Akasha Richmond, chef-owner at Akasha and AR Cucina, was once a caterer with an impressive client list. She recently shared with us why Thanksgiving always makes her think of touring with Michael Jackson.
“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Maybe because it’s all about food, family and friends, and not a religious day. I started cooking large Thanksgiving dinners for friends in college, and after I started working as a private chef and a caterer, it has always been a busy day for me.
“Some of my favorite times were cooking for Michael Jackson on Thanksgiving. It was one of his favorite meals. Sometimes he requested it when it wasn’t even the holiday, so while on tour with him, I would always bring a few cans of cranberries in my traveling pantry.
“I did two Thanksgiving Day dinners for Michael while in Australia. One year we were in Perth, and I cooked with some of the band and a few others for the entire crew (over 200 people). Everyone made his or her family’s favorite dish. We couldn’t get turkey, so we roasted emu, and we had to have cases of canned cranberries flown in from the States. The concert promoter offered to do all the decor for our big dinner, and to my shock and dismay, they decorated the ballroom at the hotel in red, white and blue! I will never forget it!
My tradition: I order sushi for all my hardworking chefs the night before the holiday and we play Michael Jackson music in the kitchen all day long. I always think of him on Thanksgiving.”
Source: LA Weekly
Another endearing tale of Michael involving Thanksgiving (the traditional food aspect and family vibe of it) is told by Brad Sundberg, one of Michael's engineers and technical directors. During the recording of the Bad and Dangerous albums, Michael and his team would stop all work for an hour or two and would have what was called 'Family Friday'—in which they all gathered for a large meal. The meal was full of country, Thanksgiving fixings—including "Banana Pudding"—one of Michael's favorite desserts. Here's a video of Michael getting down on some treats during a "Family Friday!" To read more of Brad's memories about Family Friday, please see the following link: https://www.facebook.com/128278317346071/posts/357777397729494/
And lastly, here is a video of Jennifer Love Hewitt telling a sweet story about what it was like to work with Michael—and how he donated a large sum of money to a charity she attended. She also shares Michael's advice on the importance of giving—and being invited to a Thanksgiving party he hosted at Neverland Ranch. I love her story and how excited she is when telling it. It's always lovely to hear such sweet stories that speak volumes about Michael's nature of kindness, giving, and humanitarianism.
Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!