Rocco DiSpirito was born and raised in Jamaica, Queens.
His culinary experience began at age eleven in his mother
Nicolina’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.
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. DiSpirito’s second book, Rocco’s Italian-
American was released in November of 2004 (also by
Books:The Negative Calorie Diet, January 2016
The Pound A Day Diet, January 2014
Now Eat This! Italian, April 2012
Now Eat This! 100 Quick Calorie Cuts At Home / On-The-Go, October 2011
The Now Eat This! Diet, April 2011
Now Eat This!, March 2010
Rocco Gets Real, November 2008
Rocco's Real-Life Recipes, November 2007
Rocco's Five Minute Flavor, December 2005