You might have heard the good news: we're having a baby! Well, a book baby, that is. After years of bringing you the best of the best of travel tips on the web, we decided to take pen (or printing press) to page & bring you an amazing, practical, beautiful guidebook to the city that is nearest & dearest to our heart. Which city is that, you ask? Why, Amsterdam of course! So now it's time for the countdown to begin.
As our publishing date grows ever closer, we want to give you some sneak peeks into what's to come to get you as excited as we are. Our book is nothing without the incredible shops, restaurants, bars & businesses we love, so it's important to us that you get to know them a bit as well. That's why, until the launch of our book, we are going to be bringing you interviews with the inspiring founders of some of our very favourite spots.
Today, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Alex Haupt, the culinary wizard at 101 Gowrie, one of the most delicious restaurants in Amsterdam & a great place to get a taste of local produce. Keep reading to find out what makes this masterchef tick.
gloobles: Alex! What a pleasure it is to chat with you! We love what you're doing at 101 Gowrie, so it's pretty cool to get some insight into your life & teh way you cook. Can you tell us about your first experience with cooking?
Alex: My first experience with cooking was with my father when he taught me how to make pancakes. & when I was a kid, we had a kid's baking cookbook, & I would make one recipe from it each weekend until I'd gone cover to cover.
gloobles: That is so sweet! So you were clearly enamoured of the kitchen from a young age. What fascinates you about food?
Alex: Food is beautiful because it is something that brings people together across all cultures & backgrounds. It's something that unifies us & also something that makes us individual. That, to me, is something very special & something you don't often find in other facets of society.
gloobles: Absolutely! It transcends so many barriers that most things cannot. How would you describe your style of cooking?
Alex: My cooking style is modern with Japanese influence & is driven by local, quality products.
gloobles: We're drooling already! Can you walk us through a typical day at 101 Gowrie?
Alex: Every day is different at 101 Gowrie! But always in the morning, the first thing I do is get that laundry started & turn on all the lights & equipment. Then I will have a coffee & several cigarettes. Then preparations begin until service time, & in & amongst all this is a mixture of computer work, working together with my team on new objectives for the day, taking phone calls & cleaning. During the evening, it is full focus on our guests until it's time to clean down, have a drink with the team & then we all go home & get some rest for the next day.
gloobles: Whew! That's a pretty busy day. Makes our days looks like a piece of cake! It's pretty incredible that you were on The Final Table; what was it like?
Alex: It was very surreal; it was my first experience working on a big television show. I learned a lot about the process of what it takes to make a television show, & I learned a lot of new things about different cultures & food in general. Overall the best part was being able to catch up with Ash, whom I hadn't seen for years prior to filming the show.
gloobles: We can imagine it must've felt a bit like a dream. So we know you're not from here originally. What brought you to Amsterdam? What are your thoughts on the food scene here?
Alex; I came to Amsterdam because I saw a city that has a great history & is very much developing a new palate & sensibilities, & I thought it would be great to potentially be able to create positive change to the dining scene.
gloobles: Oh, absolutely! & we are so grateful you're helping shift & shape the dining scene here because it has been quite lacking for years. When you're not cooking, where do you like to eat? & how do you eat at home? Are you cooking?
Alex: Pizza, pasta & noodles. I eat at home maybe once a week. Sometimes I cook, other times we order in; it depends on how I'm feeling on the day itself.
gloobles: That makes sense. Play it by ear! What's your favourite restaurant in the world?
Alex: There's a small ramen spot in Tokyo next to Omori train station. Not sure what the name is, but the tonkotsu ramen there is the best I will ever have in my life.
gloobles: Hold please! We're writing that one down. If you're not in the kitchen, what do you like to do?
Alex: Play pool, listen to music & read books.
gloobles: Sounds like a great day to us! Which chefs, if any, do you look up to? Anyone or anything else that inspires you?
Alex: Rene Redzepi & Christian Puglisi. It's amazing how they were able to really create a community of forward-thinking & like-minded people for the better of their respective publics, all whilst creating very original & unique food. I am also really inspired by music & architecture.
gloobles: We're not surprised by all of that. We can see similar elements in your kitchen & what you're doing. Speaking of what you're doing, your work is as beautiful as it is delicious. What's the process like to craft such beautiful things on a plate?
Alex: Simple: let the product guide you; work with flavours, not with aesthetics.
gloobles: Amazing. So you mentioned that your ethos centres on local, quality ingredients. What are your thoughts on using local vs imported ingredients?
Alex: It's a very blurry line these days. How far does "local" extend? Is it local to Europe? To the Netherlands? To Australia? I think restaurants have a responsibility to communicate to their guests who they are as a restaurant & what they are serving?
gloobles: We couldn't agree more, & thankfully it seems as if more & more chefs are getting in line with that way of thinking. Is there anything that's on your travel bucket list?
Alex: I would love to buy a caravan & travel all around Australia.
gloobles: Can we come?! Alright, we've got one more question for you. If you could cook for any person in the world, who would it be?
Alex: A room filled with my family & loved ones.