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Celebrated Chef Rocco DiSpirito's passion for cooking began at the very young age of 11 and he has never looked back. At 16 he entered the Culinary Institute of America, and at 18 began working for legendary chefs worldwide. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in business, Rocco immediately jumped into the New York restaurant scene working for such renowned chefs as Gray Kunz, David Bouley and Charles Palmer. At Gray Kunz's Lespinasse, Rocco began to find his voice as a chef. In 1995 Rocco opened Dava and quickly earned 2 stars from Ruth Reichl at the New York Times.
At 31, Rocco opened Union Pacific in NYC and received 3 stars from the New York Times. This time Ruth stated, "in less capable hands, mad delusions, in DiSpirito's hands, pure genius."
Additionally, Rocco's culinary credentials earned significant editorial praise including, Food and Wine magazine's "Best New Chefs", the first chef to grace the cover of Gourmet magazine as "America's Most Exciting Young Chef", and Voted America's "Leading Chef of his Generation", also by Gourmet magazine. The New York Magazine dubbed him The Hottest Young Chef.
Rocco's many talents have garnered him hundreds of articles in travel, fashion and lifestyle. Referred to as America's original "Rockstar Chef", Rocco has been featured in Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, W, The New York Times, Details, House Beautiful, Us, Ok and People, including the Sexiest Man Alive issue.
As an author Rocco received The James Beard Award for his first cookbook, Flavor. Rocco went on to author, Rocco's Italian American 2004, Rocco's 5 Minute Flavor 2005, Rocco's Real Life Recipes 2007, and Rocco Gets Real 2009. In March 2010 Rocco published Now Eat This! 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories. This collection of healthier versions of America's "downfall" dishes sailed straight to the coveted #1 slot on the New York Times bestseller list and continues to take the nation by storm. Rocco's latest book, Now Eat This! Diet: Lose Up to 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks Eating 6 Meals a Day! (the second installment in the Now Eat This! Series), has hit the New York Times bestseller list after only 8 days on the shelves.
Rocco starred in the Food Network series, Melting Pot, the NBC hit reality series The Restaurant, and the A&E series, Rocco Gets Real. His new TV series, Rocco's Dinner Party, will air on Bravo in June. Rocco is a content partner on The Rachel Ray Show, a frequent guest on Good Morning America, Top Chef, and more. Rocco has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Chelsea Lately, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and NBC's The Biggest Loser, and was the first chef to compete on the ABC mega hit Dancing With the Stars.
Rocco thrives on one-on-one interaction and, as a featured guest at nationwide cooking events, regularly offers inspiring speeches and demonstrations. In 2006 Rocco began his quest toward a more active and healthy lifestyle competing in Triathlons, and a 70.3 Ironman. In November 2009, Rocco was the spokesperson for and completed the 70.3 Ironman in Clearwater, Florida, setting a personal best in time.
Rocco has had significant corporate relationships with Bertolli, Martini and Rossi, and Lincoln Continental to name a few. Additionally, Rocco's cookware and family foods have been sold nationally.
Rocco lives the good life, every day, in NYC and appreciates all that cooking has brought to him.