By Kathryn Gordon—Co-Chair, Center for Advanced Pastry Studies
A graduate of ICE's professional Pastry & Baking Arts program, Roger started his career in the kitchens of Jean-Georges and Gucio Chocolatieri. He then worked for several years as the pastry sous chef of Gramercy Tavern, followed by a stint under Brooks Headley as Del Posto's pastry sous chef and chocolatier. In 2014, Roger became the head chocolatier at Cacao Prieto in Red Hook, Brooklyn. In anticipation of Roger’s upcoming CAPS class on September 10-11, we sat down with this innovative alum to learn what inspired his career in chocolate.
What sparked your move from pastry kitchens to focusing exclusively on chocolate?
For me, becoming the head chocolatier at Cacao Prieto was a return to the flavors, aromas and traditions of my native Dominican Republic. Ultimately, the decision was not a question of switching from restaurant chef to chocolatier. In the world of chocolate, there is the farmer, the broker, the chocolate maker and the chocolatier. By joining the team at Cacao Prieto, I'm involved in every step of the process. As a pastry chef, it offered me a different view of the product and an opportunity to go back to the basics.