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Central MA Up + Comer: Two Chefs’ Cassandra Clough & Rafael Guzman

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Rafael Guzman and Cassandra Clough's love for food and cooking have brought them together in more ways than one.

Two Chef Restaurant and Pastry Shop co-owners Rafael Guzman, the savory chef, and
 Cassandra Clough, the pastry chef, both graduated from Vermont's New England
 Culinary Institute in 2006. Rafael grew up in Puerto Rico, where he started
 cooking at the age of 16. After graduating with his AOS in culinary arts, he 
went on to work in Boston and New York City. In New York he worked at Craft, restaurant of Bravo's Top Chef judge Tom
 Colicchio. Cassandra grew up in Central
 Massachusetts where she began baking at Salem Cross Inn at the age of 17. After
 graduating with her AOS in Baking and Pastry Arts, she went on to work at various 
bakeries and coffee shops throughout the Massachusetts area. Now they have
 joined forces to bring great food and pastries to the area through their own restaurant.

A conversation with Cassandra Clough and Rafael Guzman

SW: How did you two meet?

CC: We met in culinary school. We were in the same block (which is a group of people you have all your classes with). We had one class where Rafael and I were partners. We had to make savory food, which I am not really good at, so Rafael taught me a lot in that class. After culinary school we lost touch for about three years. Rafael went to NYC and I came back home to MA. I never forgot about him and was wondering about him a lot when he finally contacted me through Facebook! After some e-mails and phone calls I took a train to NYC and we just reconnected during that trip. Rafael moved to MA three months later and the rest is history! We just got engaged during a recent vacation to Key West in August!. I’m a very lucky lady to have such an all-around great guy by my side. He is so incredibly talented and works so hard at our restaurant; he makes Two Chefs what it is!

SW: When did you get the idea to join forces on Two Chefs?

CC: We started thinking about opening a place of our own in 2010. At first I was just going to open a small bakery and Rafael was going to keep cooking at his current job. We were looking into a place to rent for the bakery and we were told about the building we are in now. We drove over and peeked in the windows. We saw potential and figured, why not? So we decided to go for it and open a restaurant. I’m so glad that we did! We opened up in December 2010, it was one crazy year!

SW: Can you talk a little about your background in the field?

CC: Being a baker is the only job I have ever had. Baking at Salem Cross Inn was my first job and that’s when I decided to forgo traditional college and go to culinary school. After school I worked in western MA. Some of my favorite jobs were working as an assistant pastry chef at a high end restaurant, high volume baking at Atkins’ Country Market, making bread at Whole Foods Market and being the head baker at a really busy café where I helped open the bakery. I learned so much from each and every job I had.

RG: My whole professional career has always been in the hospitality industry. I started as a dishwasher in a pizza restaurant in Puerto Rico when I was 16 years old, just working nights after school. Pretty soon I was working as waiter, then as a cook and finally as the night shift manager. In my early 20s I just kept working in different restaurants trying to figure out what to do with my life, should I go to a traditional college, become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer etc., something that would make my parents proud, more than just a cook. Finally in 2004 I decide to become a chef and make a career out of my passion for food. After attending college in Vermont, I moved to NYC for a 6-month internship at Craft restaurant that turned out to be a 3-year life-changing indoctrination, boot camp style, into the world of fine dining and culinary arts. There is no better learning experience than working at a restaurant where every day only perfection is expected from you. You are pushed to your limits and then some, but the end result is quite surprising. It’s amazing the things your mind and body can accomplish as a chef given the right amount of inspiration—or should I say, pressure.

SW: What makes Two Chefs stand out from the competition?

CC: I think Rafael is the answer to that question. He is so talented. With the help of one other person he cooks everything. His experience has really made him into such a great chef and I’m so happy that our customers realize that! I once had a customer tell me that they just trust Rafael. If they are not sure they will like something new, that Two Chefs is the place to try it, because whatever Rafael makes is always so good. That’s what makes us stand out.

