We love to eat, & we love to cook. But occasionally, we just don't have the time or energy to make a home cooked meal. Sometimes, we love heading out on the town to a lovely restaurant, but others? Well, we just prefer the comforts of home (& now with COVID running rampant, we are not even able to dine out). When we have a hankering for a meal at home, we love stopping off at Foodware to grab something that's as delicious as it is convenient. And we know you will too.
- We sat down with the mastermind behind Foodware, Sander van Ommeren, & picked his brain about all things delicious. Keep on reading to find out more.
- gloobles: Foodware is one of our go-to spots in Amsterdam, no matter the season, no matter the situation. What was the idea behind it?
Sander: Having worked in restaurants for many years, we - my wife & I - both knew we wanted to start our own business one day. We also knew, however, that we wanted to do something other than opening just another restaurant. We wanted our place to be a place to sell the quality food you can expect from a proper restaurant but that could be enjoyed in the privacy & comfort of your own home. So, selling restaurant-quality foods but with a quicker circulation of traffic than a restaurant. Foodwise, we were interested in more fresh vegetables & vegetarian dishes than could be found in the takeaway places back then - think pizza, Asian food (15 yrs ago), etc. So “Foodware – fine foods to go” was born.
gloobles: So then how would you describe Foodware to someone who’d never been before?
Sander: Foodware is a takeaway shop where you can assemble your own meal, choosing from freshly made, high quality dishes. Internationally orientated, wholesome and delicious. Although mainly focused on takeaway, there are a few seats for guests to enjoy their meals in store.
gloobles: We only wish there were more spots like Foodware! Have you always been into food?
Sander: Yes. For as long as I can remember, my father was cooking. Not a day went by without a stock simmering on the stove & an apple pie in the oven. I often eat soup for breakfast. Living near the Veluwe, he cooked lots of game dishes & other really classical dishes. His passion & appreciation of authentic & honest food really rubbed off on me. Therefore, from very early on, as soon as work was allowed for a young boy (about 14 years old.), I started helping out in a local restaurant as a dishwasher & worked my way up from there. The dynamics of working in a kitchen captivated me instantly. The energy, the pressure & efficiency really appealed to me. All this combined with a sharp sense of taste & smell made me want to explore everything there was to know about the restaurant business & cooking specifically.
gloobles:That's incredible you were drawn to the kitchen so early on. Seems like it was really the perfect career for you. What do you think sets Foodware apart from other places in Amsterdam?
Sander: I hope that it is the love & devotion we put into it. I think it is one thing to come up with a good & catchy concept, but it is a whole different thing to actually maintain the business. And for us, doing what we do for 15 years, staying focused on high quality while really enjoying everyday operations can only be done if you wholeheartedly love your job. And that is what, I hope, our guests can see & feel when they stop by our shop. That this is not some designed shop, executed by staff members where owners or founders are absent & only revenue counts. We are here, every day, with our hearts & minds in it, giving it everything.
gloobles: Love that so much! That's how we feel about gloobles, in fact. What do you think of the food scene in Amsterdam in general?
Sander: Lots of things are happening in Amsterdam. There are new places opening every day, amongst them lots of cowboys, adventurers & dreamers. It makes you wonder how many of those will survive. (COVID-19 notwithstanding!) But luckily there are also so many great places opening. Either way, it makes the food scene vibrant, inspiring & competitive. And that can only be a good thing.
gloobles: The more the merrier, we find. If you’re not grabbing a delicious dinner to go at Foodware, where do you like to eat in Amsterdam?
Sander: Currently, my absolute favourite is Bacalar, a recently (earlier this year) opened taqueria in Noord with the best Mexican street food I have ever tasted.
gloobles: We're right there with you! We can't get enough. How do you source your ingredients?
Sander: I work with a small group of suppliers who know me & my kitchen very well. They have always been able to help me out with what I require. Of course, I take into consideration what is in season & where it comes from. It goes without saying that local & seasonal produce is what you need to work with.
gloobles: It just ends up naturally tasting better. And you can't argue with taste. What’s your favourite takeaway spot in the world?
Sander: I wish I could say some cool place in an exotic faraway country, but honestly, my work has kept me in Amsterdam for most of my days & going away on holiday is just not something I do easily. But no complaining here. Amsterdam has so much to offer, so if I must choose a good takeaway spot it would be NENI. Originating in Tel Aviv with numerous restaurants around the world, they are now also based in Amsterdam. I love their Eastern Mediterranean dishes. They just never disappoint me.
gloobles: Adding that to our takeaway arsenal! Where do you see Foodware in 10 years?
Sander: Hopefully still going strong like we are doing now. Throughout the years, we learned through experience that it is truly quality over quantity. Expansion is something we’ve tried & come back from that made us appreciate that bigger isn’t always better. We cherish the “little” shop we are now & aim to stay like this for a very long time.
gloobles: We wouldn't change a thing! Ok, just one more question. If you could share a meal from Foodware with anyone in the world, who would it be & why? What would you be eating?
Sander: That would be Nigel Cabourn, a British fashion designer. I like the way his clothes are vintage-inspired & would love to talk “shop” with him. In my free time, I spend hours altering clothes, tuning them into my style, using whatever scraps I can find. I would serve him a nice fillet of North Sea cod, mashed potatoes with olive oil & baked plum tomatoes with fresh oregano & lemon.