Jesse Divine – Group Pastry Chef
“When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to eat sugar,” Roka Akor Pastry Chef Jesse Divine admits. The withholding of sweets has surreptitiously spurred Divine’s career in the culinary arts. When he was 15, Divine began concentrating his culinary studies on pastry. After graduating with honors from the Connecticut Culinary Institute in Hartford in 2001, Divine worked at New York City’s Payard Patisserie & Bakery with renowned Pastry Chef Francoise Payard. He continued his career at the Mayflower Inn & Spa, a 5- star, 5-diamond Relais & Châteaux property for eight years, at which he worked with his mentor, Philippe Niez.
In fall 2009, Divine moved to Scottsdale, AZ to lead the pastry department of the inaugural stateside Roka Akor before moving to the Windy City to be part of the opening team for Roka Akor Chicago in summer 2011.
Divine spends his free time exploring the city’s culinary offerings, counting Avec, Big Star, and Pho Lily among his favorites.