RG: You have to take pride in your work, always taste the food that’s going out from a simple hand cut French fry to a filet mignon. Never cut corners, use fresh ingredients as much as possible, and treat your guests as family members coming in for Sunday dinner.

SW: What is on the drawing board for Two Chefs in 2014?

CC: I certainly hope to keep making the small changes we have been making to better the restaurant over the year….but who knows? Maybe we will make some major changes this year…it feels like it’s going to be a good year!

RG: Homemade raviolis if I can find the time and more Puerto Rican food!

SW: Are you involved in the community?

CC: We do support various charities and groups around our area. We also enjoy cooking for the Taste of the Nation in West Boylston. It’s such a great event and so much fun because we get to meet future customers and give them a taste of our food.

SW: Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?

CC: For me I would have to say my parents. Growing up I learned to bake with my mom. She always let my friends and I take over the kitchen and bake. My dad really gave us the push to open our own place. I don’t think we would have done so without either of them.

RG: Both my parents are the reason I am the man I am today. They instilled in me an amazing work ethic; they struggled a lot to provide my sister and I with food, clothing, and an education. Those are things people might take for granted these days, but 30 years ago in PR they were hard to come by. Also in NYC I learn a lot from chefs like Damon Wise, Akthar Newab, and Lauren Hirschberg.

SW: What is the something that few people know about you?

RG: I love quarter pounders; isn’t it ironic?

SW: How do you define success?

CC: That’s a tough one. In my opinion, there are different levels of success. I think we are just scraping the surface of ours. I hope to see all of our dreams for Two Chefs starting to come true. That would feel like success for me. 

RG: Career-wise, it would be a James Beard Award or nomination. As a person it would be to be able to have a family—my parents really want grandkids.

SW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

CC: I don’t know! Life is so surprising, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

RG: Maybe as a culinary instructor or an owner of Puerto Rican-style sandwich shop and bakery.


Central MA Up + Comer is a weekly profile of a member of the next generation as they are making their mark on the Central MA workforce and community. Join us every Thursday for a look at the careers and lifestyles of the local digital generation. If you have suggestions for a profile, email [email protected]. Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.


Related Slideshow: Worcester Celebrates Restaurant Week

Enjoy a great meal at some of Worcester's best restaurants for just $23.14...

Prev Next

111 Chop House

111 Shrewsbury St. – Worcester



Tomato Bisque

Bang Bang Shrimp

Ginger Soy Seared Sirloin


First Course:

Mixed Greens Salad

Apple + Arugula Salad



Surf + Turf Grill

North Atlantic Salmon Fillet


$26.14 Option:

12 oz. New York Strip

12 oz. Rib Eye

Prev Next

A.J.Tomaiolo’s Restaurant

411 West Main St. – Northborough



Homemade Soup of the Day

Caesar Salad

Arugula Salad



Shrimp + Chicken Romano

Grilled Tuna

A.J.’s Combo



Spumoni Ice Cream

Apple Bread Pudding

Prev Next

Amici Trattoria

582 Main St. – Shrewsbury



Pasta Fagioli

Zuppa del Giorno

Insalate di Casa

Caesar Salad

Amici’s Wild Arugula Salad




Melanzane Ripiene

Tortellini Quattro Formaggi al Forno

Mollusco Provencale

Pollo alla Parmigiano

Due Salsicce alla Cacciatora



Cannoli con Ricotta Dolce


Affirnare Mela Croccante e Pomemgranite Budino di Pane

Prev Next

Armsby Abbey

144 North Main St. – Worcester


Course One:

Confit Fennel, Roasted Beet Puree, Pistachio, Yogurt Espuma, Honey, Orange Zest


Crispy Pigs Foot Croqueta, Sweet Onion Soubise, Pickled Vegetables + Salsa Verde


Course Two:

