Chef Rocco Dispirito - Biography

August 2013

Rocco DiSpirito is an Italian-American chef, cookbook author, and radio and television personality from Queens, New York. His culinary foundation was laid early on by his grandmother Nicolina, his first teacher. Later, at the prodigal age of 16, DiSpirito began his formal studies at the Culinary Institute of America and also trained across the pond at Le Jardin des Cygne inFrance with Dominique Cecillon and Gray Kunz.

Back stateside, DiSpirito completed a degree in business at Boston University and worked again with Kunz at Lespinasse, when the restaurant received four stars from Ruth Reichl in The New York Times. DiSpirito subsequently opened two Manhattan restaurants, Union Pacific in 1997 and after that, Rocco’s in 2003, which was also the subject of a reality show called “The Restaurant.” In between those ventures he debuted his Food Network show The Melting pot. He’s been named “Best New Chef” by Food and Wine and “America’s Most Exciting Young Chef” by Gourmet. His latest series Rocco Gets Real aired on A&E. DiSpirito’s first cookbook Flavor, won a James Beard award and since then the prolific chef has authored seven more books.