What do you get when talented photographer and food stylist, Marieke Verdenius, meets world-travelled storyteller, Margot van der Krogt, via Instagram? In this case, the social media platform proved a perfect setting for a friendship and partnership that evolved into founding The Gatherists – a series of informal, curated get-togethers for creative people held over homemade cake and slow drip coffee in beautiful venues across Amsterdam. This thoughtful venture was so successful that through The Gatherists, Verdenius and van der Krogt met graphic designer/art director Fanny Olsthoorn and food enthusiast/chef Martina Bianchini, founders of culinary gatherings Café Spontane, and combined initiatives to form a new series called Nourish. These four unquestionably talented women are now hosting Nourish gatherings in an exquisitely minimal photography studio in the heart of Amsterdam, inviting creatives to their table to connect over bright, seasonal courses, sweet treats and inspiring, intimate conversation.
We were fortunate enough to sit down with Marieke Verdenius and Margot van der Krogt to discuss their chance meeting, the origin of The Gatherists concept and of course, all the beautiful details of the Nourish series.
About the Founders
Marieke Verdenius works as a photographer and (food) stylist. She studied fashion, marketing and art direction but was always drawn to cooking and photography. She even considered opening her own bakery after finishing her studies. But when her career took a turn towards editorial work and she started working for a culinary magazine, everything fell into place. Today Marie works freelance for (international) magazines and brands. She also loves to organize workshops in styling and photography at her studio, Atelier Verdenius, in the center of Amsterdam. It was here that she founded The Gatherists with Margot van der Krogt in the summer of 2017, as a way to connect like-minded creatives over a cup of slow drip coffee and a slice of homemade cake.
Margot van der Krogt is a world-travelled storyteller currently living between Amsterdam and London. Growing up, she moved every few years and was exposed to many countries, cultures and customs at a young age. Her love for writing and photography was born out of these early travels and she has combined these passions in her work as a freelance content creator. All the while, Margot has facilitated platforms where others can share their stories, from The Makers Amsterdam to CreativeMornings Amsterdam to most recently The Gatherists (with Marieke Verdenius). She documents her daily adventures on Instagram, focusing on urban greenery and finding peace and quiet in the busy city.
Since June 2017, we - Margot & Marie – have been organizing regular get-togethers for creative people in beautiful venues across Amsterdam. We invite 10 to 12 guests to share what they’re working on, what inspires them, and even what they’re struggling with. There’s no set program, no hidden agenda, no end goal. We just wanted to create an informal setting for people to get to know one and hopefully inspire one another in a beautiful setting, fueled by intimate conservations, homemade cakes and slow-drip coffee.
The Gatherists was initiated with the idea of bringing creative people together in a casual way over coffee and cake. Working as freelance creatives, we felt like we were missing an opportunity to meet the many people whose work we had seen, read about and admired online and off. While social media channels like Instagram are great sources of inspiration (we, too, met via the app) nothing can compare to face-to-face interactions.
Through The Gatherists we were fortunate enough to meet graphic designer/art direction Fanny Olsthoorn and food enthusiast/chef Martina Bianchini, founders of the culinary gatherings Café Spontane. We attended several of their events and absolutely loved their attention to detail – and the beautiful dishes. Soon after we played around with the idea of organizing a gathering of sorts, merging our two initiatives and bringing all our diverse talents together. We came up with the name ‘Nourish’ quite quickly – to us, it represents both enrichment through meeting new people and coming up with new ideas as well as the nourishment in terms of beautiful food. We envisioned a series of intimate gatherings that comfort our bodies and enrich our minds.
The four of us share a love for minimal design. We pay attention to the details – nothing goes unnoticed, from the menu creation to the design of the 12-page newspaper we created to celebrate our collaboration as Nourish. When we settled on the venue, a beautiful photography studio in the center of Amsterdam, everything else just fell into place. We kept the decoration of the space to a minimum, creating a platform for both the dishes we had prepared and for our guests to feel comfortable in their surroundings.
The selected a variety of dishes that combined earthy tones with fresh and zingy flavours for spring. We welcomed our guests with a ricotta, zucchini and chives cake and a rhubarb fizz with ginger and rosemary. Our starter was a white beetroot salad with grapefruit, tarragon and crème fraiche. Then we served a beautiful bright green watercress soup with ras-el-hanout cream. Our main was a Danish-inspired open-faced rye sandwich topped with a herb spread, sliced fennel and old Dutch cheese shavings. For dessert, we treated our guests to a fluffy lemon drizzle cake sprinkled with thyme and pistachio nuts. To end our afternoon, we invited all our guests to get up out of their chairs and join us for coffee and tea and homemade salty caramels (which we also packaged and gave to each guest as a small ‘thank you’ gift).
We were fortunate enough to welcome a great mix of creative people, many of whom attended Nourish alone, embracing the ‘unknown’ and eager to meet new people. Some people we knew, others we didn’t. Some attended as friends others as families on Easter Sunday. But you could say everyone shared a love for good food, an appreciation for beautiful spaces and an openness to new connections, conversations and inspirations.
If you’re interested in attending an event in the future, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And feel free to follow along on Instagram and check out the hashtag #thegatherists.
Photography by Marieke Verdenius and Margot van der Krogt of The Gatherists
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