first wife or your first child or whatever, you know. And plus it's, we all lived off it, right. It was keeping us going.

    So it's an important place as well.

    But it was like a character then atmosphere. There's parts of you, like you could say the still parts of him there, if that makes sense.

    Not, I'm not being like all spiritual. What I mean, it's like the way he was like the characteristics and the way he set the standard there.

    You know, it's like his personality is like, you can feel it. And there's an atmosphere because he was a bit quirky. He wasn't boring.

    For example, you know, most people you've got a shop full of people. You wouldn't think of raising your voice or saying what's on your mind. Or, you know, there was no filter. If he thought it, it came out, you know, he didn't think, should I say this or shouldn't I say this? I feel this way. And I'm going to tell you, I feel this way. No, I'm not happy. Hey, you're an idiot. As blunt as that, not, I don't think you should have done that. Hey you idiot, what've you done you know.

    Ling Yah: He doesn't sound very English for sure.

    Daniel Cohen: He was not English at all. My dad was not English at all. I'm 50, 50. I've got, you know, every so often it comes out. But most of the time it's in.

    Ling Yah: It sounds like it kind of attracts a similar kind of customers. That's what I read this story about apparently you used to not sell beigels in the evening and a customer came, was so upset. He came the next morning and banged on the table and he broke the till.

    Was that a true story?

    Daniel Cohen: No.

    So basically why we started doing sandwiches. This was like back in the day when I said they had little lockbox and stuff and they didn't do it all the time. Like I said, it was just people would ask and they're like, okay, well have some, here you go.

    You know, fine.

    One guy came in, he was drunk. He's a regular. was, uh, He wasn't working on that evening. But normally he was like something. He was English guy. And he came in, he was drunk and he wanted to eat. He was really hungry. So my dad said well, we don't do that all the time.

    Like we don't have today.

    Um, what're you talking about? I'm hungry. The guy is upset. So my dad said, hmm. Okay. We'll do everyday now.

    It's a funny, his character. Like most people would be like, you know, get upset. Like, who are you to tell me what to do? This is my shop. He was like, wow. Okay. Every day. Come tomorrow, I promise, you know.

    I think he taught me a very good attitude in which you look at things like the guy is feeling something. He's feeling angry for a reason.

    There's no point in getting angry with him. Just like, think he just thought outside the box, like he's angry because I'm not providing something for him that I can make money off. Okay. I'll give it to you. Makes sense, really, doesn't it? It's quite logical

    But not everyone thinks that way. Most people think emotionally and would be like, why are you angry with me that, yeah, that's definitely like something that stuck with me was very clever.

    So I try and look at things that way more.

    Ling Yah: Are you always receptive to this kind of thing? So if I went in and I just made a big fuss and say, Hey, you should sell this as well. Would you just implement into the rest of it..

    Daniel Cohen: I would think I would consider it like it, look. One person out of a thousands.

    Waste of my time.

    Not in a rude way, but like to do all of that effort for one person just to get one person happy. I don't mind doing the favor, but every day, all my life? That's a bit of a burden. But if a lot of people asked, like, we didn't always do gherkins and salt beef.

    Now it's like God forbid you sold good beef without gherkins. Like you mad/ but we didn't. And more and more people think you should. You should, you should. You should. You should. Okay. We will. We did.

    Listen to people

    Ling Yah: And they're your regulars as well.

    Daniel Cohen: Yeah.

    Ling Yah: What is it like to run a family-run business? I mean there's no segregation between personal and professional life. Are they rules? Like, do you say if you are upset at home, don't bring it to work.

    Daniel Cohen: Like I said, my dad was unique and not just my dad, my uncles, my family, generally. They're like, maybe it's an Israeli thing. Like yeah. To an extent, there's obviously a line there. But we know each other, we grew up together. It's not like we don't know each other.

    So my uncle will come in in a mood and complain about everything. And I'd just be like- he's in a mood today. It doesn't matter what you tell him. It's not good. He's in the mood. Okay. He's in a mood.

    If it goes on for days and days and days, and it starts to get too much, I said to him, hey, enough, now, calm down.

