Jamaican-born and bred, Chef Lloyd Roberts the Executive Chef at Birmingham’s Adachi is finally moving forward with his flavorful side hustle – taking orders for his homemade Jamaican dishes. Starting Sunday November 6 and Monday November 7, Chef Roberts will make his curried and jerk chicken, curried goat, oxtails and fried plantains available to his customers through carry out orders.
Maroons Means Freedom
While trained in French culinary technique and managing the kitchens of some of the top Asian restaurants around the world, Chef Roberts, 48, has always had a high demand for his other favorite dishes; from his motherland of Jamaica. “Maroons is a Caribbean menu. It’s my heritage where I’m from in Jamaica. I was born in Jamaica and came to America at the age of 11. Before moving to Michigan, I traveled the world just working and studying my craft. Every where that I’d go people would always ask me to make Caribbean food for them. I never had the time to do it,” says Chef Roberts. “Fast forward, after I moved to Michigan and opened Adachi which now my clientele know me and know what I’m capable of doing within the asian cuisine. They still ask me now, “Chef, can you make some jerk chicken or curried goat and add it to the menu?” I made these dishes for a few people and work and now they’re asking me to open a restaurant with the Jamaican dishes. Right now the idea is to start this from my home and provide carry out. At the moment I don’t have the funding to go out and get my own space. It’s easier and safer to operate it from my home and operate it this way until we grow.”
Websters dictionary defines “Maroon” as a Black person of the West Indies and Guiana in the 17th and 18th centuries who escaped slavery.
“Maroons is very personal to me. The word came from slavery because the word “Maroons” means the slaves that ran away from their masters. So Maroons are like a tribe of people that still exists throughout the Caribbean of Jamaica and Belize, Haiti and some parts of South America where you can find these tribes that call themselves ‘Maroons,’ believes Chef Roberts. “So many have settled in Jamaica and brought their culture and cuisine with them.”
Father, Husband, Foodie
Chef Roberts is the executive chef at Adachi, the Birmingham restaurant housed in the historic Ford-Peabody Mansion and is one of five children. A father of two sons of his own, the weekends were dedicated to feasting with family and friends. While Roberts today specializes in Asian-inspired cuisine and classical technique, his food foundation is firmly rooted in dishes like curry goat or jerk chicken, Jamaican staples he learned how to make growing up.
After graduating the Art Institute, he landed a much-coveted position in the kitchen of the world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten in the trendy, midtown restaurant Vong. Learning the craft of fusing Asian and French flavors from the best in the business, Chef Roberts subsequently used his skills at the Modern at MOMA, by Danny Meyer where he practiced classic and nouveau French cuisine.
Mr. Roberts continued to hone his culinary expertise under the tutelage of another world premier chef, Nobu Matsuhisa, when he accepted a position at the then newly opening Nobu 57 where he added a new type of fusion cuisine to his repertoire that of Japanese and Peruvian flavors, he went on to open Nobu Moscow and Nobu Budapest.
Always on the cutting edge of the dining scene, Chef Roberts then took a position as Executive Sous Chef at BG Restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman, one of the newer venues merging the fine dining experience with upscale retail.
Always keep up with the trendy New York restaurant scene Chef Roberts land a position at Ian Schrager Gramercy Park Hotel as Executive Chef where he managed a $30 million food and beverage operation, including banquet, dining for 200 rooms as well as the hotel’s private roof club.
Sticking to what he loves, Roberts created an electric Asian Inspired Menu which won and got nominated for the Pro Chef ME Award, BBC Good Food Middle East and Awarded Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.
After traveling and studying, Chef Roberts returned home to Michigan bringing all he has learned from all the great chefs and opened Adachi a Japanese Inspired Menu where he’s won Best Japanese Restaurant of the Year.
“This weekend will be the weekend that I put everything together and put it up on Instagram. I need a few days to organize everything for Sunday November 6 and Monday November 7 when I will be taking orders. Those my two off days from work and Friday and Saturday will be for butchering everything, marinating the meats adding all the spices and getting all the products into the make the rice and peas and the jerk spices that I made from scratch. Wake up early Sunday morning and start cooking.”