Rosetta’s Kitchenette at UNC-A
Story & Photos by EMILY FOLEY
This fall, the UNC-Asheville student body is excited for healthier food. Rosetta's “Kitchenette,” a satellite eatery of the well-known Rosetta's Kitchen on Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville, has begun to offer vegan and vegetarian food at its Sherrill Center location. Students, faculty, and campus visitors can enjoy the nutritious, delicious meals that owner Rosetta Starr has prepared to fit in their busy schedules.
“The fact that we are now a food option for UNC-A students proves that the industry is booming,” Rosetta explains. “People are demanding change. Many of these students are new to college life and … they’re starting to make their own choices.” With the multi-purpose Sherrill Center, a health and wellness facility and gym, this university is making additions that offer healthy options for students. “[T]his could be a good place to encourage healthy habits,” she adds.
Come August 17, students were eager to dig in. During the first couple days after opening, Rosetta’s Kitchenette could barely meet the demand, running out of items. Starr says that the transition into the new spot went smoothly. Additionally, she is pleased to be a third party vendor with UNC-A's main food provider, Chartwell.
“We wound up at UNC-A because of the students. When they built the health and wellness café two years ago they were looking for more food options since the student body and campus had been growing. [Promoting] health and wellness is the direction that the school is going in; more green [options], more sustainable [practices], and more health awareness,” Rosetta says. “The school sent out a survey asking what they would like in this space in the Sherrill Center. We apparently were not on the ballot, but a lot of students and faculty wrote us in. It was really flattering.”
Rosetta was raised in a vegetarian household. Cooking local, organic food came naturally. She decided to redirect her career path after years of working food service jobs around Asheville.
“I found myself in a tight and difficult spot .... I looked at my life and about what would make me happy and thought, ‘I like to feed people, so that’s what I’ll do,'” she explains.
Rosetta’s Kitchen has been serving the community vegetarian and vegan specialties for the past ten years and has become a staple of Asheville’s healthy, green dining options.
"When I started Rosetta’s, some of the staff members were vegan and suggested we make items like the mashed potatoes vegan. I told them we could make them vegan only if it tasted as good as the ones we had, and they did.”
Rosetta has a passion for creating vegetarian dishes, but, as a social entrepreneur, she also advocates for social change. “It’s an active rebellion to serve organic food,” says Starr. “Discussing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, and high fructose corn syrup in public are quiet acts of rebellion today. The way we eat affects us not only physically, but also mentally. We create healthy food, but it’s to push for bigger change in the world.”
Along with the new location on UNC-A's campus that provides visitors with hot meals, Rosetta’s Kitchen also packages its frozen veggie burgers under the label "Starshine Foods, Inc." These burgers are sold at 12 different Earth Fares, as well as the West Village Market, The French Broad Food Coop and eight area Ingles.
UNC-Asheville is located at One University Heights in Asheville. For more information on Rosetta's Kitchen and Rosetta's Kitchenette, visit online at rosettaskitchen.com.