About the Author
As an 11-year-old boy, Rocco DiSpirito began helping his mother, Nicolina, in her own kitchen-an experience that sparked his intense interest in food and cooking. Now one of today's most exciting chefs followed by millions, the Jamaica, Queens, native entered the Culinary Institute of America when he was 16. 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. Food & Wine
named him its Best New Chef in 1999, and the following year, 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 8 million viewers a week tuned in to see the ups and downs of DiSpirito's family-inspired eatery. The second installment of the series aired in spring 2004.