Welcome to my kitchen and beyond …

Hi, I’m Karen, I eat, cook, travel, write and sometimes I work.  I love living in Amsterdam but I’ll always be Scottish.  Welcome to my kitchen and my recipes.  I hope you’ll join me on my food travels around Amsterdam and beyond too.

A bit about the recipes …

I think about food all the time, I wake up ready to tuck into breakfast and before I’m finished I’ve already decided what I want to eat for lunch and dinner.  Then I spend the rest of the day pondering ingredients and flavour combinations.

All my recipes are created in my compact kitchen overlooking the Amstel River in Amsterdam.  They’re written for every type of home cook and have been tried and tested by hundreds of clients I’ve taught to cook over the years.  My recipes are are accessible to any kind of cook, whatever the skill level, whatever the lifestyle.

How I ate my way here …

I’m from a tiny island in Scotland called Bute and have eaten my way to Amsterdam via London and Lagos on the Portuguese Algarve.

I’m a business graduate, and before coming out as a food obsessive I held various corporate positions in industries as diverse as banking, industrial food production and hospitality.

In 1997 I moved to Amsterdam, and in 2000 I went out to buy a loaf of bread and came home with a cheese shop.  Honestly.

I was living every food-nut’s dream.  I had a huge assortment of artisan cheeses – from 70 to 100 at any one time – wine and meats all sourced from small producers throughout Europe.  I made my own products; pesto, tapenade, quiches, salads, canapés, lots of things to enjoy with the cheeses, wines and charcuterie I sold.

Owning ‘Vivers Delicatessen’ made it clear there was no going back to the office for me.  I had to be around food and like minded people who took pride in quality and the tradition of its production.  I especially fell in love with cheese, and am happy to say it’s deep and committed relationship that carries on to this day.

With the success of the store I was given by “Lekker” magazine (the most recognized restaurant guide in the Netherlands) the honorary title of ‘Cheese Fondue Specialist of Amsterdam’ and was invited to cook on AT5 (Amsterdam’s TV channel).

It was an exciting time, I learnt so much about all aspects of food, food history, production, supply chains global and local,  issues facing the industry at all levels, and, myself.  It became apparent my personal relationship with food wasn’t as healthy as it should be and I sold the shop to concentrate on getting better.  During this process I re-learnt how to cook and eat and that lead to my next food adventure, teaching other people to cook, and I  became an author.  I wrote a healthy cook book for people like me who love food but needed to watch their weight.  For more information about my book, ‘Love Food, Live Healthy’ see the page Cookbook or visit Amazon

And Beyond …

After being a personal food tour guide to travelers, expats and food industry professionals in Amsterdam for almost ten years, I know my way around the food scene pretty well.  Watch this space for the best places to eat in Amsterdam, and things to avoid too!

Whenever I can, I travel, sometimes home to Scotland, but mostly further afield.  I’ll share my experiences, by which I mean what I’ve eaten, why and where.  So stick with me and every meal will be a good one.