Chef Rocco DiSpirito ’86, Easy Healthy Eating
CIA Alumni Bio
Chef Rocco DiSpirito is a chef, author and television personality. His latest cookbook, Rocco’s Keto Comfort Food Diet: Eat the Foods You Miss and Still Lose up to a Pound a Day, was released on March 3, 2020. The book contains recipes that deliver all the flavor and texture of beloved hearty, nostalgic dishes with a keto-friendly twist. Formerly the executive chef for the Standard Grill in Manhattan’s meatpacking district, Chef DiSpirito is a competitor on Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions of The Food Network along with fellow alumni Richard Blais ’98, Amanda Freitag ’89, Maneet Chauhan ’00, and Marcel J. Vigneron ’04.
Chef DiSpirito opened his premier restaurant, Union Pacific, in 1997 in New York City to widespread critical acclaim. The New York Times gave the restaurant a three-star rating in 1998, saying, “Mr. DiSpirito seems to think about flavor in ways that ordinary people don’t.” In 2002, Union Pacific earned a second three-star review from the New York Observer.
In addition to his position at Union Pacific, Chef DiSpirito was consulting chef for Tuscan and the chef and co-owner of Rocco’s 22nd Street, which celebrates the Italian-American cuisine on which he was raised. NBC featured the behind-the-scenes preparation and opening of Rocco’s 22nd Street in the reality show The Restaurant, which aired in July 2003.
Best Selling Author
Chef DiSpirito was a featured chef on the Food Network’s Melting Pot Mediterranean and has served as a guest judge on Top Chef. Chef DiSpirito is a New York Times bestselling author of 14 cookbooks including the Rocco’s Healthy & Delicious (2017), The Negative Calorie Diet (2015), Cook Your Butt Off (2015), The Pound a Day Diet (2014), the Now Eat This series, Rocco’s Five Minute Flavor (2011), Rocco Gets Real (2008), Rocco’s Real Life Recipes (2007), Rocco’s Italian American (2004), and Flavor (2003). He hosted a cooking show on Bravo TV called Rocco’s Dinner Party and on ION TV called Now Eat This! with Rocco DiSpirito. Chef DiSpirito is a big proponent of eating healthy foods and has launched an online store featuring his own line of organic protein powders and shakes, protein bars, and organic flour blends.
Over the years, Chef DiSpirito has earned many honors. He was proclaimed “America’s Most Exciting Young Chef” by Gourmet magazine in 2000, named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs in America” in 1999, and a “Rising Star” by Restaurant Hospitality that same year. He was also featured in People’s 2002 “Sexiest Men Alive” issue.
Chef Rocco DiSpirito majored in culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He is a chef, author, and TV personality based in New York City.