Flavors of Life proves, once again, that everyone has a compelling story to tell. Jessica Lipowski has the talent to bring those stories to life for her readers.
Expertly researched, Flavors of Life tells the stories of immigrants from all over the world. The two common threads that run through the book are that each immigrant has made Amsterdam their new home and each has brought a little bit of their homeland with them in the form of an ethnic restaurant.
Flavors of Life is a fascinating read and recommended for all who wish to see the world through the eyes of those who have made a new life for themselves from afar.
I honestly never thought that behind restaurants there were incredible stories of overcoming adversities, tenacity or perseverance, passion for cooking or love for food.
Along came Flavors of Life, written by world traveler, expat and now author Jessica Lipowski who left the USA in search of adventures, opportunities and life-changing experiences at the other side of the planet, most specifically in the Netherlands where she currently lives. Being an enthusiast foodie, she set out to try all different types of food offered by fellow expats and expert cooks to the world.
Flavors of Life recounts the stories of 62 persons from 41 nationalities that had one common goal, one dream and one passion: food for their country. These beautifully written and detailed stories will grab your attention from the get go and frankly some will touch some chords or your heart as they are quite moving. Overcoming adversities, facing language barriers and never losing sight of their goal is simply inspiring, admirable and remarkable.
I have been to Amsterdam and have dined at restaurants (by the way the city truly is a paradise for foodies and the Dutch hospitality is unmatched). However after reading these incredible stories, It makes me want to go back and visit them ALL. I’ve gained more respect and applaud these visionaries, risk takers and their families for never giving up.
Foodies and travel lovers, this is a book that you need to read. It’ll change the restaurant scene and make you appreciate the meals or dishes served from this moment on.
I really enjoyed Flavors of Life that looks at the stories of sixty-two restaurateurs from around the world who have settled in Amsterdam. The author, Jessica Lipowski, brings to life their tales of immigration and entrepreneurial success. Their stories…sometimes sad, sometimes happy, but always interesting…left me wanting to read more. As a journalistic author, Lipowski excels. She does a great job providing enough historical context for each character to draw the reader in and draws inferences to present issues to keep readers connected. In all, it was a great book and I look forward to more from her.
Flavors of Life is such an inspiring book. The stories make me feel grateful at the realization that when I moved [to Amsterdam], I moved to a world of global cosmopolitans, or global citizens. I don’t think there is a big difference between management consultants and chefs or entrepreneurs who travel the world making every stop their home, and making the most of every opportunity to share their passion or build something that connects us all.
Reading this book, I noticed that especially people coming from different continents find it much easier to travel far away and try their luck there. Innovation comes at crossroads of experience and cultures. Flavors of Life promotes all kinds of diversity. Additionally, dance, theatre, music; so many restaurateurs have a background in performance art, that you suddenly realize cooking – and offering your creation – is a performance art in itself.
One has to be prepared to feel both hungry and filled with wanderlust and inspiration when reading Flavors of Life.
You can read this book in different ways. For instance, you can use the information for a successful culinary tour of Amsterdam. You can read it, too, as a collection of inspirational stories of people from all over the world who found their luck, and sometimes love too, out of their comfort zone. Or, you can read it too as a testimony of how rich a relatively small country as the Netherlands can be by welcoming different people. Each story presented in the book can teach you something and at the end of the book, one goes richer in stories and, maybe, also grateful for what we, in Europe, mostly have for granted. Through the stories, it teaches us resilience and faith and the courage to fail and start again, more than once. It is a book well written and on a well chosen topic.
I’ve lived in Amsterdam for over 10 years and have been eating out in restaurants in the Dutch capital every week. And yet, despite my huge passion for the city and its food, I’d never looked behind the scenes – at the people who actually make up its culinary culture. This book is lovely to dip in and out of, whether you’re a foodie or not. It’s primarily about humanity – the stories of people, above all. If you live in Amsterdam, you’ll undoubtedly have been to some of these restaurants – and those you’ve not been to will be on your bucket-list to try after reading this! If you don’t live in Amsterdam, these stories will inspire your next visit – creating an alternative guide for the traveler who really wishes to dig beneath the surface. I highly recommend this fascinating read!
If you’ve never been to Amsterdam and want a taste of what it’s like, sink your teeth into Jessica Lipowski’s “Flavors of Life.” Or if you have been to the city and long to return, this book is like a whiff of something wonderful cooking in the kitchen. I fall into the former category, and Jess’s book has me excited (even more) to book a trip and visit some of the great places profiled in her comprehensive compilation. The stories of the owners are compelling, poignant, and inspirational. After reading “Flavors of Life,” I can’t wait to take a bite out of Amsterdam… thanks, Jess!
The colorful cover drew me in to this book, and scanning the (full-color, full of pictures and maps) inside pages convinced me to start reading. The author has done something here that celebrates our world in a unique way: originally from Detroit (like me), she now lives in Amsterdam and she’s collected the stories of 61 people from 41 countries who have opened restaurants in Amsterdam. As someone who has dreamed of living abroad and immersing myself in foreign culture, I find this concept exciting. While highlighting Amsterdam and its culinary diversity as a starting point, the book extends to all parts of the world and a variety of personal backgrounds, cultures, and families. You could use this book as a restaurant guide in Amsterdam (and I plan to, should I find myself traveling there), but to me the compelling aspect is the cultural stories which can be enjoyed from anywhere.
