Moved from Paris, France in 2013.
A repatriate of an Armenian and Spanish descent from France Zadig Zadikian has been living in Armenia for three years. Despite numerous difficulties, he loves the country and is determined to settle in Yerevan for good.
The owner of the Come y Calla restaurant Zadig Zadikian speaks about his Armenian and Spanish roots and the formula of his success. Interview by Laura Sargsyan.
—Zadig, tell us about your Armenian roots.
— I was born and grew up in France, Paris to international parents; my mother is Spanish and my father is Armenian. I consider myself of French, Spanish and Armenian origins. My native language is French, and I also speak Spanish.
My spouse is of French and Spanish origin. My grandfather was born on the way to Sofia, then his family moved to Paris. My father was born in France, where he met my mother.
— When did you move to Armenia?
— I have visited Armenia as a tourist first time in 2011, but thought about moving to my historical homeland after I had graduated from the University. Three years ago I started a small business in Yerevan. It was very difficult as I did not speak the language, was not familiar with the laws and had no acquaintances.
I would not change Yerevan for any other city in the world today. Here you will find the most precious thing that you won’t find in many economically developed countries - that is safety. My spouse and I feel quite comfortable here.
— What has amazed you most in Armenia?
— My wife was most amazed by Armenia and Armenians. Of course many things seemed unusual to her. For instance she was really surprised how people would react to a smoking woman in the street. People in Armenia also seem a bit cold to her. But as we were born in a different cultural environment, we just ignore such small inconveniences.
We should not forget that Armenia is a fast developing country, but a young country. Everything is relative, look at how Armenia has changed in the last ten years, the difference is huge.
— Does your wife want to go back to France?
— No, quite the contrary, she, just like I, learns Armenian. She did Masters degree in foreign languages at the Yerevan State University. She has made friends here but she still cannot get used to the idea that women should be home after 11.00 PM or that parents are overprotective.
We do not think about leaving Armenia. It is sometimes hard as I am an Armenian in France and French in Armenia, and I can’t say at the moment that Armenia is my country, though I love Armenia. But time changes everything, and I might feel differently in a while about Armenia, you see, I haven’t seen much of Armenia yet. I am thrilled by the fact that I could achieve something here from the scratch, without knowing the language and the environment.
— What is the formula of your success; you managed to keep your business afloat, whereas many restaurants have shut down?
— One needs to know the limits. I was always amazed by the attitude of the managers to their businesses. My cook, unlike other local specialists, works with only one assistant. Our staff includes me, the waiter, the cook and his assistant. That is why we could keep afloat our business, at the time when many restaurants could not keep up with the competition. It is not enough to desire to open a restaurant , one should be able to manage it diligently.
Translated by Marie Ulikhanyan