As a child I was interested in food but it wasn’t my main focus. I did like to do tests with food though to find out about the behavior of our dinner guests. My real interest in food started at the Design Academy Eindhoven where I started to understand how food has such a powerful emotional influence and how it can be used in rituals. I remember that as a child I was a bit bored by the food and bland flavors of Dutch cooking. Traveling to me meant getting in touch with new flavor experiences and understanding culture trough the tongue. I feel grateful that my work takes me all over the world to experience a different place and connect trough food.
Image by Ilja Keizer
After graduating at the Design Academy in 2000 I didn’t instantly realize that food would be my focus. I worked for a year at Hella Jongerius‘ studio and tried to shape my professional life. Next to all my endeavours I would always work on food related projects. In 2004 I started a restaurant-studio together with Piet Hekker called PROEF in Rotterdam and expanded in 2005 to Amsterdam for another PROEF at the Westergasfabriek. In 2008 I published my EAT LOVE book. In 2009 the Rotterdam PROEF was sold and became PICKNICK. In 2011 the second PROEF was sold so I could focus on my design work. In 2014 I became head of the new FOOD NON FOOD department at the Design Academy Eindhoven. In 2016 I initiated the Dutch institute of Food&Design.
Image by Heidi de Gier
Deciding to step into a new path of a design field that didn’t exist at the time might seem a courageous thing to do. But I have to say it was just the thing I liked most (and I am a lousy product designer so I had few other options). Still I have to be honest that I find it sometimes difficult to explain to people what it is I do. 10 years ago people would mainly think I would design new shapes of food or do food styling. Now I see that more and more people understand the urgency and see the potential of food and design. Having had two restaurants taught me a lot about human behavior, about entrepreneurship and about the possibilities and boundaries of a small company. I still feel I am learning and working in this field fuels me with excitement every day.
Image by Annie Collinge