Ryan Cheney was introduced to chocolate making at a yoga school on a beautiful island in Thailand, where he was excited by the flavors of raw chocolate. Inspired by companies with social missions, he founded Raaka to explore low-temperature chocolate making and create a more equitable global society in which communities have opportunity to improve their quality of life.
His favorite Raaka bar is the hops-infused Porter.
After spending a year learning bean-to-bar chocolate making, Ryan teamed up with Nate Hodge, a musician and gastronomist with a lust for exotic flavors and groundbreaking processes. For several months, Nate and Ryan enjoyed the sound of micro-batch chocolate grinders churning around the clock as they developed a new approach to chocolate making.
Nate loves all his chocolate innovations equally, like children.
Orissa Agnihotri came to New York from far off Portland, where she studied microbiology and immunology at Reed College. Interested in exploring socially- and health-conscious small businesses, she joined the Raaka team. She manages Raaka's booths at farmer and holiday markets and keeping the business running smoothly behind the scenes. In the coming year, she hopes to expand Raaka's involvement with the local and global communities.
Following a 3-year apprenticeship on an organic lettuce farm in Maine, Jillian Jason found herself drawn to the energy of the city. With a craving to learn from hands-on food producers, she discovered like minds at Raaka. Jillian's passion for local economies and food systems inspires her to meet the needs of even the smallest shops. Today, she brings her creativity for problem solving to Raaka's ever-expanding sales base as the Director of Sales.
Her favorite Raaka bar is the Vanilla Rooibos.
We are happy to have the help of our friends Catherine, Eric, Livingston and Pete as we forge new paths in chocolate making and using business to make the world a more equitable and joyful place for all of us.
In 2011, Raaka built its first factory in Clinton Hill with help from their friend Tim Skehan, a DIY artist and cyclist from Cleveland.
Tim prefers the award-winning Bourbon bar.
Just before the 2011 holiday rush, Raaka brought Danielle Lawrence aboard to head its sales department. Danielle’s limitless positivity and worldly insights helped Raaka expand into new markets and products.