If you ask him what he does here at Holmen Lofoten, head chef Rich will grin and reply “I just make things hotter.” Of course, he’s being coy! His easy charm and self-deprecating humour belie a heavyweight talent in the kitchen, forged over twenty years in the hospitality industry. Rich takes great pride in the ethos that he’s developed towards food over the course of his career — an approach that emphasises the importance of local, organic produce and foraged ingredients. Rich uses his encyclopedic knowledge of local flora and fauna to create dishes that embody the essence of a place in a way that transcends taste. We remember when he excitedly served us a bite of cured trout with green juniper and pine, and said “close your eyes – doesn’t this make you think of the lake in Sørvågen?” We have to admit – it absolutely did!
As soon as he arrived here, Rich fell in love with Lofoten, and has spent the last year getting “tucked in”, as he puts it. From working with the local marine science consultancy to volunteering at an organic farm, from hosting workshops on foraging and fermentation to joining a fishing expedition during Skrei season, Rich has dived into his new community with both feet. This, coupled with his warm personality and joie de vivre, have made him a popular figure around the islands. Rich is a pleasure-seeker that strives for excellence, and loves to share the results with friends old and new. His mind is always busy working on how this or that dish can be improved, how he can push himself just one step further. Outside of work he’s just as much of a perfectionist, and happens to be a gifted pianist, so if he’s not in the kitchen, you might catch him playing with the local band.
“When I first came to Lofoten it was exhilarating, but every step felt like a step into the unknown. Now I’ve been here for almost a year, I know where to go to get the best produce, I know the best foraging spots, the best fishing spots, and I’ve gotten to know the amazing people that live here. I’m moving forward into my second year with confidence, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.”