Published on 3/8/24



Rochelle learned to love baking at a young age, making traditional desserts for the holidays with her mom. This hobby grew into a passion, and she found herself at Johnson and Wales Culinary School in Providence. Her talent for the pastry arts was accompanied by a joy brought by sharing knowledge and Ideas with others as a teaching assistant. Professors encouraged her to pursue a masters in education and a year later she wrapped up a graduate program at Pennsylvania State University. It didn’t take long for Rochelle to miss the rush of restaurants and found herself in Washington, DC. Breaking out at Range by Bryan Voltaggio and working under the renowned Chris Ford there. The whimsy, science, and storytelling of Minibar drew her further downtown where she spent years in the two michelin starred kitchen and went on to become a research and development chef for Jose Andres team. Kat Petonito, a former colleague and friend ,enticed Rochelle to join Eastern Point Collective to begin her own pastry program. Inspiration for her desserts comes from nostalgia and seasonal ingredients available locally. Rochelle also has a knack for sustainability and always finding ways to cross utilize savory and bar preparations in her work. Her latest venture, an Ice Cream Shoppe-Up that quite literally churns excess product into delicious flavors inspired by the team’s childhood favorites.  



What inspired you to enter the world of pastry?

I always found joy in baking with my mom when I was growing up and my cousin Jessie made beautiful wedding cakes and I always looked up to her. It was in culinary school that I really fell in love with plated desserts and knew I would be in restaurants.  

Where do you find inspiration for your creations?

I get inspired by nostalgic flavors and textures. I also have my team taste different iterations and give me feedback, the more people who taste my dishes the better I can make them.  

Who in your life has been the biggest mentor/inspiration in your career?

Chef Katarina Petonito is a close friend and also the Executive chef of our restaurants, working with her has been an inspiration for leadership not just because of her impeccable palate but how she cares for the people around her. She has this ability to teach you to teach yourself and I respect that a lot.  

How is your team responding to the new realities of the world during and eventually post-COVID-19?

We pivoted left and right! My favorite part was the evolution and growth of my Ice Cream Shoppe-Up. When the Omicon wave hit we shut down indoor dining and made to-go dinner packages and were planning on making chicken soup and stuff like that. I remember the chicken soup containers being a little too eco-friendly and couldn’t hold up to the hot soup, but they were perfect paper cartons for ice cream, I also had a lot of dessert mise en place that didn’t work for to-go dishes. I figured out some tasty flavors using what I had, and people really loved it! We still use the concept today to be sustainable and minimize waste while spinning up tasty swirls.

What Social Responsibility/Community initiative are you the most proud of taking part in?

I am part of group of pastry chefs and food writers that come together to make cookie assortment boxes for a number of causes. We started with the first one I led after Roe was overturned and it supported the DC Abortion Fund and Planned Parenthood. We have led other fundraisers for local DC groups like Safe Shores as well. Currently we are building the framework to become an organization.  

What are your hopes for the future of the world of food and pastry?

My hopes are that as an industry we can gain more support from community and guests as we navigate this new era post-covid and inflation. I also hope to see more benefits for women like paid maternity leave (We do this at Eastern Point Collective). It is also a goal of mine to foster a network of pastry chefs in communities that get together to support one another, whether it’s some kind words or help finding a sous chef, we all need to lean on each other rather than compete with one another.

What should the role of the food/pastry industry be in the community? The world? The environment?

I think pastry chefs have a lot to offer, we make great teachers since we understand so much of the science behind what we do, I really enjoy teaching future pastry cooks/chefs, as well as community classes! We also have the unique ability to preserve and be sustainable in so many ways. I always try to minimize waste in my kitchen whether it be in Ice Cream Shoppe or in our rotating seasonal bread basket. Every little bit counts! 

What is your earliest dessert memory? 

I remember entering a community healthy baking contest when I was in middle school, Mrs. Fratrick encouraged me to participate. To my surprise, I won, with raspberry pinwheel cookies and I think that was the first time I was proud of something I created in the kitchen.

If you could pass one bit of insight down to a chef just getting their start, what would it be?

Always ask questions and as you grow into leadership, its important to train others how to fill your shoes, there is always room for everyone to grow and succeed.  

What is your favorite perk of the Cercle V program?

I love the access to exclusive recipes; I love getting inspired by what others do and putting my own unique twist on a flavor or technique. I feel collaboration and inspiration move us all forward.  

When & how did you hear about Valrhona for the first time? / When & how did your “relationship” with Valrhona start?

I first learned about Valrhona from Chris Ford, he was my pastry chef 10 years ago when I was at Range by Bryan Voltaggio. I have been fortunate to use their chocolate many places I have worked in my career and I love the flavors, especially the inspiration chocolates. I also really appreciate that they are now soy free! 




Shelly Bean

Celsius or Fahrenheit?


Favorite Valrhona Chocolate?

Almond Inspiration 

Favorite restaurant?

Centrolina and Piccolina by Amy Brandwein

Favorite flavor pairing with chocolate?

Salted Caramel 

Go to snack?

Cheese Plate 

Coffee or Tea?


Favorite kitchen tool?


Who do you follow on social media?

I follow lots of pastry chefs and restaurants to get inspiration 

Favorite type of dessert to make? To eat?

To make: Ice Cream 

To eat: Chocolate Chip Cookies fresh out of the oven