Roasted Winter Roots, Harrissa, Buttermilk, Potato Pulp, Soft Poached Egg


Handmade Papardelle Pasta, Beef Heart + Pork Jowl Ragu, Parmesan + Olive Oil Breadcrumbs


Course Three:


Torrija made with Honey Oat Bread Soaked in Spiced Cream then fried, served with Brown Butter Ice Cream and Caramelized Honey

Prev Next

Bocado Tapas Wine Bar

82 Winter St. – Worcester


Experience for One:

Choice of Cheese or Charcuterie Meats

Choice of Small Paella (Classic, Meat, Seafood, Vegetable)


Experience for Two:

Choice of One Cheese + One Charcuterie Meat

Choice of Three Tapas from a Select List

 Paella for Two (Classic, Meat, Seafood, Vegetable)



Experience for Four:

Choice of Two Cheeses + Two Charcuterie Meats

Choice of Six Tapas from Select List

Paella for Two (Classic, Meat, Seafood, Vegetable)

Churros + White Chocolate-Raspberry Bread Pudding


Experience for Parties of Six or More:

Choose Two Cheeses + Two Charcuterie Meats

Choice of Six Tapas from a Select List (Served Grande Style)

Bocado Signature Paella (Classic, Meat, Seafood, Vegetable)

Churros + White Chocolate-Raspberry Bread Pudding


Wine Specials - $23.14 per bottle

White – Izadi Blanco (Viura), 2007 Rioja

Red – Cruz de Alba Crianza (Tempranillo), 2007 Ribera del Duero

Prev Next

Brew City

104 Shrewsbury St. – Worcester



Pesto Cream Mussels

Spicy West African Peanut Soup

Cranberry Goat Cheese Salad



Osso Buco

Chimichurri Steak Fries

Blackened Chicken Mac n’ Cheese

Teriaki Salmon Burger with Asian Slaw

Valencia Blue Moon Roasted Half Chicken with Spinach + Roasted Red Bliss





Banana Fosters Fried Cheesecake

Prev Next

Caffe Espresso Trattoria

395 Chandler St. – Worcester



Appetizer, Soup, or Salad:

Lobster Arancini

Winter Salad

Inziminio di Calamari



Haddock Alforno

Veal de Nord

Tortellini Bolognese

Chicken + Eggplant Parmigiana

Vegetarian Pasta Regina



Zuppa Inglesia


Prev Next

Canal Restaurant + Bar

65 Water St. – Worcester


Official restaurant week menu has not yet been released.

Prev Next

Castle Restaurant

1230 Main St. -- Leicester



New England Clam Chowder

Seasonal Coup

Seasonal Salad of Field Greens, Diced Macintosh Apples, Housemade Raisins and a Balsamic Syrup



A Long Lined Haddock Fillet

Potato Gnocchi

Pork Medallions

Breast of Chicken



Fresh Strawberry Shortcake

Fresh White Peach and Scotch Sautee


Belgium Milk Chocolate Mousse

Prev Next

Ceres Bistro

363 Plantation St. – Worcester





Native Lettuce + Farmstand Salad

Beef + Barley Stew



Grilled Chicken Breast

Pan Seared Tilapia Picatta

Turkey Bacon Sandwich



New York Style Cheesecake

Amaretto Strip Cake





Native Lettuce + Farmstand Salad

Beef + Barley Stew



Soy Ginger Marinated Flank Steak

Pan Seared Tilapia Picatta

Mushroom + Fettuccini



New York Style Cheesecake

Amaretto Strip Cake

Prev Next

Coral Seafood

225 Shrewsbury St. Suite A – Worcester



Shrimp Cocktail

Ahi Tuna Tartar

Duo Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell

Steamed Mussels in a Wine Garlic Sauce

Cup of Soup



Salmon in a Bag

Stuffed Sole

Grilled Trio

Chicken or Shrimp Pesto

Grilled Fillet Mignon

Asian Tuna



Seasonal Fresh Fruits

Grapenut Custard

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Warm Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream

Prev Next

Draught House Bar + Grill

42 West Boylston St. - West Boylston



Deep Fried Crab Rangoons

Thai Chicken Spring Rolls

Spinach Salad



Mediterranean Chicken

Cajun Delmonico Steak

Swordfish Scampi




Strawberry Cheesecake


Carrot Cake

Prev Next

El Basha

256 Park Ave. + 424 Belmont St. – Worcester


Official restaurant week menu has not yet been released.

