Thanks Vicky for taking the time to answer our Q&A.
We all love food, right ? So read this !
1. Where are you from and how did you come to live in Amsterdam?
I was born in the UK, and first moved to Amsterdam as a student back in 2001. I fell in love with the city right away, but had to leave after a year to finish my studies in Scotland. In late 2005, I came here for a weekend and knew that this time the separation could not be long: I handed in my notice on my job and my apartment (by this time in London) and booked a one-way ticket to Amsterdam in January 2006. I never looked back!
2. Tell us about the Amsterdam Foodie. How did that come about?
I started writing about restaurants only about 6 months after I moved here – mostly just for my friends on MySpace (yes, that’s how long ago this was!). Amsterdam’s food scene was pretty limited over a decade ago, so I wanted to record which places I thought were any good or not. My brother worked for AOL at the time, so a couple of months later I opened an AOL blog. For Christmas 2006, that same brother gave me a URL, amsterdamfoodie.nl, and I migrated my tiny blog over to there. I’d love to be able to tell you that Amsterdam Foodie was this strategic, professional thing, but it really wasn’t! It was just a random Christmas present that took on a life of its own…
3. Any other business interests?
I’ve never found a way to make restaurant blogging pay the mortgage, so I write about other things as well. I’m a professional copywriter, editor and Dutch-English translator – I work freelance for clients in all walks of life. In truth, I love it because I think I’d get bored of only writing about food. I’ve written for everything from financial services institutions to swimwear companies to dating apps! You can find a selection of my portfolio on vickyhampton.com.
4. What is the thing you like most about your work?
Learning about all sorts of different industries… I start a project knowing nothing, and I come out able to hold a decent dinner party conversation with just about anyone!
5. Tell us about the idea behind the cookbook?
At my first two jobs in Amsterdam, there was a serious lack of decent lunch options. Endless ham-and-cheese broodjes from the office canteen, powdered soup, and bread with hagelslag. I couldn’t stand it! So I kept a chopping board and knife in my desk drawer, and would pick up a few simple ingredients from the supermarket at lunchtime. Even with so little equipment, I found I could make lunches much more creative, satisfying and healthy than anything else I could find in or around the office. So I started writing the recipes down – and that was where Vicky Hampton’s Working Lunch was born.
6. How much work goes into producing a book?
In a word: loads! In the case of something like a cookbook, it’s not just about the writing – you need photography, design, DTP and proofreading as well. Once the book has been produced, you need to get it into (online) stores and start to sell it – the promotion alone is a full-time job!
7. What do you like to do in your spare time away from work?
Ummm… is it bad if I say that I mostly cook and go to restaurants?! I’m lucky that my work is also my passion. My husband and I own a BBQ and a smoker – we love nothing better than to spend all weekend smoking a big piece of meat for friends.
But because I eat so much, I take quite a bit of exercise (running, Pilates, hula hooping, skiing), and I travel as often as possible too.
8. What is your fondest memory or proudest moment at work?
It’s always lovely when I meet someone for the first time, tell them that I’m the Amsterdam Foodie, and they already follow me. They often tell me they feel like they’ve known me for years from reading my posts for so long!
9. Any plans for a second book?
I’ve got a couple of ideas in the pipeline – but I often start books and rarely seem to finish them. If I do publish another book, though, it probably won’t be a cookbook. I’m thinking of something more narrative based, but equally foodie.
10. What other plans do you have lined up for the rest of the year and 2018?
Lots of trips to countries I’ve never been to before… Hopefully they’ll give me plenty of inspiration for my cooking and my writing!
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