    Like you hit the point, stop. Sorry, sorry. Sorry. All right. You know, he'd snap out of it, but you sort of allow him. And plus he's older than me. I respect him.

    My brother and I, like, you could say like this. Like I know I upset him sometimes, I see on his face. But I'm the older brother. So he's like a bit, I don't know if you have it in your culture, but in our culture. I, to be honest, I wouldn't care if he turned around and told me, get lost, you know, I don't care.

    I'm pretty relaxed. But he's got that built in respect. It's like natural within us. So I see his face and I think to myself, ah, I've done something. He wouldn't tell me what. I wouldn't have to apologize. But I'd look up and say, look, what is it? He'd say hmm. Nothing, nothing, nothing. And I'd be like, all right, I've done something.

    All right, I'm sorry. All right. Wherever it is, I'll go. And leave him. I'll go away. We know each other, it's not a problem. Business is life, life is business now. It's all one.

    Ling Yah: What was it like when you became managing director? Did you feel as though you had to steer the business in a certain direction?

    Daniel Cohen: I became a lot more serious. Simply because more responsibility now, when I was just working for my dad, it's like there were certain things I didn't have to worry about, you know. How much the gas costs if so-and-so's going to turn up for work or not, if the health inspector turns up and there are new rules.

    Now you need to start doing this. Know, I didn't really have to worry about any of that so much. I had less responsibility. So I guess I became a slightly more serious, although I don't know if you could tell I'm not that serious. You know, I am going to have to be, I guess.

    Also like I came in at a young age, I started working at 19.

    A lot of our staff had been us for years and years. I've known him since he was small. So imagine being at the time of 19 year olds. I was manager then. Not managing director, but imagine having to tell people that are 50 years old. People that could be my father or my uncle, what to do?

    Not easy.

    So I found my way, but it was a long growth, a long way to Eldorado, you know,

    Ling Yah: I've heard a lot of this as well. Like lots of friends who would then take over their family business, but they have employees who have been there since they were babies before they were even born.

    And how do you gain their respect? They know it better than you.

    Daniel Cohen: Well actually, funnily enough, I've learnt everything. I came in and I think my dad was very wise. I came in emptying bin bags, cleaning the toilets, sweeping and mopping, you know, all the muck that the others were more senior people than me wouldn't want to do, I was doing it.

    And you know what? I did it with a smile. I got it. It makes complete sense.

    If I ever saw anyone that needed, even now, like it's just the way I was brought up. I'm their boss. If I see somebody doing something I'll run over to help them. If I see someone struggling, I'm there. No problem.

    I'm very hands on. Even the fund that I was really nice to hear, a lot of customers have said like, you don't stop. You do everything. Like some guys is like, I really respect you. You're the boss. You could be standing there watching people. And you're like cleaning and mopping the floors and washing the walls down and whatever.

    I was like, no, it needs to be done. And we're all human beings. You know, it's one thing my dad taught me. We're all human. It doesn't matter. I'm your boss. I'm not your boss. And this isn't it. There's no such, you know, with this hierarchy, Kings and Queens and we're all human beings, you know. There's no, there's no reason why I'm best.

    I'm not allowed to clean toilets and you are. Well we can all do it.

    I'm guessing you've been to other bagel places and we'll test the same. Yeah. Believe me. It's all got the same stuff inside them. It's how you do it. And what you know here. And it's not just a recipe you can learn in a book or thing.

    Bread is not something you have to understand what's going on is to touch and feel. There's timing. At the same time, I'm not going to turn it on and do it and let someone watch me and never touch it. Hey, it's your turn too. Let's share.

    Ling Yah: That's true. I remember like going to visit two weeks ago, I saw that you were there. You were just helping to put all the beigels together.

    And I thought, oh, I saw you with that. But then I thought that's like a very, very long line behind me, but it's not stopping us you

    anything? No problem. Oh, that's brilliant.

    I mean, I noticed that you also released your iconic beigel recipe. Was there a reason behind that?

