Chef Richard: Fooducopia’s master food curator
Here at Fooducopia we not only work together, but we consider each other family. We are excited to launch Fooducopia Family: Take Five! This series, which will frequently appear on our blog, will spotlight the folks who make up Fooducopia. We caught up with Executive Chef Richard Glover and pulled him away from his drawing board (i.e. the kitchen) to chat about what drives him to make Fooducopia a dining experience not to be forgotten.
What is your earliest kitchen memory?
I grew up in Botswana and when I was about six years old I remember coming home from boarding school and my mom and I would bake a cake. It is such a fond memory because I remember I would lick the beaters and stick my fingers in the bowl. Even as a kid, food was such an integral part of my childhood. My mom cooked everything from scratch, which made everything she made taste really good. These memories take me back to an innocent, happy time. My mom didn’t skimp on ingredients either, so maybe that is the reason why I like the quote: “Never trust a skinny chef.”
How did your career begin?
After college, I was working in a job I despised. I was a chemical engineer working in a lab doing research and development. During my time in the lab, I realized that this was not what I wanted to do for the next 40 years. In fact, I would sit and daydream about doing anything else. I wanted to go and do something I enjoyed. Food was that joy—the art, history, and science behind it was fascinating to me. And to be honest, once I embraced this new passion for food my life became enjoyable. So, I decided I was going to go to culinary school and do what I wanted to do—become a chef.
Fooducopia prides itself with giving the customer honest and local good food, explain why this is so important in your kitchen?
Integrity means a lot in any kitchen. It spans many aspects: whether it be the employees we have at Fooducopia but, most importantly, the food I’m serving. Having some of those morals gives us the ability to be more transparent and honest when picking our vendors, and more importantly supporting small businesses. Anyone can serve lamb or bison on their menu, but it means the world to me that we can use local ranches. The truth is, you can taste the difference.
How would you describe your cuisine and cooking philosophy?
My cuisine and how I cook food in the restaurant is how I would cook at home. If I am going to get an organic heirloom carrot that mother nature has handed to me perfectly, my job is to help reflect the true essence of it and have the customers experience it with us. As for a philosophy, I love where the future of food is going, but I am more intrigued by the people who have done it before me. The history and tradition, the dedication and the passion those chefs of old and our for-fathers in this industry set forth inspire me. Whether it is how to make your mother’s sauces or something as satisfying as making a soup stock is a lot of what my philosophy has become and drives me. I want to be a curator of the art of cooking—the old school ways—to remember the past.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Give us an example of a Valentine menu you would prepare?
If my wife came in for dinner, hopefully not with another guy, I would take her on a whirlwind adventure of her taste buds. I would start with a nice glass of champagne to set the mood. I would then go on to a fun little appetizer that opened up the pallet and taste buds—but wasn’t going to be too filling and take away from what is about to come. As for entrees, I know my wife really well. She would either get something either slow cooked or braised or a rack of lamb from Colorado. As for me, steak baby. A nice dry aged bone in ribeye with a good French cab would put me in a very happy mood. As for desserts, I would do a nice charcuterie and finish it off with a nice Tawny Port. The only problem is for the last nine years I have worked Valentine’s Day, so my wife and I always celebrate on the 15th.
What is your comfort food?
I have three things that I always fall back on when I need a pick me up through food. The first is Vietnamese Pho. The second is some good ol’ fried chicken and the third is a braai. (What is a braai?) A braai is a South African cookout using many different meats, vegetables and sausages. It is all done using either coals or real wood. There is even a national braai day in South Africa. If BBQ is an American pastime, braai in South Africa is a religion. You get to hang out with friends all day, stoking the fire, drinking beer, and watching and smelling meat cooking slowly over open coals.
What’s your favorite music to cook by?
There is only one. My greatest band of all time, the late great Queen. Why? Classic songs with an upbeat tempo that everyone knows the words.
What do you like to do when you’re not cooking?
Hang out at my farm because it is therapeutic. I get to play in the greenhouse. I get some ‘lovins’ from my horses. I have philosophic debates with the chickens and think about how I am going to cook the ducks. If I am not at the farm, my other true passion is skiing. The freedom, the adrenaline, and being out at nature at 14,000 feet, especially being from a country that does not get snow, gives me the ability to forget all my worries and feel free.
If you could go anywhere in the world and have someone else cook for you, where would you land and who would cook for you?
I have a long list of places that I want to go and eat at. The two that come to mind— the first being pho being one of my comfort foods, I would love to go to Vietnam and have some chef, whose name I can’t pronounce, cook me the best bowl of noodles I have ever had. As a chef, I want to go to France. I want to be able to eat croissants and baguettes at little cafes on the corner to hopefully get a true understanding where most of our modern day techniques have come from.
Thank you Chef Richard!
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