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At restaurant Senses in Amsterdam, Kyra van der Meer is constantly striving to deliver top-notch service to her guests. Everything should work according to plan 100 percent of the time, like a well-oiled machine. Each team member must fulfill their task since most guests opt for a 6- to 7-course menu, as well as 3 pre-amuses and a dessert. Kyra gives her guests an outstanding hospitality experience by making sure everything runs smoothly.
Kyra, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I grew up in a family that worked in catering, so I had part-time jobs in the hospitality industry very early on. When I was 6 years old, my parents became the owners of The Albus Hotel in Amsterdam. I started washing dishes here when I was 14, after which I became a breakfast employee. Next, I was allowed to help with lunch and eventually progressed to the evenings when I was the right age. The most obvious study for me was the Hotel Management School in Amsterdam. During my training I had 3 wonderful internships. First in Almere at Brasserie Bakboord. This was followed by an internship at the Okura Hotel, restaurant Serre, and the L'Europe Hotel where I mainly worked in the front office. After I completed my studies I started working full-time at Senses restaurant. First as a waiter, then as a supervisor, and finally as a manager. After this, I assisted for another year in setting up an art and music café in Almere. Eventually, I found my way back to Amsterdam and started working full-time in the family business. At the moment I balance my time between The Albus Hotel, restaurant Senses, and Brasserie Bakboord, as an assistant director of these three amazing companies.
Working with an ambitious team, in a beautiful business with happy guests: this is what makes me love the hospitality industry.
What do you love most about working in hospitality?
As a young child and to the present day, I have always been motivated to work in hospitality because I want our guests to have the best experience possible. The guests come to us to have fun and have certain expectations. If I succeed in exceeding their expectations, I get so much satisfaction from it. Working with an ambitious team, in a beautiful business with happy guests: this is what makes me love the hospitality industry.
What has been the biggest change in the gastronomic industry since you started your career?
Like everything around us, the world is becoming more and more digital. This has its pros and cons. The biggest drawback is that guests can now choose to not discuss feedback with you personally, but instead share their feedback on larger platforms on the internet. This can be disadvantageous because there are no restrictions or control over what is written. On the other hand, it opens the doors for introverted guests who now take the opportunity to share their experience with you. We now know more about our guests than ever before, what their needs and wishes are. In addition, your ranking on review websites, the look and feel of your website and your social media presence are now one of the most important marketing points. In my view, the digital world has been a huge source of change and growth in my career.
Which cuisine is your favourite and why?
We serve a 4- to 7-course chef's menu which always completely surprises our guests. My favourite course is the 3 appetizers that guests receive with their aperitif. It is a prelude of different tastes where we place an expectation on the guest. Their reaction is always fantastic and the guest becomes even more excited to taste the other courses. You kick off with a bang, and after this the trick is to outdo yourself again with each upcoming course.
What is your favourite dish on your restaurant’s menu?
At restaurant Senses, we do not have specific dishes because we do not have an à la carte menu. My favorite choice is the Ultimate Senses Experience. This is the 7-course chef's menu with wine pairing, champagne, water service, coffee or tea and sweets. The name says it all, it’s an ultimate Senses experience with all the bells and whistles. Throughout the 7-course menu, a variety of amuse-bouches are placed before, during, and after each course to stimulate the senses. Our current kitchen team is experimenting more and more with relatively unknown Asian herbs, spices and preparations. As a result, our dishes are nicely balanced. Complemented by surprising but also very classic wines, each course creates a fantastic harmony between food and beverage.
What’s one thing in the area that guests have to see or do?
We are located in the heart of bustling Amsterdam, surrounded by the canals, museums, shopping streets, historic buildings and cultural highlights. Amsterdam is really bursting with beautiful places. One thing I advise our guests is to take the bicycle taxi when they go back to their car or place to stay. The bicycle taxi allows you to see Amsterdam differently and enables you to enjoy the afterglow of the evening.
Do you have a vision of how you approach the gastronomy business?
Our goal at Senses restaurant is to see guests enjoying themselves and stimulating all of their senses during their visit, delivering one ultimate experience.
Thank you, Kyra.
Book your table at restaurant Senses
Experience the modern Dutch cuisine of manager Kyra van der Meer. Simply book your dinner at restaurant Senses in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, here with us – it’s quick and easy.