    Daniel Cohen: There's more to it than just a list of ingredients.

    Everybody's but I've looked and I've been to other bakeries and stuff. Every batch of flour is different. And then throughout the year, the temperature of the water and the atmosphere is different and that all affects the humidity levels in the road. It all affects it.

    So it was like, I can give you the recipe. I can write it down too. You can even watch me do it once. You'll never do it the same.

    Ling Yah: Was there a reason that pushed you to releasing that recipe? Was it because many people will ask each thought, whatever, I'll just release it.

    Daniel Cohen: Yeah I was asked many, many, many times, and to be honest.

    Okay. Why not? You want to hear it. Okay. You can copy. Good luck to you. Go ahead. Why not? Just don't do it next to me.

    Ling Yah: Don't open a shop opposite from me.

    Daniel Cohen: Please. I hope

    Ling Yah: Do you ever think about opening another branch?

    Daniel Cohen: Yeah. Yes. I mean, look like I said, my dad was content. But my dad's brought me into life up here. I don't want to drop down. I lost the game of life and it was disrespected him like a, you know, so please god. Whoop, you know. That's the hope it is at least to stay on the same level, right.

    As let's say. Um, But yeah, like there's lots of demand out there. Not just that.

    Thank God. They fed three families. There were three owners. They fed and looked after very well, three families so much so that I'm even in a position where my children are quite comfortable position.

    But how many times can you cut a cake?

    I've got three kids. My brother's going to have some kids. My cousin's going to have some kids. They're going to have kids.

    I'm not saying that my whole family forever and ever are going to be in the bakery business, but it'd be nice to grow it a little bit. Plus like, I love it. And lots of people, you know, it would be nice to see it shine.

    I love the place, it's part of me, I grew up, I must be called Daniel Beigel Bake Cohen.

    Ling Yah: Obviously, this is something it's impact everyone, the pandemic. When did you first hear about it and how did it impact what you guys were doing?

    Daniel Cohen: I'll be honest. Like I said, we think outside the box. So I first heard about it and everything.

    I was like, ah, how bad could it be? You know? Then I started taking this bit seriously. I found it odd that you were hearing reports from all different countries. Yeah. The airports were wide open. Like, hello.

    There's something going around killing people. Yeah. Come, come, just stamp your passport and come in.

    What, you stupid? What, you know. Stop the planes. But anyway, they didn't. It came here at the very beginning, like our doors have never been shut. We didn't have a key to the door. Yeah. I found myself looking into getting shutters because it's a bit of a rough area, even though it's cleaned up, it's still a bit of a rough area.

    You know, people know we're busy and probably assume there's something there to take. It just takes a brick to smash our windows. And so we were looking at shutters. We were manning the shop in the evenings, then all of a sudden, furlough scheme came in, you know, and everyone's scared. I don't want to die.

    And there's furlough available.

    I don't want to work. I don't want to work. I've got kids I was like, yeah, fair enough. Yeah, you look, if you don't want to work and you're scared, don't work. What can I tell you? I'm not going to force you. When you want to come back, we're here. A lot of people stopped working and left.

    You know, it was like, there was a handful of people that are willing to stay and wanted to stay and who were like for whatever reason, you know. They didn't want to stay at home. You know, obviously it's more money than furlough, so they didn't want to lose their money or whatever. And plus they're just- they wanted to help us out as well.

    We've got very good relation for our staff, but like I said, I've known some of them since I was born.

    Although they work for us, I call them an extension of my family. We're like, it's a family business, including them in some way they're like part of my family, you know? And thank God. Some of them feel the same way too.

    It's not one way, which is nice, you know, good relationship. So a few people stayed.

    Me and my brother and my uncle and my cousin plus one or two others, like I said, we basically managed shop 24 hours every day, you know, in the Dottie that rather play. I worked a lot recently. Whoever, you know, it's what you have to do. It's part and parcel, right?

    Yeah. That's how we coped and then, um,

    You hear stories like, although we've got good name, we on the understanding that nothing's invulnerable, everything's fragile. You could be and drop down dead tomorrow, you know?

