Why We Love Akasha Richmond
Akasha is a traveler at heart. From the Himalayas to the jungles of Mexico, she transforms the flavors and ingredients into incredible dishes that ignite the tastebuds and the senses.
“Whenever I travel and I’m alone, I get up around 6am, and I go out to the local market just to really see the city when it’s waking up.”
“I love to let people do what they do best. It’s all about giving people the tools to let them create.”
You were the personal chef for Michael Jackson. Do you have a favorite memory from that time?
Thanksgiving all over the world was really fun. One year, we cooked Thanksgiving in Perth, Australia, for 200 people. The whole band and all the crew came to the kitchen, and everybody made their favorite dish and helped me cook. They didn't have turkey, so we roasted an emu.
Your menu at AKASHA celebrates global cuisine, with strong local and sustainable influences. How does that work in practice?
One of our best sellers is tandoori chicken wings. I had taken a trip to Nashville for a wedding and we had all these great chicken wings. So I came back and I said I really want to do something different. I don't want to do just blue cheese and hot sauce. Since I had studied a lot of Indian cooking, I came up with a 20-spice marinade. We smoke them, cool them, fry them to order and serve them with two kinds of chutney.
What's one reaction you want someone to have when they take their first bite of something in your restaurant?
I want them to really taste the freshness and the flavor because we buy a lot of vegetables from local farmers. You can really taste the difference in our tomatoes, carrots and even the lettuce.
On a trip to anywhere, what are the ingredients to a great itinerary?
Great hotels, great food, friendly people and markets. Lots of markets.
What gets you excited to visit a less traveled place like Morocco?
Part of what fascinates me and gets me excited is getting quite a bit out of my comfort zone with all the busyness, the smells, the sights and the colors.
When you’re not in a kitchen, what’s your happy place?
Travel. Traveling to anywhere.
Explore Upcoming Trips with our Tastemakers
Provence with Ryan Ratino
From buzzing cities to bucolic countryside, this is an immersive expedition into the heart of Provence, one of France's most storied food and wine regions. Join us for a true feast for the senses alongside Ryan Ratino.
Peru with Traci Des Jardins & Enrique Sanchez
The best of Peru with Traci Des Jardins & Enrique Sanchez. Ancient Incan culture, Michelin-star cuisine and colorful food markets, hikes through Sacred Valley villages up into the sheer audaciousness of Machu Picchu. This is the Peru of your dreams.
Oaxaca with Suzanne Tracht
Explore food, art and culture with Chef Suzanne Tracht. Oaxaca packs in so much of the complex, fascinating culture of Mexico and we'll experience it all—at artist studios, ancient ruins, local markets, street-food stands and hacienda hotels.