Akasha Richmond has been a personal chef to the stars and a celebrated restaurateur with her eponymous Akasha in Culver City. But when she first came to L.A., it was to study yoga, not food preparation. She stumbled into cooking for a yogi-owned vegetarian restaurant and found her passion.
Richmond’s cooking is still intertwined with wellness. She crafts seasonal, veggie-driven New American dishes at Akasha, and her upcoming Sāmbār (opening May in Culver City) will offer a fresh California take on Indian cuisine, inspired by her travels to the region. Read on to find out how this multitasking globetrotter eats clean and goes green.
What are your healthy eating go-to’s?
I have a cold-pressed green juice daily (from Akasha) and eat a big salad at lunch.
How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the restaurant industry?
I am really careful about what I eat at work. I don’t eat cookies or a lot of pastry. I prefer a piece of dark chocolate … but can’t resist a really good pie.
How do you incorporate sustainability into your life at home and in the restaurants?
At the restaurants, all ingredients are chosen based on their sustainability: organic grains, antibiotic- and hormone-free animal proteins, clean fish and no GMOs. We shop the local farmers markets for organic and unsprayed produce. We use green paper products. Personally, I use only green makeup, soaps and shampoos.
How has your healthy lifestyle rubbed off on the menu at Akasha or the upcoming Sāmbār?
At Akasha, we have lots of healthy options, like salads and quinoa. We also have burgers and macaroni and cheese, but we use good ingredients in these dishes. I have been cooking Indian food ever since I started studying yoga and fell in love with sambar, the soupy dal made from split pigeon peas. I also love Indian masalas.
How do you stay fit?
I do some kind of exercise 5 to 6 days a week. Right now it’s a lot of walking and not as much yoga as I used to do. Sāmbār is my main meditation right now!
9543 Culver Blvd., Culver City