    So um, yeah, we were worried, but don't get me wrong. We were worried. And plus it, like, imagine like being used to seeing a queue of people in your shop every day, smiling and laughing and, saying, we love you. And then all of a sudden, not even seeing a fly coming through your door.

    It's hard.

    And you've got bills.

    The bills don't stop. Nothing stops, you know.

    You still got those expenses on top of you and it's our countries turn around and say, oh, I want a photo. I'm self-employed, I'm independent here. You're on your own. So, okay.

    The first few weeks, literally like ghost town. Maybe one or two or three people, you know, there's always one or two people around.

    Everyone assumed we were closed. Apparently people phoning up the shop saying like, are you closed? Are you closed are you closed? Cause the rules were only food shops and the centrals, thank God we're in the central. Which is lucky, I guess. Could it have been food? You need it to live. So um, people finally started catching wind that we're open and to be fair, we weren't doing loads, but for three or four people, it was a lot.

    We were working well, but we're working. All of us had to do every job going under the sun. You you're not believe. So yeah, I mean, we just kept at, it, kept our fingers crossed and thank God we're still here, you know, almost back to normal. Well, I lie. We're not back to normal. I don't think we'd ever get back to normal, but we're heading, you know.

    Ling Yah: Didn't you launch a delivery app that you were working on before the pandemic?

    What's the story behind that?

    Daniel Cohen: Um, This is, this guy came in Israeli guy. He's a programmer.

    Heard of us and there's like a sweet tender who looks at each other. This is before the pandemic. We had no idea. Like we just-

    look Deliveroo, Just Eat, Uber, everything, you know, everyone's doing it. We were not ready to open another shop yet.

    Believe me running the one shop is hard enough. I couldn't imagine having to do it twice. So I thought it is. You said about expansion. It's kind of like having a shop, but not, right? It's like having another shop but not. You can reach somebody over here and you can reach somebody over there, but you can still do it from home.

    So, yeah. Lovely. Good idea. Okay. Let's see what you've got.

    Well, you had had a lot of bugs in it. I'll tell you that much. Sorry people who ordered from us that had the problem. Uh, So if this is all looking to you, how do you sit back? Yeah, so he approached us and he said, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I can do this.

    I can do that. I can do that. We met with him, we liked the guy. We liked him, more than his product. His product's much better now. So we struck a deal.

    We said, look, you want to enter and penetrate this market. You're, you know, you're nobody. I can go to Deliveroo. I can go here. I can go there.

    He offered us a good commission and also a little bit more bespoke thing. To most people, it looks like a Beigel Bakes app made my Beigel Bakes, right. I mean, I don't know if you've used it, look to say, you'd probably assume we built it. It's all ours, no. Is this guy is like small company, but it like showcases us as being like the owners kind of thing. It's very similar to delivery, but not from your perspective.

    Ling Yah: Is there a reason why you didn't want to go on Deliveroo because on Deliveroo, for instance, they already have that existing market.

    So you don't have to market yourself the way you had

    to do. It's much easier, right?

    Daniel Cohen: Yeah, Low commission, but then also a lot more work, you know? To be honest, I think sometimes it's more work than the bakery. Phoning up complaints that this went wrong, that went wrong. His name is Omer.

    Omer, it's not working. What's wrong? Just one minute.

    Yeah, I fixed it. It was like, I think, you sure you fixed it? Yeah, I fixed it. Two minutes later, there's a problem. Omer, it's not fixed. Da da da da da da. I fixed it. You sure? Yeah. It's not fixed, but the guy got his food and he's happy, you know? Thank God. A little bit of schmoozing, you know, I had to talk to him on the phone and calm him down.

    Hey, I'm really sorry. You know, it's not our fault and this happened. I'll give you this. I'll do that. Thank gods only a few times I got sworn at. All I can say is I'm trying. We can't please everyone, you know.

    Ling Yah: How did you get the word out?

    Daniel Cohen: We used Facebook advertising. You can do Facebook ads and Instagram and all that. We did it that way. We hired them. We hired the marketing company to do it.

