Mother’s Day is almost upon us, and, as we prepare to give all the moms all the love on Sunday, we caught up with a couple of prominent chefs to tell us how the mothers in their lives influenced their cooking and their love of creating memorable experiences around the table. Watch this charming video courtesy of chef Curtis Stone from Gwen in Los Angeles, and read on for chef Akasha Richmond‘s revelations about the dishes at AKASHA in Culver City that her mother inspired.
Akasha Richmond: Yes, my mom was a great cook and baker, and she made everything from scratch and made dinner every night.
OT: Did your mom influence the cuisine you serve at your restaurant(s)?
AR: AKASHA is new American, so some of it, yes. When we do Jewish holidays, many of the recipes are renditions of family recipes — my mom’s and grandmothers’.
OT: Is there a favorite dish your mom got you into? Is it something you prepared at home or enjoyed at a restaurant?
AR: My mother and I share a serious love of stone crabs. I grew up in Miami, and our family used to frequent Joe’s Stone Crab. We love eating crabs and Lyonnaise potatoes at Joe’s.
OT: Do you have a dish on your menu that came from your mom or was inspired by her?
AR: We have a few things — our granola and my mom’s sour cream coffee cake, which are both available in our bakery daily. My mom loved to bake. When we came home from school, there was always something — cakes, cookies, bread, etcetera. Then my mom became a bit of a health nut, and she started making granola, whole wheat bread, yogurt, and so on. At first, we hated it, but later we realized how good everything was.
OT: What role did food play in your family when you were growing up?
AR: My mother and both grandmothers were excellent cooks. My mother’s mother was born in Iowa and she was a real American cook — holiday dinners, cakes, pies, fudge, donuts, cheesecake, candy, cinnamon rolls, etcetera. She had her own garden and canned everything. She was really good. My other grandmother was Russian and was one of the most talented cooks I have ever run across. She excelled at Russian-Jewish cooking — everything from knishes and kreplach to challah, chopped liver, gefilte fish, and more. I have never tasted better food than hers, anywhere, ever.
I think my family’s love of food and cooking is what inspired me to become a chef, and I especially love catering parties for holidays and special events. We do all the holidays at AKASHA, and my customers tell me the food tastes like their grandmothers’.
Photo credits: Video courtesy of Gwen; Isaac White (Akasha Richmond).