Celebrity Chef and Cookbook Author
Rocco DiSpirito was born and raised in Jamaica, Queens. His culinary experience began at age eleven in his mother Nicolin's kitchen. By the age of 16, DiSpirito entered the Culinary Institute of America. He graduated in 1986 and studied abroad at Jardin de Cygne in France with Dominique Cecillon and Gray Kunz. In 1990, DiSpirito earned a B.S. in Business from Boston University.
He worked at Adrienne in New York and as Chef de Partie at Aujourd'hui in Boston. DiSpirito then joined Lespinasse's opening team. In 1997, DiSpirito opened Union Pacific in New York City's Gramercy Park as Chef and Owner. In 1999, DiSpirito was named Food & Wine's Best New Chef, and in 2000, Gourmet magazine called him "America's Most Exciting Young Chef."
DiSpirito opened Rocco's 22nd Street in the summer of 2003 while cameras for NBC's The Restaurant watched and took notes. Later that summer, more than nine million viewers a week tuned in to see the ups and downs of DiSpirito's family-inspired eatery. The second series aired in the spring of 2004.
In 2004, DiSpirito began his radio career at WOR AM710 and hosted Food Talk in over 300 East Coast markets. Having increased listeners and ratings, he took his show across the country through syndication. The popularity of the show led to DiSpirito's increased interest in helping the average consumer "Grab the Good Life" through improved home cooking.
DiSpirito is the author of Flavor (Hyperion, October 2003), a unique cook book that breaks down his concept of building dishes on the four basic flavors, making his unique approach to food accessible to the home cook. He launched Rocco Cookware and Rocco Family Food in March of 2004. His second book Rocco's Italian American was co-written with his "Mama" Nicolina DiSpirito. DiSpirito's latest book is 5 Minute Flavor.
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