    Like do a bit of a campaign for us. So they got the word out in a big way. I must say it was like, we couldn't cope. Actually. It was like a lot, a lot of orders.

    Due to the bugs slowly went down and down down. You know, some people didn't like it. Alright. We tried uh, you know, I wouldn't say we failed. It's okay. It's not amazing. It's okay.

    I think the main problem is, I don't know if you've used it. The delivery fee is a bit high.

    I haven't used it because I could just walk to your place.

    Daniel Cohen: To be honest, you're probably better off. It's not that bad. Yeah. So the delivery fee is a bit high because look, Deliveroo, charge them. For example, instant delivery. They don't, it's like 45% of the turnover. So from that is how they pay their drivers and their advertising and all the little bits and pieces.

    So really you think you're paying two pounds delivery. Do you believe Tony the bike driver has gone from my shop all the way to your house for two pounds. He's not worked half an hour for two pounds. Who does that?

    Ah, Gordon benefits better? You know, you crazy? I'm not driving around the whole of London for five quids.

    That's not happening. So we can't do that. You know, we pay the drivers what they need to be paid, you know, they're not our slaves. They need to earn money it's you know it's their job. So we charge you a bit more, sorry. But we're working out something to try and fix that.

    Ling Yah: Do you work with charities and how are those arrangements like?

    Daniel Cohen: Yeah, look, people come in and ask us. We're always happy.

    Look, I'll be frank here. Don't think I'm greedy gods or anything. People being funny or difficult. Walk into Tesco's, yeah. Imagine walking into Tesco's and saying, I want this, I want that. I've been coming into your shop for 10 years. I want a discount on this. I wouldn't dream of it and they wouldn't entertain it.

    But for some reason, people come and ask us all the time, you know, and we're not turning over billions and billions, like Tesco's, you know, far from it. We don't get a lot of profit on our products. Having said that, we're not starving. We're okay. You know, I'm not going to lie either.

    I'm not going to turn and say, oh, take you for an idiot. We're poor. I'm not poor. So yeah, we give. We give all the time. Whoever asks, 99% of the time we give. Some people come in and are a bit cheeky. Might say like, you know, I want your finger because you know, you've got another four. Well, no, I need all five, but if you want something, I'll give you. A hundred percent.

    We give a lot of people. Um, there's a school. They come in every other day we give them beigels and bread for the school to have like a tea or, you know, other, some schools do like a snack at break time or whatever. Here's your snack. Maybe every week, they come. And there's a local church. They do like some gathering.

    I don't know, some kind of alcohol anonymous meeting. Well, I don't know what they're doing. They're doing something. Okay. Here's some food. There's another school got in touch with us. They're a member of the PTA. They want to do fundraising for schools. You know lots of schools haven't- the government's not giving people enough money around here, so okay.

    Have some stuff to sell at your PTA. No problem. You know, we give. No problem. We know we're not greedy.

    Ling Yah: There s one thing got you a lot of publicity, over the pandemic, which is the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge came to visit. What was that like?

    Daniel Cohen: I wish my dad was around like, wow. We're all honoured. But obviously my uncle started started with my dad died. He was like, you know, imagine all these, my other uncle, I'm an answer. Well, Sammy, Sammy is a comedian, like my dad. He said, what took them so long? I've been here 50 years. He was joking. He was like, you see his face?

    He was like, touched. It was heartwarming. They're loving people.

    Maybe they're groomed to be that way, but it actually seemed to me it's I think it's hard to fake, really genuine, nice. Like you can tell from the questions they asked, they were really interested. Involved. They were helping out and you can say like, happy to be hands-on there wasn't like, oh, I'm not allowed to do this.

    They were like, yeah, come on another one. Let's go, you know, they, there were lovely. Yeah. And what an honour, for the royalty to come and acknowledge this place is, part of London. Well, what have you like, wow, what can you say?

    Ling Yah: Is it the first time they went to that part of London?

    Daniel Cohen: I have no idea. I don't follow. I hope so. That'd be probably not, but maybe, I don't know.

