Rialto Chef Visits Dining Halls

Rialto Comes to the Quad
Tiana A Abdulmassih

Jody Adams, right, head chef of Rialto in Harvard Square, talks with students as they swipe into Currier dining hall on Feb 28. HUDS asked Adams to plan a menu for all dining halls to serve for dinner on Friday night.

Students had the chance to taste Italian cuisine based on the recipes of an award-winning chef at dinner on Friday.

As a part of the Harvard University Dining Services’ series Women in Food, intended to expose students to food created by famous female chefs, all 13 dining halls featured dishes from Jody Adams, owner of the restaurant Rialto located in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square.

Adams received the James Beard Foundation award for The Perrier-Jouet Best Chef in 1997 and appeared as a competitor on the television series Top Chef Masters in 2009.

She also has prior experience collaborating with Harvard, having served on the HUDS advisory board for many years.

“I have a familiar relationship with the dining services and all the folks there,” Adams said. “I have been in almost every dining hall on campus.”

In fact, Adams was present in Annenberg and Currier House dining hall on Friday, talking to students about how they enjoyed their food.

“She seem really interested in making sure that we had a good experience, but also that we had a healthy experience at the same time,” Divya Seth ’14 said.

Adam’s recipes featured on Friday’s special menu included roast chicken, fiery garlicky greens, and braised cod with fennel, orange, saffron, and pistachio gremolata.

After eating, students were asked to provide feedback for a chance to win a $250 certificate to Rialto.

Some students interviewed by The Crimson said they had a positive reaction to Friday’s dinner.

“I thought the food was pretty good overall,”  Annalee C. Perez ’17 said. “The seasoning on the chicken was pretty delicious.”

Others said they did not notice a difference from typical HUDS fare.

“I didn’t know about what was going on today,” Vivek Jayaram ’17 said. “As a whole, I didn’t enjoy the food no more than normal, although the potatoes today were juicy and firm and the spices complimented it excellently to create a sensation of flavor in the mouth.”

Adams said she hopes that the series would inspire more students to visit the restaurant themselves.

“I want [the students] to fall in love with my food and come to Rialto and enjoy the experience here, either in the dining room by themselves or their family, or come into the bar,” Adams said. “We have wonderful small plates and we have a really accessibly-priced menu here for them.”

Some students said that Friday’s menu might help encourage them to dine at the restaurant one day.

“I actually made multiple plans to go visit Rialto, and they had always fallen through,” said Lucy Q. Zhong ’14. “But I think that this is a good catalyst for me to go, especially if the prices are affordable.”

Previous chefs in the series include Diane Kochilas, who presented her Greek and Mediterranean-style cooking, and Mai Pham, who showcased her Vietnamese cuisine. The Women in Food series is ongoing, though upcoming guest chefs have not yet been announced.

—Staff writer Kamara A. Swaby can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SwabyK.


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