Prev Next

EVO Dining

234 Chandler St. – Worcester



Whole Roasted Garlic Bulb

Mexican Crab Salad

Black and Tan Onion Rings




Grilled Pork Chop

Surf n Turf

Vegan Alfredo Mac n Cheese



Scoop of Ice Cream

Flourless Chocolate Torte

Spanish Coffee

Prev Next

Flying Rhino

278 Shrewsbury St. – Worcester



Petite House or Caesar Salad

Arancini (Cheese Rice Balls) with Marinara

Crab Rangoons with Sweet Chili Sauce

Buffalo Chicken Wontons with Buttermilk Dip



Steak Tips Au Poivre

Grilled Pork Kebabs

Rigatone Rose

Almond Crusted Basa

Rhino Chicken Scampi



Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding

White Chocolate Croissant a la Mode


Fresh Apple Slices with a Caramel Dip

Prev Next

Funky Murphy’s

305 Shrewsbury St. – Worcester

(Photo courtesy of Yelp user David G.)

Official restaurant week menu has not yet been released.

Prev Next

Il Forno

65 West Boylston St. – West Boylston


First Course:

Caesar Salad

Strawberry Salad

House Tossed Salad

Cup of Homemade Soup


Second Course:

Seafood Melody

Grilled 8oz. Filet Mignon

Beef Burgandy

Salmon Almondine

Little Taste of Il Forno

Parmesan Encrusted Swordfish

Chicken Cordon Bleu Francese Style

Lobster Macaroni + Cheese

Fisherman’s Platter


Third Course:

New York Cheesecake with Strawberries

Two Mini Cannolis

Prev Next

Joey’s Bar + Grill

344 Chandler St. – Worcester


Official restaurant week menu has not yet been released.

Prev Next

La Scala

183 Shrewsbury St. – Worcester



Soup of the Day

Arancini Balls of the Day

Romaine Salad

Parmesan and Cranberry Salad



Chicken Gorgonzola

Haddock Bruschetta

Spicy Sausage Alfredo

Cheese Ravioli over a Pomodoro Sauce



Dessert of the Day

Prev Next

Lakeside Bar + Grille

97 Boston Turnpike – Shrewsbury


Official restaurant week menu has not yet been released.

Prev Next

Leo’s Ristorante

11 Leo Turo Way – Worcester



Italian Rangoons

Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Stuffed Mushrooms

Spinach Salad

Grilled Romaine with Gorgonzola Cheese Chopped Tomatos drizzled with Balsamic Glaze



Chicken or Veal Saltimbocca

Chicken Spinazola

Steak al la Pizzaiola

Seafood Monte Carlo

Eggplant Rollatini





Brownie or Chocolate Chip Sundae

Prev Next

Mare e Monti Trattoria

19 Wall St. – Worcester

Official restaurant week menu has not yet been released.


Eggplant Rollatini

Zuppa Mussels

Pomodoro Gorgonzola



Shrimp Risotto

Pollo Maurizio





Tira Misu

Prev Next

Mexicali Fresh Mex Grill

700 Main St. – Holden



Mexicali Cheese Dip

Taquito Bites

Nachos Supreme



Burrito Verde

Tacos al Pastor

Pollo Parilla

Mexicali Chimichanga

Southwest Quesedillas



Dessert Burrito

Deep Fried Ice Cream

Prev Next

Mezcal Cantina

30 Major Taylor Blvd. – Worcester



Mexican Caesar

Golden Fried Jalepeno Rice Balls

Southwestern Kobe Meatballs


Beef, Chicken, or Vegetable Burrito

Grilled Mahi Mahi

Mexican Shrimp + Broccoli Saute




Fried Ice Cream

Prev Next

The Mill at 185

185 West Boylston St – West Boylston


First Course:

