Deli man’s happy Return

February 4, 2010
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Entrepreneur Mark Cohen is not one of those who’ll be heading down the motorway to start a new life any time soon. In fact he has made the journey in the opposite direction, returning to his native Glasgow from London, where he worked as an accountant for seven years, to start a kosher deli.

“Glasgow is a nice place. It’s got everything everywhere else has, just not many young Jewish people,” said the 33-year-old, while preparing one of his speciality hot salt beef sandwiches.

“It’s a relaxed place to live. You drive for five minutes and you’re in the countryside. It doesn’t cost a lot to buy a nice flat here. I travelled around the world and I still came back.

“There’s more to life than making money and although accountancy was brilliant training and a good education, food is what I’m passionate about. It doesn’t seem like work.

“A lot of my friends have moved away but the people who are here enjoy living here.”

Although yet to meet the girl of his dreams, Mr Cohen is clear that when he does, Glasgow would be first choice for bringing up a family. “From the people coming into the shop, I know there are still quite a few families, so I know my children would have Jewish friends. Also it’s so much healthier living here than in London.”

Why i will be leaving

When Daniel Stern’s parents were growing up in Glasgow in the 1970s, they did not know each other, a fact he finds staggering.

The 22-year-old history student at the University of Glasgow cannot imagine there now being a Jew of his own age in Glasgow he does not know.

“I think a theme has emerged among my peers,” he said. “The ones who are interested in their Judaism and want to maintain it go to Manchester and Leeds. The ones who aren’t interested stay and wind up marrying out.

“I did a year exchange in Toronto last year and I’ve travelled in Israel. I’ve seen there’s so much more to Jewish life than you can get in Glasgow.” He would miss his family and “the caring side of the community. But I feel quite passionate about having to go and hope to be leaving soon.”

Last updated: 11:35am, February 4 2010