Akasha Richmond’s dedication to health and ingredients started during her time in India and extended while she was working at The Golden Temple, a vegetarian restaurant where she discovered her passion for cooking. At the time, many celebrities frequently dined at The Golden Temple, which lead to being a personal chef for many bold-faced names in Hollywood, including Michael Jackson, who essentially launched her career as a professional chef.
Richmond has a rich knowledge of the curative effect of ingredients and as a personal chef in her early career, Richmond was called upon time and again to bring health and wellness into people’s diets. At the time she says, “No one was really doing it - making really delicious food that was healthy, sometimes vegetarian, but focused on healing the body.” She published her first cookbook, Hollywood Dish, in 2006.
Her popularity as a sought-after caterer in Los Angeles led to the opening of her flagship AKASHA restaurant. It was there that she first experienced the conflict with men in the kitchen, which was shocking mostly because she was the executive chef/owner. It took her years to get the right team, but talent shines through and creativity has won out.
Akasha, with the success of her first restaurant and the opening of Sāmbār in May, is dedicated to balance in her life and incorporates exercise - swimming, pilates, walking - into her day. She mentioned what comes up again and again - that drinking for most chefs is what can really cause havoc in their lives - and really understands from her early days the importance of a positive rhythm in your life.
Sāmbār opened next door to AKASHA in May and has reimagined what Indian food can be. Even the bar program incorporates spices like turmeric in an inventive way. “There’s a very happening food scene in India,” she says, “I’ve had my mind set on opening a restaurant with an ‘Indianish’ menu that incorporates Indian spices and flavors from India as well as utilizing the abundance of fruits and vegetables grown in California.”
It’s food inspired by home-cooked meals served by Indian families with a nod to street food - as well as those dishes that might be served at an ashram. Delicious and inventive….and super healthy.
Akasha gives generously of her time and talent to organizations including Share Our Strength, Environmental Media Association, Common Threads and Pediatric Aids.