Choice of Homemade Soup

House Salad

Second Course:

Stuffed Baseball Sirloin

Seafood Risotto

Third Course:

Homemade Cannoli

Prev Next

Northworks Bar + Grille

106 Grove St. – Worcester



Cup of Soup

Seafood Chowder

Dinner Salad



Chicken Marsala

Baked Stuffed Salmon

New York Sirlion



Homemade Apple Crisp

Chocolate Cake


Includes two dinners.

Prev Next


92 Shrewsbury St. – Worcester


First Course:

Caesar Salad


Nuovo Appetizer


Second Course:

Chicken Marsala

Eggplant Parmesan

Pan Seared Cajun Tuna

Beef Pot Roast


Third Course:

Flowerless Chocolate Cake


New York Cheesecake

Prev Next

O’Connor’s Restaurant+Bar

1160 West Boylston St. – Worcester



Winter Mesculin Salad

Cup of Butternut Bisque or Soup of the Day

Claire’s Caesar Salad

Cup of New England Clam Chowder

Trio of Shrimp Cocktail

Fresh Garden Salad

Poached Salmon Martini



¾-lb. Grilled Bone-In Pork Chop with Savory Stuffing

Roasted Cedar Plank Salmon

Braised Limerick Lamb Shank ‘n Mash

Grilled Swordfish – Romesco Sauce

Chicken Soprano

Broiled Sirloin Steak

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Asparagus + Crimini Mushrooms



Red Velvet Truffle filled Iced Cupcake

Amarena Cheery Gelato Sundae – Hot Fudge Sauce

Our Famous Irish Bread + Raisin Pudding – Butterscotch Sauce

Chocolate Cream Puff

Lemon Sorbert

Frozen Baliey’s Irish Crème Pie

Prev Next

Park Grill

257 Park Ave. – Worcester


First Course
Caesar Salad
Tomato Bruschetta
Second Course
Pollo Inverno
Spaghetti with Angry Shrimp and Broccoli
Melanzane Miracoloso
Third Course
Salted Caramel Creme Brulee Parfait
Prev Next

People’s Kitchen

120 Commercial St. – Worcester




Crispy Duck Wontons

3 Bean Clementine Salad

Creamy Mushroom + Leek Soup



Grilled Flat Iron Steak

Fennel Crusted Atlantic Salmon

Locally-Made Sweet Potato Gnocchi



Peanut Butter Pretzel Bread Pudding

Lemon Sorbet


Wine List:


30 different selection: $23.14 (While Available)

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Peppercorn’s Grille

455 Park Ave. – Worcester


1st Course:

Lobster Corn Chowder

French Onion Soup

All ½ Salads available for extra $2



Veal Parmesan

Seafood Lasagna

Short Ribs

Roadhouse Mac n’ Cheese

Sicilian Stuffed Haddock



Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding


NY Cheesecake with Strawberry Glaze

Prev Next


157 Shrewsbury St. – Worcester


Official restaurant week menu has not yet been released.

Prev Next


281 Main St. – Worcester



The Best Onion Soup

Organic Baby Mixed Green Salad



Sirloin Steak with Mash Potato and Vegetable Orgy

Beer Battered Fish and Chips with Broccoli and Slaw

Chicken Broccoli Dinner




Lava Cake

Prev Next

Rosalina’s Kitchen

83 Hamilton St. – Worcester



Ricotta Sformato

New England Stuffed Clam

Baked Caprese Ravioli

Marinated Veggie Salad



Rosalina’s Handmade 3-Cheese Ravioli

Signature 4-Parm Avalanche

Pan Seared Haddock

Frutti Di Mare



Peanut Butter + Nutella Filled Fried Toasted Ravioli


Ricotta Cannoli

Prev Next

The Sole Proprietor

118 Highland St. – Worcester





Duxelle Cake

Fried Clam Strip Boat

Shrimp Maki


First Course:

