Acclaimed Chef to Present BHM Lunch


Chef Olrie Roberts will visit RMHS on February 15.

D-Block Journalism Students

In celebration of Black History Month Chef Olrie Roberts, the owner of an acclaimed Boston restaurant, will be coming to the RMHS Cafeteria on February 15th to cook traditional Caribbean dishes for students at lunch.

A number of administrators and leaders at RMHS have been collaborating on a plan to bring Chef Roberts to RMHS. Food Service Director  Ms. Franzetti and RPS METCO Director Mr. Martin are two of the leaders who have arranged for Chef Roberts to present a sample of items from his Hyde Park-based restaurant Zaz.  

In an email sent to Principal Tracey on Monday, February 6th, Ms. Franzetti explained, “Olrie Roberts will be joining the Food service Team and student Volunteers to collaborate on a menu selection that features traditional Caribbean Cuisine on the main serving line.” She also explained that there will be “an additional tasting station to offer students the opportunity to taste some of the restaurant’s featured items.” Students can expect items like Jerk Chicken, Jerk Tofu, Sweet Plantains, Jasmine Rice, and Haitian Rice and Beans.

Mr. Martin is very eager to increase diversity and representation at RMHS. When interviewed about the upcoming event, he explained, “It brings diversity with food–our different cultures with food–and everyone can relate and enjoy food together in all different cultures. So this is a way to celebrate the diversity from a Black restaurant.” 

When asked how he thought this event will impact the RMHS community, Mr. Martin said, “I think number one, we get to enjoy some good food, from a top restaurant in Boston. It brings the diversity and culture… and it brings everyone together, and the food puts everybody at the table together.”

Sophomore Celeste Damon-Bach and Junior Astrid Puff are the founders of the cooking club at RMHS and are hoping to work with Chef Roberts by offering help with the cooking.  Celeste is optimistic about this special lunch program:  “I feel like people are going to feel better represented, and I think that overall it’s just going to be beneficial for the whole school.”

RMHS is fortunate enough to welcome Chef Roberts to the cafeteria, as he will give an authentic view to the importance of culture.  According to his biography on the ZaZ website, Roberts grew up in Grenada with his grandparents but moved to the United States during his teen years. He originally wanted to pursue a career in welding, although he was drawn to the idea of culinary as he has a strong passion for food and his background. Before opening his own restaurant, Roberts attended Boston’s Le Cordon Bleu and also interned in Spain, gaining lots of experience. Since then, he has won the Boston Main Streets Outstanding Business Award in 2012 and has had great success in take out/delivery, dine in, food trucks and even private catering.

Zaz Restaurant can be found on 1238 River St, Hyde Park, MA and specializes in traditional dishes inspired by Roberts’s grandparents, including lots of fresh produce, spices and seafood. Roberts is an active member of the Boston community, along with helping the youth of Boston, driving him to want to share his background and spread knowledge and culture during Black History Month and throughout every year.

(This article was a collaborative effort of seniors Anna Boemer, Madeline Dillon, Olivia Johnson, Olivia Ritondo, Audrey Thornton, Mina Willander, Nicole Wilson, and Sofie Yurewicz)