Tiffani Faison, the Rocca chef who’s now on the lookout for new work after that South End Italian restaurant suddenly closed over the weekend, isn’t letting the news get her down. She paused to chat with us before heading off to bond with her Rocca pals over dumplings at Winsor Dim Sum.
"I’m staying in Boston," she says. "Boston has been incredible to me." Right now, as she also told the Globe, she’s setting her sights on opening her own restaurant.
She wouldn’t tell us exactly what she has in mind ("It’s living in my head, if investors are interested!" she joked), but says she wants it to be the kind of place that people can frequent three to four times per week. "Casual, but not too casual," she says. "Fine dining, but not white tablecloths."
As for rumblings that the South End might not be the easiest place to operate a restaurant, Faison thinks the neighborhood is just fine. "Gaslight is doing well. I don’t want other restaurants to think, ‘It’s coming for you.’"
And as for the cooking? "I’m proud of the evolution that started; the food is night and day from when I walked in there to what we were serving two months in. I’m proud of my kitchen crew and the people who came to work for me, and who came to learn." The restaurant earned three stars from the Globe in July. Now, Faison says she’s hoping to find her staff jobs that are right for them.
Oh, and get in touch if you want to back her new venture! And in the meantime: What do you think went wrong at Rocca? MC Slim JB offers a thorough, opinionated breakdown of their fall from glory here. And, for the corporate angle, the Feast offers co-owner Michela Larson’s take.