    Ling Yah: They were there for, I think, to understand what was happening in London, right?

    Daniel Cohen: Yes, it was, it was COVID related. How is it affecting people in the community, et cetera?

    I think they went to several communities and this was the east end of London, like section. And we were like the main part of it, which is really lovely. We were, that was like the example company, which is like, great.

    Ling Yah: Do you feel like there was a boost in terms of publicity for you after that?

    Daniel Cohen: A hundred percent, you know, I mean, how could there not be? It was very welcomed.

    And I think they knew that they knew they were going to bring a bit of life back to the area and the country and what not. I think their aim really was. Let's get the economy moving. Let's get people back to life, you know, it's like wear your mask, clean your hands and let's go.

    Stop hiding in your homes kind of thing.

    Let's get London rolling again. And yeah, I think they did a great job because there was definitely a huge boost. It may have peaked and died down a bit, but it was, you know, it was felt a noticeable, It was lovely and needed.

    Ling Yah: And how's the business now? You said that it's gotten better, but it's not like it was before.

    Daniel Cohen: Yes. Up and down, you know, look.

    Every time there's another scare, another variant, another this, another that's. The media is very good at scaremongering. it looks like that to me. I mean, the way they go on about certain things, they could be a little bit more realistic. It's not like someone sneezed, someone died.

    They take it to the extreme don't they, you know, is my hair a little whisper somewhere. All of a sudden there's an earthquake.

    Yeah. So we noticed something gets said, bang dip. You've got a good three week dip before people get brave and forget and come back out into the world again. So it's like this continuously, and then we've just had Christmas.

    And then prior to Christmas, the other variant came out as presented because the job was a Delta? No, the one off the Delta was the other one. Omicron. Omicron's out now. It was just prior to Christmas, right. So they were like, you know, be careful work from home again.

    Look, we're in the city. A lot of our customers is lunchtime people that worked in offices for ages and ages and ages. Everyone was working from home for like a good year or so. Only very recently companies said like start coming back to the office now, like it's, you know, we're fine.

    And we were starting to get back to normal and all of a sudden Omicron came in and everyone's back at home again. Our lunch periods has gone like that. I hired an extra person as it was building up again and then Omnicron hits. And now I've had to tell that person, look, I'm sorry, we're just not busy enough.

    I've kept them on because they're really nice. I really liked them and I can see the potential for the future, but, you know, everyone needs to work. There's not a lot of work out there, but I sort of, I'm going to reduce your hours at this group because she's standing there like this in the shop, looking at the wall.

    I was like, you, you can see yourself, like, I'm sorry, but I'm not lying. Look. So she's like, no, I understand. I'm really sorry the shop's doing this. I said, okay, well care and work there. And again, found bits and pieces for her but y eah, it's gone down again. Well, I mean, hopefully once all of this is behind people in offices start pick up, you know, it's just a waiting game.

    It's just up and down, up and down. You don't know where you stand. One week I'm ordering 10 kilos of beef, the next week I'm ordering drink two kilos of beef. Like just have to move with it.

    Ling Yah: And do you think in terms of what you anticipate this business going into future like five, 10 years, or is it just too far and just living day by day?

    Daniel Cohen: So we've noticed over this, a lot of people, cause they're working from home or buying plain beigels a lot more.

    They're still buying our beigels, but not, we make money off of the sandwiches.

    Our plain beigels, we were selling like 30p each. You know how much work there is to make 30p. Believe me, it's not worth 30 P um, but um, you know, we've made money from selling sandwiches. There's a markup there, like any, like, you know, going to a restaurant to eat costs you 25 pounds. At home, it cost you five, you know, it's just, just the way it is, right.

    If you want the service, it costs a bit more. So um, we'll make the money of sandwiches, but I was thinking the sandwiches, people buy more of our plain beigels, so we've still got people in and out the door, but the profit's not there anymore, you know, it's harder.

    So what'd you do?

    Try and sell more plain beigels, right?

    So we're hoping to increase productivity and like increase wholesale and stuff like that. And you know, please god one day, you'll see us in other shops, we're hope to supply other shops with stuff and keep our employees going and give them work to do. You know, diversified.

