Vapiano in Almere - Get the low-down with Amber
General Manager Amber Hoogeveen and her team have just started running the new Vapiano restaurant in Almere, near Amsterdam. So, what is it like to make fresh pasta and pizza in this city on the water and why should you plan a trip there?
Almere City Mall, a shopper’s paradise, is the neighbourhood for the brand new restaurant which is now our ninth in the Netherlands. 230 seats await you all set in a beautiful light and spacious setting. If you’re looking for space to get comfortable, check out the gallery, from here you’ll have a great view through the glass façade which has a height of 11m.
Amber, thank you for taking the time to tell our readers about Vapiano in Almere. First of all, could you please describe your job and a typical day here in the restaurant?
There is no such thing as a typical day here at Vapiano – and that’s why I love my job. There’s never a dull moment. But sure, there are some daily chores. We start our day with making our fresh pasta and prepare the vegetables and the sauces. I love it when my favourite smell comes wafting out of the kitchen – then I know that the ‘death by chocolate’ cake is being made! It’s truly a cake to die for - hence the name. Actually, let me just check if there is still some left …
How is it going with the new team?
When we’ve finished all of the preparation, we start every day with the whole team gathered around the olive tree. We discuss new ideas or just chat, like you would do at home with your family. We’ve only known each other for about two months but have already developed a very special team spirit. We also have our own little jokes and rituals, for example our mascot Moonie, a cuddly toy monkey, is always part of the team meeting. We got him for the opening and now he is part of Vapiano Almere. And so are the window cleaners – they have become our good friends, because we see quite a lot of them due to the huge glass façade that makes this place so special. Waving to them whilst preparing fresh pasta is a signature move here in Almere
Almere is Vapiano number nine in the Netherlands – why do you think it has been so successful?
That’s easy: the Dutch just love good food – especially Italian! We don’t necessarily need to have a hot lunch but prefer to enjoy a hot meal after work instead. And being able to create your favourite dish with all the ingredients you like and watch it being prepared for you feels like home cooking only better: you don’t have to do the dishes!
Almere is situated by the water, but does it mean there is also beach?
Man, I want to go to the beach so bad – oh no wait, it’s minus two outside. Ok. Yes, Almere definitely has a beach, and not a small one – albeit manmade. That’s because the province of Flevoland didn’t even exist 50 years ago! It’s Europe’s largest catamaran beach and a perfect place to go sailing.
What’s special about the city of Almere, and what are the must-sees for visitors?
Almere is a relatively new city in the Netherlands. Therefore, you won’t see a lot of historical monuments. However, the city centre of Almere has been chosen ‘best city for shopping in 2017’ so you know what to do…. And if you fancy watersports, you should come here as well. It’s an ideal place if you like waterskiing, sailing, flyboarding,… you name it. Here you can do it all.
What is your favorite dish at Vapiano and why?
There have been a few in fact…five years ago I started working at Vapiano in The Hague and my favorite pasta was the Pomodorro e Mozarella. After a year or so, I tried the Aglio e Olio and I was hooked for years. Now I have to admit that I have a new favorite dish – the Pasta Reef ’n Beef with extra beef and prawns, chili and garlic and my favorite campanelle pasta. And I always have a Vapiano ice tea peach vanilla with it.
I know all of my friends’ favourite dishes too. When I come here in my spare time with them, I always order for them. And for dessert it’s their turn, they make sure I get my cheesecake with strawberry sauce, because I just have to finish my meal at Vapiano with it.
Almere: Architecture and Nature
Almere is situated opposite the capital Amsterdam on the Ijsselmeer-Polder. Polders are the dry pieces of marsh land which were reclaimed from the sea and are still surrounded by water.
The city was only founded in the 1970s and has been growing ever since.
So, if you’re into modern architecture and urban planning, this is the place to be.
Nature lovers will be equally happy though, because right next to the modern city you can find 5600 hectares of pure nature, the Oostvaardersplassen.
Not only can you watch the many birds, you might also be lucky and catch a flock of wild horses, cattle or deer which have been reintroduced here and now live wild and free.
A trip to Almere is a good idea for so many reasons. Coming back from the beach or loaded with shopping bags, bird watching or architectural photo safari – you know where to find freshly made pasta and pizza.
Amber and her team are looking forward to welcoming you at Vapiano Almere!