An editor-at-large for amexessentials.com, Irene mostly writes about food, wine and the people that make it. After spending time in the US, Italy and Germany, Irene is now back in her home town of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where she lives with her partner and two young sons.
You write about a variety of subjects for amexessentials.com, what most inspires you about your subjects?
Whether it’s a story about restaurants, specific dishes or culinary events, Amex Essentials always takes a global perspective. This way, I’ve discovered there’s an even bigger diversity in food than I had thought imaginable, but that wherever in the world we are, our motivations to seek out certain dishes are similar: beyond nourishment, we seek to be comforted, tap into memories and feel connected.
What kind of details do you look for?
Food is such an important part of our identity. I’m always interested in how and what a person eats, as it reveals details about them they would never tell you.
What’s the next big thing?
I hope we’ll become brave (or wise?) enough to have more phone-free experiences, however badly we want to document them.
Books or ebooks?
Can they invent paper-scented ebooks, please? I love my ebook as I tend to move countries every few years, and I get to keep my books. I try not to be nostalgic over crumpled paperbacks, but man, real paper…
What social media channel inspires you most and why?
I’m a words person, and have a love-hate relationship with the glitzy images on Instagram. Yet I love immersing myself in a parallel world where it only rains when people happen to carry cute striped umbrellas.
Film or TV?
TV series. I’m getting better at curbing my bingeing because the kids will always be up at 7am.
Street food or fine dining?
I’ve never understood how anyone can properly enjoy stellar food in a morgue-like dining room. That’s why I love the new wave of restaurants serving highly creative fine food in a more casual setting. Often, their chefs take inspiration from street food and elevate these dishes to the next level. The best of both worlds!
How do you relax?
I love preparing a feast for my family, from thinking up the menu, to shopping at the market and doing the actual cooking. It gives me such pleasure when they all dig in and forget to take pictures of the food first.
Your three travel essentials?
My phone, a large scarf and loads of wet wipes.
Your essential luxury?
Well, two luxuries: a well-made cup of coffee (espresso or cappuccino, depending on the time of day) and the time to properly enjoy it.
Wine or beer?
Wine, any time. It’s not just a beverage – it’s an expression of a place and its people, and that makes it infinitely interesting.
I’m only slowly beginning to discover India on yearly trips to my family-in-law, but I’m loving (and sometimes hating) the constant sensory overload. Most of all, I love discovering its diverse cuisines.
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