    Ling Yah: Will you think of increasing the price?

    Daniel Cohen: We wouldn't, we only did because of after all of this plus Brexit and plus everything else that every other excuse I call it, that people have told me. Yeah. We have to charge more for the flour, the electricity to run our ovens and our machinery.

    I don't know how you living in London still is incredibly high in shock because electric is like double. Yeah. You're going to have appropriate electric shock. Yeah. So it just costs more to make. So to keep the same amount of profit, we have to put our prices up a little bit. Yeah.

    Ling Yah: Well, thank you Daniel so much for your time.

    I love to end all my interviews with the same question. So the first one is this. Do you feel like after all of this, running this business, that you have found your why?

    Daniel Cohen: Yeah, federal lab come. Found my why when I was five years old.

    Okay. I'm not, I wasn't born to work or maybe I was born to work in the bakery. You never know my dad's plan, but yeah. Yeah, definitely. I'm content.

    Ling Yah: I mean, just because you mentioned your dad again, did you dad ever come in and say you are going to work in the shop, or was it just a part for life and you just ended up-

    Daniel Cohen: he didn't force it upon me.

    But he could see I was interested.

    So I said to him when I was old enough and my dad had us late. He was like, erm 47 when I was born or something. My mom was his second wife, but he didn't have any children from the first. But anyways, so he had us late. So by the time I'm 19, my dad's like, oh, do you know? He's in his seventies touching 80.

    I was going to university at the time. He said, oh, I want your fees. I mentioned. That's like, he, he gave me like my first load of rent and whatever. And I was like, I don't, I don't be like living from your hands all my life. Let me come work with you.

    So he was like, you want to work?

    Nah, don't worry. You don't need to work. It's okay. Dad I want to work. Okay. Come on Friday. So I had to give him a push. I came in Friday, so I was working for him for a little while. I started working, working and I fell in love with the place even more.

    It was always like, an amazing place to visit when I was small, I used to like bake him like that it's half term, I'm not going to school.

    So they take me, take me, you know, but I fell even more in love with the place.

    Ling Yah: Why is that the case? Is it because you were given more responsibility?

    Daniel Cohen: No, I just sort of different eyes. I was older. I wasn't a child. Like there came a point where I wasn't pulling on my dad's arm to go to the bakery.

    I was going with my friends, I was going to the cinema. I was going bowling. I was going after girls, you know. It stopped for a period, right. I became a teenager. Then I saw it through adult eyes. I found a new respect for it. Yeah. So anyway, I was working with working with him and I did something and I did something wrong.

    My dad likes to tell me off a lot. Okay. I've got more trouble than anybody there. Not because I was so bad. I don't think, I think he wanted to shape me and mold me into like, being able to handle the responsibility and look after the place the way he wanted it looked after. And, you know, cause he set it up.

    Let's be fair is, you know, it's not broken. Don't fix it. I should continue in his footsteps. To an extent you know, there's always a bit of Daniel flair.

    You know, so, if I did something he'd say, I thought to make you manager, you don't know anything, you know? Ah, I made the mistake of- what've I done? You never learn. You're never going to learn.

    And I was like, so yeah.

    Ling Yah: Did he used to give you the same business wisdom?

    Daniel Cohen: Exactly that, but if I didn't fully grasp what he was trying to teach me, I get in trouble. You know, I'd get shouted at. So if I learn, I learned because I revered him. So if I disappointed him, I wanted to prove him wrong. I wanted to just show him that I could learn.

    So yeah I tried my best.

    Ling Yah: What was the hardest lesson you ever had to learn from him?

    Daniel Cohen: I wouldn't say any hard lessons. Like he breaks things down into in a simple way to, puts things towards you in a simple review. Look at it from a different perspective. I said, outside the box so I wouldn't say it was difficult to learn. The difficulty was he's Israeli.

    His English wasn't, even though he lived there for so many years, his communication wasn't the best.

