Roger Rodriguez wears many hats. Pastry chef, bean-to-bar Chocolate maker, Chocolatier to name a few. He grew up in the beautiful Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where rich cultures of the native Taíno and European influences wonderfully coexist. The indigenous flavors of the Dominican Republic are consistently at the core of his work. His family immigrated to New York when he was a teenager, so he retains a blend of the culture from his native motherland and the melting pot of culture of New York City. This mix of his professional and personal experiences makes him a truly unique chocolate maker who is celebrated internationally.
After studying graphic design at Rutgers University, Roger enrolled himself at the esteemed ICE culinary school in hopes to marry the synergy between his love for sweet things and his ability to create. He quickly found his sweet spot in the pastry kitchen. After graduating from ICE, he got his first job at Anthos in New York City, where he started honing his skills as a pastry chef. He went on to some of the city’s most respected kitchens such as Jean-Georges, Gramercy Tavern, and Del Posto where he not only grew as a seasoned pastry chef but also learned his passion for working with chocolate.
While most pastry chefs avoided working with chocolate, Roger was drawn to the challenge and opportunity to explore the infinite possibility of flavor transformation that chocolate offered. Dissatisfied with commercially available chocolate, he sought to create his own to realize the flavors he envisioned. He spent 7 years at Cacao Prieto, a small chocolate factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Here, Roger applied his creativity and roots creating bean to bar chocolate exclusively using cacao beans from his native Dominican Republic creating a collection of terroir inspired flavors such as Dominican Spice, Orchid, Vanilla + Cassia, and more.
Roger firmly believes in late Steve Jobs’ philosophy “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” He hopes to keep reimagining the ways he can transport people to a different place, a different dimension through what he creates with chocolate. Lastly, he adds that the very secret to a great chocolate bar is nothing but 100% love.