Watch Joshua Riazi Bolster the City’s Vibrant Dining Scene

COO, Culinary Hub of Providence

Tell us about yourself, your connection to Providence, and your work.

Since coming to Providence more than 20 years ago to attend Johnson & Wales for culinary nutrition, the city has been an integral part of my culinary education and work experience. I’ve worked at institutions such as Al Forno as well as Michelin-rated and James Beard-winning establishments in Boston and Washington DC. My work with the adult education organization Genesis Center is to imagine and build the Culinary Hub of Providence (CHOP), a workforce education restaurant that furthers the opportunities available to budding culinary professionals in the city and beyond.


What’s your motivation for doing this work?

In an ever-demanding restaurant industry, CHOP is a response to a critical need. Our motivation is to bridge the gap between the industry’s demand for passionate, skilled workers and the dreams of those eager to enter the culinary world (or skill up to management roles and entrepreneurship). The mission is driven by a vision of fostering inclusivity and offering life-changing opportunities to aspiring culinary talents.

In what ways do you hope to leave an impact on our city in the coming months?

By creating a platform for cooks from diverse backgrounds to share their heritage, life, and culture through food with the city at large. For example, chefs often travel to get firsthand experience cooking with locals, yet here in Providence, which is home to so many culturally diverse individuals, we have the ability to share information that can benefit us all. I hope through CHOP’s menu, workshops, and educational activities, we can promote and educate those interested in food, and help culinary professionals find pathways to financial security through a career in the hospitality field.

What challenges do you anticipate having to overcome in 2024 to achieve these goals?

We are challenged with operating a unique business model in a new and untested restaurant space. The hospitality industry can often have slim margins, and everyone is battling increases in the cost of labor and goods. Responding to these challenges and integrating our overall social mission will be a major focus.


What’s your reason for optimism approaching 2024?

The success over the past 40 years of the Genesis Center and its staff and leadership team, along with the development of strategic partnerships, including support from city and state agencies, shows that we have a community of supporters. 




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