The author brings the world to the reader as she tells their personal stories and the photos compliment each one. Having travelled to 100+ countries myself, seeing the photos and reading the stories from lives around the world makes me nostalgic for a time gone by in my own life. Some of the personal adventures and struggles faced in this book are mind blowing! Refugees escaping their countries to find protection in Amsterdam are the most impressive and eye-opening. “Flavors of Life” reminds us that we are all one, that despite our different ethnic backgrounds and despite our culture, religion or language we can ALL come together. It is a brilliant concept and now, in a time where we are wary of others, it is important we understand everyone has their story. People are so similar in base; we want love, family, happiness and the pleasures and comforts of FOOD often bring us together. This is a great read/treat for all of your guests. Display it on the coffee table and they can flip through the photos and choose one of the 62 stories to read through in a few-minute sitting. Pick up “Flavors of Life” and read a story a day; you will be inspired, enriched and gain a better understanding of the people around the world. There is so much to gain through others’ experiences and I hope there will be future editions from other cities. Thank you Jessica for all of your hard work and dedication to bring these stories to life and for showing us that despite our differences we can all unite. I’ll definitely be sure to visit the restaurants mentioned in this book!!! I love that I can actually MEET the restaurateurs.
I loved reading a story or two (each is only a few pages long) before heading to bed. It made for a nice feel-good moment before falling asleep. As someone who recently moved to Amsterdam, reading the stories of some of my favorite spots, and finding restaurants from reading this book makes it incredibly valuable and meaningful for me. I love trying new foods and new cuisines and Flavors of Life not only showcases restaurants, but many cuisines and cultures, and of course, the story behind it all! I don’t think I’ll ever go into a restaurant again and take for granted all the blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice that goes into opening such an establishment. I thank the author for opening my eyes to the world behind the food.
Travel is an organizing principle of my life. Also eating food. And have I mentioned beverages? In Flavors of Life, Jessica Lipowski has taken my three favorite activities and combined them with a few other of my favorite things and reasons for living: Amsterdam, people and cultures. In her adopted city, this American writer and traveler discovered other immigrants from around the world who had also chosen Amsterdam as home. What these people had in common was their love of food from their native cultures, a desire to share what they love with their new countrymen, and a work ethic that puts me to shame. Flavors of Life introduces the reader to people, their food, and places so intriguing you’ll want to book a flight for Amsterdam. But before you go, read Jessica Lipowski’s book. And make sure you allow enough time for as many meals from this warm and wonderful narrative as you can.
This is an amazingly unique read. I’ve never come across anything like it! The detail is unmatched as the author follows those around the world, who eventually gather in Amsterdam, building new lives, sharing their varying cultures and presenting delicious ethnic food for all to enjoy. Having the maps available displaying hometown countries was a definite plus. For those who really enjoy eating outside the home, perhaps the reader might consider a possible challenge. Choose one of the restaurants and dine there, one per week until all have been explored by tasting, smelling and visually experiencing what is on offer. Meeting the owners and being familiar with their personal stories would be an additional treat! Thank you, Jess, for widening my horizons… and my palate too!
This book is a delight from cover to cover, full of dynamic and inspirational stories that bring life to the restaurants of Amsterdam and how they came to be. This book can be enjoyed in more ways than one, like a small snack if you read just one story on its own, or a multi-course meal as you devour many stories at a time. Regardless of how you read it, the depth of research and heart that Jessica Lipowski has poured into her work shows. So often I find myself seeking ethnic restaurants for a new food experience with little thought as to how these restaurants became established or who is behind them. This book gives much deserved attention to the people behind the restaurants and what inspired them to share their love of food and life with the people of Amsterdam. I highly recommend it!
Delicately written insights into the incredible lives of worldwide adventurers that happen to land in Amsterdam, and express their love through food. You will never see a restaurant owner with the same eyes again. You will never try a new dish with the same curiosity. This book tells you the personal stories behind what you enjoy at the table.
Wow! I was blown away by the varied aspects of this book. The visual color and her writing style, combined with the food description and stories behind the owners of these restaurants to make this an enjoyable tour of cosmopolitan Amsterdam and surrounds. I loved every page. Don’t miss it!
This book is so interesting and it’s obvious that a lot of time and effort went into it! I love reading all the short stories of all the lives of the restaurant owners. I think that every coffee table should have one.
I received this book for an honest rview. Several lovely stories of how immigrants overcame huge odds to build a life for themselves. This book is a foodie guide and list several great restaurants. I wish I had this book when I lived in Europe because I definitely would have found many wonderfulplaces to eat. If you live in Europe or are going to visit (and you aren’t bringing PBJ sandwiches) you definitely need this book, you won’t be sorry!!
The author has done a great job in capturing the essence of a great deal of life’s important aspects as she writes about unity in our love for a good company, family, friends and of course food while she does so with writing about how diverse we actually are. I loved to read this book. Sometimes you just pick it up and read a chapter or two. Somehow, these stories always manage to cheer me up and remind me how lucky we are and it also very empowering to read the personal stories of these restaurateurs for all over the world. I think that these stories could be used as examples for many of us and maybe even motivate us to cook and get together more often. The language of the book just flows, easy and enjoyable to read even if you’re not a native english speaker. An absolute recommendation!