    So he had explain something to me, but I wouldn't really understand fully what he was telling me, because it just metaphors and things, you know, to explain what he's trying to tell me. And then after a while it clicked, like that's what he meant. I get it now.

    And now being the director and having to do different aspects that weren't really my concern. I was like, my dad always said this and now I understand what he was saying. Actually, I get it. And he's right. And I see it. He's still teaching me though he's gone kind of thing.

    Ling Yah: When you say metaphors is it like a bit like the parables that you find in the Bible?

    It's not always direct. And it's a story about a lesson that you need to learn.

    Daniel Cohen: Yeah. Like something like that, I guess. Yes, exactly. Something like that. You know, when you're trying to converse with something in a different language, we don't quite know all the words or the whole vocabulary.

    So you try to describe what you could say in the words. I didn't always understand what he was describing.

    Ling Yah: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?

    Daniel Cohen: Okay, so I don't know what legacy I think, I don't think that legacy, like I'm a monument or like a building or another shop, whatever. No, I think more a memory of me. If people remember me in a good light, that'd be great.

    Ling Yah: And what do you think are the most important qualities of a successful person?

    Daniel Cohen: I think, it's good to be a little bit shrewd, but not greedy. Honest and open and like upfront. I don't think there's any point in trying to deceive somebody and then put for the proposition, like seeing where someone, you know, like saying something to somebody to get something out of them where we're just saying, look, this is what I think and what I'm offering.

    This is my proposition. It's honest and full on. Like, if I tell you it's 10 pounds, it's 10 pounds. I'm not fishing for nine. It's 10, you know. And I'm also not looking for 12 it's 10. 10 is good.

    Let's be fair, honest, I think it goes a long way. You know, some people, for example, if you put house on the market, the agent will say it is worth 4 5500 50,000, let's go five hundreds, you know, let's see maybe someone who pay it like, alright, yeah, you might win.

    But then you also might, I guess the house, isn't a good example, but I'm sitting in the house now say, a beigel, a sandwich, you know, offer that bicycle for 10 pounds. Eventually someone come up to you and say, well, you're taking the Mickey out of me, 10 pounds for this. You trying to Rob me all my like some people take offense, you know. How'd you have the cheek to ask me?

    No, be fair, ask a fair price. I think that goes a long way. My dad always did that and we're busy.

    Ling Yah: And how can people connect with you? Find out more about what you're doing and also go to Beigel Bake?

    Daniel Cohen: My personal phone number

    Ling Yah: can get to your website and that's the

    best way.

    Daniel Cohen: And we're building a new website.

    So hopefully that will launch. And we want it to be a hub for everything to come in, but we do have an email address. We've got the shop phone number and we're on Facebook, messenger and Instagram. So yeah, you can easily get into, I mean, we're quite active now because of this new delivery service. We're quite active on Facebook messenger.

    Ling Yah: You're quite active on Twitter and Instagram?

    Daniel Cohen: My wife helps every so often. I'll be fair. I don't really fully understand all of it. I just like, ding. Okay. Thank you very much. Goodbye. I'm not, I'm not great. I'm getting there, you know, I wouldn't say I'm a professional. I can post things and pictures and you know, I'm not, backwards, but there are some people that, you know, they're obviously paid experts, like people in marketing that really gets all of that.

    Mediocre.

    But yeah, if you messaged me, I'll reply. Twitter, I'm not a huge fan of. I haven't worked out Twitter yet, but I'm good on Instagram and Facebook.

    Ling Yah: And that was the end of episode 70.

    The show notes and transcript can be found at www.sothisismywhy.com/70. If you've enjoyed this episode, I would love it if you could share it with a friend or two. Every share really helps this podcast to grow.

    And stay tuned for next Sunday, because we'll be meeting an English journalist who has been working in China and Hong Kong for the past two decades.

    He shares how he first got into the industry, what's it like working in the country, not entirely known for its freedom of speech and how he's creating community with a new brand he has launched under the Tatler brand, featuring some of the brightest, young leaders of today.

    If you want to learn more, don't forget to subscribe to this podcast and see you next Sunday.

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