Dreams On Plates and Sustainable New Orleans Style Cooking: Food Influencer Richard McCormick

Richard McCormick – recently chosen as one of the biggest trendsetters in Finland by the local business press – is a chef, restaurateur, food stylist, and the author of many inspirational cooking books. With a focus on gluten-free, vegetarian, “raw-ish”, and natural foods gaining momentum all around the country, his restaurants Sandro, Date + Kale, The Cock, and Holiday, as well as his food trucks, serve fresh and healthy food that mix foodie inspiration from all over the world. We interviewed Richard for his take on the concepts born out of his captive creativity. 

Words: Meri Frig

Food Influencer: Richard McCormick #Savant

What dish would you recommend for a slow foodie?

During the summer season, we get locally grown organic Kale, which really makes our Kale Bowl a perfect choice - also the quinoa in the dish is local and organically grown.

You create new fresh and healthy flavours constantly. Could you share with us any new discoveries in this area? What are your own favourites?

Having grown up in Southeast Asia and then being fortunate enough to be constantly travelling has given me the inspiration to create fun tasty twists to many dishes. Flamed salmon poke bowl has been a big hit at Holiday Bar in Helsinki, and is definitely one of my favourite dishes at the moment. 

Date + Kale, Photo: Mikko Juntura. 

Date + Kale, Photo: Mikko Juntura. 

Could you expand on what you (as in, Date + Kale) mean with "Let’s eat dreams"?

Date + Kale, photo: Mikko Juntura.

Date + Kale, photo: Mikko Juntura.

With this we mean that food doesn’t always have to be just food: it can be a fantasy adventure on a plate, and dreams can be tasty little snacks. 

What are the guiding values behind your work?

Smiles from satisfied customers are the best gifts for the chef!

You are known for healthy and fresh fusion kitchen. Do you think fusion and healthiness go particularly well together?

I think fusion and happiness go very well together. Rules and strict kitchens leave little room for creativity and experiments.

The beetroot smoked veef salad by 'Follow That Truck' was chosen as the winner of the best sustainable meal contest in Flow Festival Helsinki. What will you offer this August?

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Louisiana, New Orleans, and am pretty excited by the rich and vibrant food culture - so we will definitely see some New Orleans style cooking at Flow Festival this year.

"Having grown up in Southeast Asia and then being fortunate enough to be constantly travelling has given me the inspiration to create fun tasty twists to many dishes."

Richard McCormick, photo: Mikko Juntura.

Richard McCormick, photo: Mikko Juntura.

What, or who, inspires you the most right now?

I am inspired by flowers, cartoons, travelling, pretty buildings; soft, washed-out colours, the elderly, keeping yourself open for information and processing that information into inspiring restaurants or foods.

"Food doesn’t always have to be just food: it can be a fantasy adventure on a plate, and dreams can be tasty little snacks."

Sandro, photo: Mikko Juntura.

Sandro, photo: Mikko Juntura.

Do you think plant-based diets will become more popular in the future?

Yes, when people start eating more plant-based foods and are introduced to plant proteins, nuts and seeds, they naturally start to crave less meat.

What are the best ways to spread the message about healthy and plant-rich, sustainable foods?

Good question, if you have the answer please let me know.