Barbara Saltmann is a Jamaican entrepreneur based in Germany who first landed in the country as a tourism student. She is famous for her restaurant business, Ya-Man, which means “everything is OK” in Jamaican patois. The restaurant offers authentic Caribbean cuisine in the city of Berlin.
Before launching Ya-Man restaurant, Saltmann did not have any experience in the restaurant business. Starting a restaurant was a spontaneous decision she took in 2008 and Ya-Man launched at Moabit’s Gotzkowksystrasse in Berlin. Since then, she has never looked back.
“It’s cheaper to eat here than to fly to Jamaica,” she told DW. However, the restaurant has not replaced her home, she underscored. “I have two homes. I travel to Jamaica to tank up on energy, and then I am always happy to come back to Berlin. “
Ya-Man has been around since 2008. The venue has a colorful and funky mix of Jamaican memorabilia in a tiny venue.
“The ceiling of Jamaican restaurant Ya-Man is blue, and the eye is naturally drawn up to the painted panorama of fluffy white clouds and cockatoos,” DW describes the restaurant. “The walls are painted in the country’s national hues of green and yellow, while the flags of the other Caribbean countries fly above the tables.”
Ya-Man was previously under different ownership before Saltmann acquired it. According to her, she was helping the previous owner to find someone to buy the place. However, when she understood that the previous owner was not only selling the place but also his secret jerk chicken recipe, she felt compelled to purchase the place.
“…when I understood that he was about to sell not just the place but also his secret recipe, I was like ‘What?! My God, I feel like you’re selling my grandfather’s underwear!’ and that’s how I came to buy this place. To protect the recipe. And of course, I love cooking and entertaining,” she told Exberliner.
She explained that starting a restaurant business in Berlin takes a lot, like running from one office to the other to get all her documentation done. Her experience in setting up a restaurant business has been the core of her advice to potential entrepreneurs.
“Nothing happens overnight; just take it to step by step. And if you fall, get up again!” she said.