Fondue without concessions: Helmut Winzeler (1928-2001)
When Café Bern opened its doors for the first time in 1978, Helmut Winzeler was aged 50, after a life as nuclear physicist.
When young, he lived in Bern. No doubt this beautiful old town left a lasting impression on young Helmut, who was fascinated by nuclear physics, the study of elementary particles. Bern is not just the capital of Switzerland but also the place where Albert Einstein completed his theory of relativity.
For many years Helmut worked at Cern, the research centre with the famous particle accelerator, near Geneva. He lectured at universities in various parts of the world.
His last job as a nuclear physicist was at the Zeeman laboratory, part of the University of Amsterdam. Then he felt it had been enough and he set off for a whole new life.
Helmut didn’t have to do it all by himself: his partner Alexandra and his nephew Tom were at his side at the start of Bern and Koen joined them, shortly after. But Café Bern was his idea, an idea –typically Helmut– elaborated to the smallest detail, including recipes that had been developed in an almost scientific way. It’s these recipes, that are being respected and meticulously followed until the present day.
Helmut was so much more than just a nuclear physicist with a passion for cooking. He was a man who exactly knew what he wanted, without concessions and at the same time a very amiable person to those close and dear to him. He had a head for science and a heart for the arts, with many artists and architects amongst his best friends. He fully enjoyed life, an cosmopolite who felt at home in Amsterdam, an accomplished monocyclist, a man who brought people together and someone who has left a lasting impression in the collective memory of Café Bern.