Rosstaurant Dinner Dazzles With Menu & Music


By Sarah Asch, Features Editor

Ross Commons hosted its first “Rosstaurant,” a restaurant style dinner event, on Saturday, April 29, in Atwater Dining Hall. Ross Community Council tri-chairs Zorica Radanovic ’19, Trisha Singh ’19 and Oriyomi Adeliyi ’20 planned the event to replace Viva Ross Vegas, which had been Ross Commons’ annual event for the last several years. According to Radanovic, Viva Ross Vegas was declining in popularity.

“As tri-chairs, we wanted to host a large-scale event again, but realized that Viva wasn’t getting the traction it once did,” she said.

Radanovic said they have been planning the event since the fall. “We started [planning] last semester in November, but at that point everything was very theoretical,” she said. “Then as the months passed, we began getting more serious and started contacting student chefs and looking for volunteers to help during the night of the event.”

Radanovic also said the tri-chairs were inspired by the success of Dolci, the monthly student-cooked meal hosted in Atwater, as they planned Rosstaurant.

“Having Dolci as a model and having the Dolci leadership be so willing to offer advice and guidance was essential to the tri-chairs who had never organized a large food event before,” she said. “The last two months have been heavily involved in working with Atwater dining staff in preparing the event and getting the necessary materials in order.”

Students put together the menu for Rosstaurant and incorporated food from many different regions in the world.  Abigail Browngoehl ’19 helped decide on the dishes for the event.

“The theme of Rosstaurant in its inaugural year is ‘A Culinary Tour of the World,’” she said. “The menu is inspired by recipes and cultures from around the world, featuring cuisine from five different countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Taiwan and Turkey. Clark Lewis and myself put together the menu, which was curated from a number of students who were inspired by their own recipes.”

Maria Hatjigeorgiou, one of the faculty heads for Ross Commons, found that the different kinds of food helped contribute to an open atmosphere at the event itself.

“The menu our Chairs developed utilized creatively national dishes from five different countries, blending flavors and traditions into a culinary tour of Peace and Friendship,” she said. “The food, as well as the map and the information they provided to each table of diners, sparked rich conversations and elicited memories of travel and personal experience. The evening was enhanced by an eclectic music program representing diverse geographies, traditions and styles by Ross artists.”

According to Radanovic, the goal of Rosstaurant was to create community around food and music.

“We wanted to bring the greater Middlebury community together over food, live music and conversation,” she said. “We wanted to showcase the amazing cooking talent of our peers. We wanted Ross Commons to get involved and to get excited about the Commons system.”

Fellow tri-chair Singh agreed. “Our goal was to provide a fun gourmet restaurant environment to a large number of students for a low price, while exposing them to a variety of cultures through food,” she said.

Hatjigeorgiou felt the event was very successful. “The event was a testament to what collaboration and synergy can yield in our Commons communities, if our Councils choose to activate the power of self governance supported by their budgets,” she said. “Sitting among all the different students from Ross and the broader College community, I felt I had a rare true moment of intense connection. It was a shared experience where all the different layers of rich identity that our students represent converge and become known and appreciated. I believe that moments like this are needed more than ever in our community.”

Radanovic was also pleased with how Rosstaurant went.

“It went better than I could have imagined,” she said. “The turnout was great, the food was wonderful, the music was amazing and it was just a bunch of fun. I am so thankful to all of the members in the community who attended and who wanted to help, so thank you!”

Radanovic also said that it is unclear if Rosstaurant will happen next year, but she hopes this event laid the groundwork for the future. “The tri-chairs operate on a yearly basis, so it will be completely under the discretion of the tri-chairs in the upcoming years, she said. “However, I do hope that because of the success it had this year, the tri-chairs in the future will want to pursue Rosstaurant again, especially because now there is a framework for future organizers to follow.”