House Salad

Cup of Clam Chowder

Soup du Jour


Entrée Course:

Oven Roasted Salmon Fillet

Grilled Mahi Mahi


$26.14 Option:

Steamed One Pound Lobster

Haddock with Lobster Newburg


LUNCH MENU - $14.14 (Mon – Fri 11:30am-4:00pm: Entrée and either an appetizer or a dessert)


First Course:

House Salad

Cup of Clam Chowder or Soup de Jour

Fried Clam Strips



Caesar Salad

Salmon Marsala

North Atlantic Haddock



Flourless Chocolate Cake

Apple Brown Betty


Hot Fudge or Strawberry Sundae

Prev Next

Tatnuck Grille

638 Chandler St. – Worcester



Shrimp Coctail

Caesar Salad

House Salad



Herb Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Baked Scallops

Honey BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Surf & Turf

Pan Seared Herb Marinated Rack of Lamb

Baked Stuffed Haddock



Chocolate Volcano Cake

Cheese Cake with Stawberries

Lemon Cello Cake

Prev Next

Thai Time

107 Highland St. – Worcester



Stuffed Angel Wings

Vegetarian Sampler

Steamed Mussels

Spicy Shrimp Salad


Main Course:

Lobster Padthai

Bangkok Duck

Seafood Curry

Khao Soi



Ice Cream (Ginger, Coconut)


Mochi Ice Cream (Green Team Mango, Sesame)

Prev Next

Tweeds Pub Restaurant

229 Grove St. – Worcester


Option #1:

Crock of French Onion Soup

14 oz. New York Sirloin Steak

Homemade Grapenut Pudding


Option #2:

Cup of New England Clam Chowder

Lazy Lobster Pie

Cheesecake with Strawberries

Prev Next

Ristorante Via Alto 27

27 High St. – Clinton


Official restaurant week menu has not yet been released.

Prev Next

VIA Italian Table

89 Shrewsbury St. – Worcester



Tomato + Mozzarella Sticks

Chicken + Sopressata Skewers

Saffron Arancini with Honey Aioli


First Course:

Insalata Mista

Chicken Orzo Soup



Grilled North Atlantic Salmon

Chicken Piccata

Pappardelle Bolognese

Braised Pork Shank with Parmesan Polenta


$26.14 Option:

Sliced Porchetta


THREE COURSE LUNCH - $14.14 a person (Mon-Fri 11:30am-4:00pm: choose one app or dessert with entrée)



Saffron Arancini with Honey Aioli

Truffle Fries with Parmigiano

Chicken Orzo Soup



Chicken Caesar Salad, Mozzarella, Provolone, and Tomato Pizza

Grilled Salmon + Spinach Salad

Pappardelle Bolognese



Two Scoops of Homemade Gelato

Chocolate Torta


Mini Spumoni Canoli

Prev Next


72 Shrewsbury St. -- Worcester


First Course:

Little Gem Salad

Pancetta Zeppole

Mushroom Bruschetta


Second Course:

Linguini Carbonara




Third Course:

Polenta Lasagna

Eggs in Purgatory


Marinara Pizza

Prev Next

Willy’s Steakhouse+Sushi

2 Grafton St. – Shrewsbury



Soup of the Day

Miso Soup


Mixed Field Greens Salad

Steakhouse Salad

Caesar Salad



Sushi Combo I – “Crunchy Ko” Special

Sushi Combo II – Tempura Roll + Nigiri Sushi

Vegetarian Conchigle Antipasto

White Truffle Hollandaise Fillet of Salmon

Szechwan Breast of Chicken

Willy’s Pan Seared Sirloin Steak



Death By Chocolate Mousse

Espresso Tartuffo


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