Dining Out (and In) with Amsterdam Foodie Vicky Hampton
If you're navigating Amsterdam's ever-evolving culinary scene, author and food blogger Vicky Hampton is your go-to guru. On amsterdamfoodie, her online encyclopedia of Amsterdam restaurants searchable by price, location and type of cuisine, the British-born Amsterdammer offers scores of sassy, informed reviews based on solo visits, meals with friends, and dining experiences with her hubby, the gastronomic sidekick she affectionately calls “Honey Badger.”
Whether you're salivating for the town's best stroopwafel, a slice of Dutch apple pie dripping with whipped cream, a traditional Indonesian rijsttafel to share with friends, or your favorite ethnic cuisine, the Amsterdam Foodie reveals where to find what you're craving, in a range of budgets.
Along with recommendations for new and tried-and-trusted establishments serving Dutch fare, Vicky's online Restaurant Finder reflects the multiculturalism that has influenced Amsterdam's food scene in recent years. With trademark wit and insight that tap both her writing background and a deep understanding of food and hospitality, she reviews dozens of venues serving cuisine from Asia, Europe, the Americas and beyond. “Amsterdam may not exactly be known as the foodie capital of Europe,” she confesses, “but its culinary scene has come on in leaps and bounds over the past decade.”
Vicky's appetite for everything edible began in childhood, with frequent visits to her father's hotels and restaurants. Even as a toddler, she participated in “market research”—a family euphemism for going out for nice dinners. An avid cook from a young age, she dabbled in professional catering while earning a degree in English Literature in Scotland and a cookery qualification from Cordon Bleu in France.
Conflicted about whether to become a professional chef or writer, Vicky found a way to combine both passions after adopting Amsterdam as her home in 2006. What began as a catalogue of the city's best and worst restaurants on MySpace morphed into the earliest version of amsterdamfoodie. A few years later, Vicky published A Gastronomic Journey in Amsterdam, an audio guide to her adopted city’s food scene. Available through iTunes for $1.99, the app features a narrated walking tour with stops for such traditional Dutch fare as herring, smoked ossenworst, Gouda cheese and De Prael beer, all topped off with a shot of jenever.
Vicky Hampton's restaurant reviews and food-related articles have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Forbes, Frame, Time Out, and numerous other international newspapers and magazines. She's contributed to Michelin, DK Eyewitness, and Rough Amsterdam guides, and currently manages all content for Eating Europe Food Tours.
Her voracious appetite for dining out notwithstanding, even the Amsterdam Foodie is sometimes motivated—by choice or budget—to prepare food in a familiar kitchen. In 2013, Vicky published Working Lunch, a cookbook in accessible English, for people who want to make simple, healthy lunches in minimal time. Before it was published, she found herself missing the sandwich shops, salad bars and baked potato stalls in London, where she worked before moving to Amsterdam. Around the Leidseplein office where she was first employed locally, she uncovered few venues other than fast food joints for a quick lunch.
Colleagues at that Leidseplein office were the beneficiaries of Vicky's early lunch experiments. With ingredients brought from home, she began concocting what she calls “sexy salads, zingy soups and pimped-out sandwiches” in the small office kitchen, first for herself, then for colleagues at monthly team lunches. Encouraged by co-workers to record the recipes, she ultimately published them in Working Lunch, a collection of 50 easy, single-serving dishes that require no more than a chopping board and a knife.
With appetizing photos and Vicky's inimitable prose, her cookbook reveals how to create yummy salads, breads, couscous dishes, hummus concoctions, soups and smoothies. At a January 2018 author event at Amsterdam's American Book Center, she enticed guests with samples of a hearty couscous meal featured in her book.
Working Lunch is available in hard-cover (€15.95) and as a digital e-book (€4.95) at local bookstores and on amsterdamfoodie.nl, which also offers the Amsterdam Restaurant Guide (€3.95) e-book.
For aspiring food writers, the Amsterdam Foodie has this advice: “Do it because you are passionate about food and about writing. Food blogging is highly competitive, so there are very few financial incentives.” Despite such cautionary words, Vicky's lifelong passions have yielded a satisfying career as a food writer skilled in the art of whetting readers' appetites for dining out, as well as in the office or at home.
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