Reto Bauert (59) wants to put a stop to Joel Kraaz. He says: “It annoys me that nobody has stopped him from cheating on hosts like me for years.”
Beat Michel (lyrics) and Philippe Rossier (photos)
Former TV chef Joel Kraaz (34) obviously needed money urgently again. So urgent that he falls back into his old pattern: collect wages in advance and do nothing in return. The current staff shortage makes it easy for him. Cooks with free capacities are rare, landlords despair. They are also more willing to make an advance payment. But this is exactly what Reto Bauert (59), who has been the host of the Braui restaurant in Pfäffikon ZH for 22 years, is now warning of. Despite his many years of experience, he too fell for a particularly brazen action by Joel Kraaz!
Dry job market
Bauert was looking for a chef at the beginning of the summer. His longtime chef had resigned. The Beizer remembers: “It was extremely difficult. The job market had dried up completely.” Finally, Joel Kraaz responded to his ad. “He didn’t make a bad impression,” says the Braui host. “He said he could step in immediately. Even in the short term. I should just report it.”
In the end, Bauert couldn’t do anything else. He says: «After the summer holidays I had real problems. I was in dire need of a chef. I called. We agreed that he would start on August 20.” So far so good. But then Kraaz asked for an advance. Bauert: “He said he was so booked up that he wanted a third of the monthly salary of 5,600 francs in advance. Otherwise he wouldn’t even start.”
In retrospect, Bauert gets upset. “I should have been suspicious. That’s not much money for a well-known chef.” And he could have searched the internet for the name, then he would have learned a lot about Kraaz. It happened the way it had to. On August 20, the main character was missing in the kitchen of the “Braui”: cook Joel Kraaz. ‘He called me around noon. He has a death in the family,” says Reto Bauert. “I still understood. We agreed that he would start on Tuesday.” But even then, the ex-television star did not appear despite the down payment. “He claimed via Whatsapp that he was ill. He had a horror night. His voice is fucked up, which is why he can’t make a phone call. He would come the next day.”
Instead of money, threats followed
But the host had had enough. “I now knew what kind of person Kraaz is. I told him off and asked for the deposit back, »says Bauert to Blick. But instead of a referral, excuses followed. Several times it was the fault of the accountant, who was not present each time. Kraaz himself had no access to the accounts, he claimed. No money came, so he tried to intimidate the landlord. He threatened via Whatsapp: “If you take me to prison, I will send my friends over. Now we are at war.”
Kraaz quickly realized that he had made a mistake. He deleted the messages that same day. But Bauert was faster. “I had already shown the threats to the police,” says the betrayed landlord. “I reported him and reported him to the Gastro Suisse Association.”
Ads pile up
At the beginning of the year, the Bernese landlord Daniel Bernoulli (53) from the “Aarberger Hof” reported. Three months ago he received the message that the case is now being dealt with by the Zurich public prosecutor’s office. Shortly thereafter, he also received threatening and abusive WhatsApp messages from Kraaz. He hasn’t seen a cent of his 10,000 franc advance.
Reto Bauert is upset that the bankrupt cook can simply continue, although he is repeatedly reported and convicted. “I want as many people as possible to know that you can’t pay Joel Kraaz in advance, or the money will be gone.”
Kraaz’s last conviction dates back to February 17, 2021. The Lucerne cantonal court found him guilty of fraud against landlord Sven Gloor. Kraaz received a conditional fine of 140 daily rates of CHF 30 each with a four-year probationary period.
Kraaz is silent
Neither Joel Kraaz nor his lawyer wanted to comment on the current allegations. For this, several betrayed hosts spoke openly with a view. Some of them were already ripped off in 2018. Others also in the current year. All of them, with one exception, are still waiting for their money. A new court date has not yet been scheduled.
The senior public prosecutor’s office confirmed Blick that the Zurich-Sihl public prosecutor’s office is currently conducting criminal proceedings against Kraaz. The presumption of innocence applies until the next final judgment.