Dan Raia was always going to be a chef. Aside from being the hardest working person you will ever meet, his passion for food and people that work in and around food is unparalleled. As a Boston area native, Raia began working as a dishwasher at the ripe age of thirteen, setting the pace of an incredible work ethic from day one.
After working his way through the kitchen at the Marriott Gables in Winchester, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, graduating with honors. Raia was the Vice President of the National Honor Society and President of the CIA ‘s Student Government, receiving various other accolades throughout his college career.
Upon graduating, Raia approached every new challenge and position with the same level of dedication, commitment and professionalism as he approached his academic career. After working his way through the kitchens of Jody Adams and Dante De Magistris, he committed himself to mastering the business side of being a successful chef. He focused his efforts with the Compass Group, sharpening his focus on managing the finer points of food cost and management. Redoubling his efforts on a rounded approach to success in the food and beverage industry, he made himself an indispensable asset that leads with a global understanding of his industry.
Raia opened Rocca Kitchen & Bar under the direction of Michela Larson and Chef Tom Fosnot. Staking a claim in the upper echelon of restaurants in Boston was the natural evolution of his career. After three years, he then worked under Chef Tiffani Faison, earning a three-star review from The Boston Globe and placing Rocca into the national spotlight and onto the 50 best list of Boston Restaurants.
Chef Faison then selected Raia to be the Chef de Cuisine of her first solo venture, Sweet Cheeks Q. At Sweet Cheeks, he earned another three-star review from The Boston Globe, won consecutive years’ Best Barbecue from both the Improper Bostonian and Boston Magazine and has been placed on the 30 under 30 list from Zagat.