ComArtSci graduate spices up her career with book on Amsterdam restaurants

Jessica Lipowski graduated from MSU in 2010, majoring in journalism from ComArtSci. She made the ultimate post-grad decision by moving to Amsterdam. Through the ups and downs of adjusting, she found her place in the city, enthralled with the charm of Amsterdam culture, the Dutch language, and the 180 nationalities that call the city home.

In May 2016, Lipowski released Flavors of Life, a book exploring the lives and stories of restaurant owners in Amsterdam. Since its publication, her book has been picked up by a few bookstores in Amsterdam and received exceptionally positive reviews.

Lipowki’s inspiration for Flavors of Life came from her curiosity about what really goes into making a restaurant, particularly in Amsterdam. When she read restaurant reviews and articles, she often noticed one element missing: the owner, the person who created it all. Her book seeks to answer and explore questions about the owner, the menu, and the motivation for opening a restaurant.

Lipowski conducted in-person interviews with the restaurant owners, later transcribing them as a basis for writing. After rounds of editing, the end product was in clear sight. Lipowski admits her greatest challenge was her lack of experience in tackling such a big project.

“Doing the project on my own initiative, I relied on my network - both personal and professional - for help, advice, and insight,” she said.

Lipowski reflected on her time at MSU, saying she wouldn’t be where she is today without MSU or ComArtSci’s School of Journalism. She admits that her ability to create the book was all made possible because of what she learned in college.

“My time at MSU prepared me to succeed in the ‘real world’,” she says.

Lipowski says her ComArtSci education was made unique by professors who were often there to listen and provide motivation. She said Howard Bossen inspired her to aim high in life, Jane Briggs-Bunting showed her the value of hard work, and Geri Zeldes opened her eyes to the documentary world. She added that Bonnie Bucqueroux introduced her to the world of multimedia, as well as ignited a passion to dig deeper and find the story.

“The entire process of writing a book is a culmination of my studies, work experience, and own dedication and passion,” said Lipowski.

The new author looks forward knowing that writing will always be a part of her life, no matter her location or status. Her passion for writing gravitates toward telling people’s stories, or as Lipowski says, “human-interest pieces.”

Although she has no formal plans for any upcoming books, Lipowski says she is passionate about food, culture, and travel and imagines those themes will continue to pop-up in her writing.

Her advice to those aspiring to someday write a book is to write. “Although it’s simple, it’s the first step. Just do it; a book doesn’t write itself,” Lipowski said.