Venezuelan DJ Sharon Schael travelled the world spinning records before Berlin and its nightlife beckoned. But after a few years on the scene, something else was calling: the food of her homeland. These days, she sells authentic Venezuelan ‘arepas’ from her colourful street food truck in Mauerpark.
On Sunday morning, after opening her food truck El Carrito at Mauerpark, the first thing Sharon Schael does is turn up the reggae. “It puts people in a good mood,” says the Venezuelan proprietor. Later in the day, she switches to salsa and loves it when people dance. It’s the melding of two worlds, something that plays an important role in her life. After all, back in Venezuela, Sharon Schael was a well-known DJ.
That was before she came to Berlin to try out something new, first opening her food truck and then the seasonal street food kiosk La Casita at Treptower Hafen. Sharon Schael prepares a popular Venezuelan and Columbian street food dish: arepas, or cornbread pockets filled with beef, chicken, or beans. Her truck offers five different varieties. “I make traditional food with my own touches and signature flavours,” she explains.
A series of long journeys brought her to Berlin ten years ago. Following the attempted coup in Venezuela in 2002, she was afraid to stay. “I was crying every day while watching my country fall apart,” she remembers. When she was presented with the opportunity to leave, she spent two years working as a DJ in Mexico and another four spinning tracks in Spain.
Finally, she was drawn to visit Berlin. She had heard a lot of good things about the city from friends — about the music scene and the nightlife there. “I had a certain feeling — you could call it intuition.” But she stopped working as a DJ in Berlin after a few years because she’d had enough of the nightlife.
“It had always been my dream to open a café,” shares Sharon Schael. She had a very specific vision in mind, of a scene in Venezuela: a jungle with waterfalls located directly on the coast. That dream will have to wait. But her food truck, which is painted with bombastic palm trees and decorated with the female mascot of the familiar ‘Harina P.A.N.’ cornmeal brand, always keeps her close to home.
All photos by Lena Ganssmann
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El Carrito (Mauerpark)
Gleimstr. 55, 10437 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
Puschkinallee 15, 12435 Berlin-Treptow
Tue–Sun 10am–6pm (from April)