Kea Expat Stories: Miles Watson of Pure Berlin

There are heaps of Kiwi expats doing cool things around the world in a range of fields, from business to government to the environment. As part of our mission to connect the one million Kiwis living overseas, we're sharing the stories of what some of our expats are up to and what being a Kiwi means to them. 


So, what do you do?

I founded a sugar substitute and I'm currently a Gastronomie Consultant and Food Designer with my company Pure Berlin. 

How did you get to where you are today, what steps did you take?

I started young washing dishes to get a foot in the door with the best kitchens in my hometown. Then after school, I was lucky enough to be accepted into culinary school at EIT in Napier. After graduating, I moved to Sydney for the international atmosphere and chance to experience a classic French kitchen. After that I moved to Berlin and started working in restaurants there. 


What excites you about your industry or work?

The creativity and meeting great colleagues who become my extended family.

What’s an important issue which needs attention in your industry?

There a lot to fix:

  • Working conditions
  • Pay, in regards to the whole system from farmer to worker
  • Respect for the trade and living products

But this all comes down to professionalism. If you open a restaurant, you are responsible for all of these aspects and to improve the whole system.

How has your New Zealand background contributed to your journey/success?

Growing up in NZ surrounded by all the natural products. As kids we got to learn where our ingredients come from and how to preserve them. At home,  we used to help make tomato sauce, jams and bottled and pickled good produce when it was in season.

In your experience, what’s it like being a Kiwi overseas? 

People are really open to Kiwis and they like their attitude and way of life. 

What does being a New Zealander mean to you?

Coming from the land and being responsible for it. I'm proud to come from one of the greatest part of the world and to have an understanding of nature and sustainability. 

What’s one key lesson for any Kiwis wanting to follow in your footsteps or enter your industry?

Check your ego at the door. You have two ears two eye and one mouth. So listen and look twice as hard and learn.

Lastly, what’s the one thing (aside from friends and family) you miss most from home?

The inspiration from long walks in nature (mostly I miss the fresh air and beach walks). 


mileswatsonMiles Watson grew up in Hawkes Bay and first moved overseas in 1998 to broaden his horizons and learn from the best in his industry.

Miles has worked in a range of restaurants in New Zealand, Australia and Germany and other food businesses throughout Europe.

In 2012 he co-founded Pure Berlin, a creative think tank for the gastronomy sector that helps brands with product development, food styling, photography and more.