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Flavors of Life

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Flavors of Life is a collection of inspirational biographies, sharing the stories of 62 entrepreneurs from around the world. Ranging from a famous Swiss drummer to an American ballet dancer to those who grew up during the apartheid in South Africa or in a small village in the mountains of Nepal, they are connected by a common thread: all own a restaurant in Amsterdam. To them their lives are normal – just everyday events and choices – but their experiences are unexpected and fascinating.

• Discover how these diverse individuals landed in the same city, in the same industry, with a shared passion - a love for food
• Gain an appreciation for the variety of restaurants in Amsterdam, the city of canals
• Learn how food and the customs surrounding it crosses cultures and unite us
• Follow their personal journeys and be inspired.

272 pages, Paperback

First published May 4, 2016

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About the author

Jessica Lipowski

1 book5 followers
Jessica Lipowski is the author of Flavors of Life (2016). Jessica, originally from Detroit, Michigan and a graduate of Michigan State University, moved to the Netherlands in February 2011. With previous journalistic work published on 10Best.com (part of USAToday) and in The Washington Times, she is now an author and lives in Los Angeles. The book, in combination with Jessica’s past work experience, travels, and life as an expat, has enabled her to view food, travel, and culture through a different lens.

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5 stars
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2 (9%)
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Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
Profile Image for Karla .
12 reviews10 followers
May 5, 2016
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 ;)
Profile Image for Ilana.
976 reviews
May 19, 2016
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.
Disclaimer: ARC offered by the author, opinions, as usual, my own.
Profile Image for Savannah Grace.
Author 29 books273 followers
April 18, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Samuel Sheffield.
1 review2 followers
October 11, 2016
I’m an expat living in Amsterdam so it was a delight reading similar stories of people arriving to this city and starting a new life. The hard work and effort of the author, Jessica Lipowski shines through on the pages. She has beautifully captured the honest stories of the sixty-two restaurateurs in the book and in the process has created a hymn about life.
I do warn you that this is expensive. Save enough money for the book and the bill at each of these restaurants because you’ll be tempted to go after each turn of the page. It’s a brilliant read and it made me grateful to live in Amsterdam.
Profile Image for Claire Gibson.
105 reviews
April 21, 2016
I was honoured to be asked to be a beta reader of this book. The concept was marvelous and a great way to introduce the world to the people behind the wonderful ethnic restaurants in Amsterdam.

The writing was not edited as much as it should have been and the stories lacked passion. I truly hope that this went through another series of editing and rewrite before it was sent to publish as it could truly be a successful first novel, with a good lead to becoming a noteworthy series.

I wish the writer the best of successes in this endevour.
May 14, 2016
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.
April 13, 2017
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!
1 review
September 24, 2016
What fascinating descriptions of the unique lives of Amsterdam’s restaurant entrepreneurs! The author of “Flavors of Life” demonstrates a flair for crafting clever stories. The book’s format creates 42 vignettes with photo stories and neatly packages them in short chapters. This delightful format allowed me to read a stand-alone anecdote in a short window of time or else I could be carried through anecdotes upon anecdotes in one sitting. Because of the author’s clever detective work and reporting from Amsterdam’s restaurant scene, I could visualize the setbacks and challenges of restaurant owners. Optimism and human perseverance were consistent threads. Certainly this is somewhat like restaurant owners in my own hometown or yours. After reading “Flavors of Life” the people behind the restaurant scene will never look the same. In the future, upon entering a new restaurant, you and I will wonder deeply about the story hiding within.
1 review1 follower
July 5, 2016
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, fiends 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!
Profile Image for Jennifer Dupuis.
13 reviews1 follower
July 24, 2016
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.
1 review
June 17, 2016
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.
1 review
October 12, 2016
A very entertaining read that blends restaurant information and interesting background information on the owners. After reading this, I've started to think about the background of any restaurant that I go to. This book has also peaked my interest in visiting the Netherlands to further explore such an exciting melting pot of a country.
1 review1 follower
November 1, 2016
I loved the idea of this book and enjoyed the wonderful stories. I have never been to Amsterdam but the book may inspire a trip! I think this would make a great book club book and could be paired with food theme. It has made me wonder about the story behind some of my favorite restaurants.
April 18, 2016
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!
Profile Image for Brittany.
3 reviews
April 24, 2016
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!
Profile Image for Jessica Cutrufello.
6 reviews2 followers
August 10, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Susan.
343 reviews3 followers
April 19, 2016
I wish I had this book when I lived in Europe. Many stories about people who went against all the odds, opened restaurants and made a go of them. If you are planning a trip to Europe or just enjoy reading stories about people that overcome the odds against them and make winderful places to eat then this is the book for you. I highly recommend it, when you are traveling you want to find a place that is Good to eat at not pay big bucks for mediocrity. The stories are excellent.
Profile Image for Barbara.
19 reviews4 followers
April 4, 2017
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.
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews

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