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Rocco's Real Life Recipes: Fast Flavor for Everyday Paperback – November 19, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

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.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0696237032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0696237034
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #848,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rocco DiSpirito is a chef and the author of nine award winning books including the back to back # 1 New York Times bestsellers NOW EAT THIS! And NOW EAT THIS! DIET. Rocco's NOW EAT THIS! series: features healthy makeovers of America's favorite comfort foods, from fried chicken to apple pie, all with zero bad carbs, zero bad fats, zero sugar, and maximum flavor. Everything you've always loved ... well, now you can enjoy it without worrying about what it will do to your waistline. All under 350 calories.

Chef Rocco DiSpirito is on a mission to change people's perception of healthy food by making delicious low-fat, low-calorie dishes easily accessible. To that end, he launched the Now Eat This! Truck, which features meals created from his wildly successful series of cookbooks of the same name.

Chef DiSpirito personally visits city schools to educate the students on the massive benefits of eating healthy foods. As part of that program, he will serve free lunches to the participating students paid for by the generosity of other New Yorkers who buy their lunch from the "Now Eat This Truck."

In September 2012 Rocco's weekly Show Now Eat This! With Rocco DiSpirito began airing in syndication across America. In each episode Rocco will challenge, guide and encourage a family and their children to make healthier lifestyle choices.

In September 2012 Rocco published The New York Times best-seller Now Eat This! Italian. Rocco traveled to Italy to learn how to prepare our favorite Italian dishes from the inside the kitchens of the real Mama's of Italy -all under 350 calories.

In 2012 Rocco founded Savory Place Media, his production house and its first project is Now Eat This! Italy for AOL Originals.

In January 2014, Rocco will publish The Pound A Day Diet featuring all new 5-ingredient easy to prepare recipes that produce rapid, safe weight loss.

Rocco began his culinary studies at the Culinary Institute of America and by 20 was working in the kitchens of legendary chefs around the globe. He was named Food & Wine Magazine's Best New Chef and was the first chef to appear on Gourmet Magazine's cover as America's Most Exciting Young Chef. His 3 Star Restaurant Union Pacific was a New York City culinary landmark for many years. Ruth Reichl said of her experience at Union Pacific, she "moaned as she ate" in her famous New York Times review. His reality series Rocco's Dinner Party aired during the summer of 2011 on Bravo.

Rocco is a frequent guest on Good Morning America, Rachael Ray, The Talk and The Dr. Oz Show and has appeared on The View, Today, The Doctors, Ellen and many other programs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By magnolia on November 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
With 175 recipes, Rocco's fourth book is humbly brilliant. Though Flavor holds a high spot in cookbook collection, this book is user friendly, and easy to get what you you want it. The chapters have been thoughtfully broken down into sections that will help you take what you might make for dinner (or lunch) already... like chicken, salmon, pork, etc. and take it to another level, with more deliciousness than you knew you could do in as little time as most the recipes take. It's empowering to see that you can make restaurant quality tastes and flavors at home without hours of prep work or ingredients you have never heard of. There are even side notes about what pan to use, and the ingredients are split into fresh, prepared, and staple items. What more could a home cook ask for, really?
Favorites? ... easy to use, realistically written, and the wine and food pairing section is great. even though dinner didn't take hours to prepare doesn't mean you can't have a perfectly paired (and affordable) wine, too. The fig and arugula salad is my current fall favorite, but I'm substituting fresh seckle pears as suggested... a great casual Nov. dinner with the chicken. I'm partial to all the shrimp recipes, but also find myself drawn to the "reserve recipes" which take a little longer...perfect for weekends in with family, alone, or for guests.
The quotes throughout the book are touching and ring true to many, even those who feel cooking is some foreign untouchable subject. They add a personal feel, and show how much love Rocco really has for the food he makes, shares, and writes about for others.
Such a great book... a great buy or gift for yourself, those you love, and even those you don't... Well done Rocco!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By WDS on November 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon the culinary genius of Rocco Di Spirito at his NYC eatery, Union Pacific, it was one of the best meals i ever had. Love him or hate him, nobody can deny that Rocco is truly gifted in the kitchen.

Rocco's first book was full of incrediblely creative and involved recipes with hard to find ingredients. His book was truly a reflection of his creativity and served as a great way for me to flex my culinary muscles. However I rarely used it because it was hard to find the ingredients and the recipes took my novice hands hours to complete.

This book on the other hand is easy to use but still has great recipes that are creative and fun. Many of the meals are under 15 minutes to prepare. To sum it up best, this book takes everday cooking and keeps it quick and easy to do but removes the mundane aspect of everyday cooking.

I was looking for a great cookbook that has unique recipes that wouldnt take hours to complete. This book delivers. The only reason i gave it 4 stars is because i havent tried all the recipes yet. This will likely be my go to book for weekday cooking. (I never write reviews but i have to support this effort, its just what ive been looking for in a cook book)

Great job overall and worth the investment.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Hansen on November 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is my first Rocco cookbook and definitely wont be my last! His recipes are so easy to follow with simple ingredients that are bursting with flavor. I made the poached salmon with crunchy lemon zest broccoli and it was hands down the best salmon I have ever cooked. Even better, it only took 30 minutes from start to finish.

thank you Rocco!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
`Rocco's Real Life Recipes' is `ronin' chef Rocco Dispirito's fourth book and probably his most useful book for the average home cook for whom food and cooking is just something they have to do. Rocco has given us what the great home cooking guru, John Thorne (in `Mouth Wide Open') considers the greatest contribution professional chefs can give to the home cook. A book on how those chefs cook at home for themselves, their families and guests. Like the great Jacques Pepin before him in `Chez Jacques', Rocco has given us something special in this genre.
I usually sense a superior cookbook as I read the introduction. Rocco, unfortunately, starts out with a section describing an elaborate pantry. It is not a poor list. None of these lists are, if you happen to cook and bake at least four times a week for three or four people. If you do not cook regularly, or cook to a relatively limited palate, many of the items on Rocco's list will expire or spoil before you get to use them in a recipe. The very best `recipe' for pantry stocking came from Madhur Jaffrey, who said (I'm paraphrasing) `...find the recipes you like to make on a regular basis, and stock up on the staples needed by those recipes...'. My experience is that buying `on speculation' that someday I'll use curry paste or miso paste or mirin or instant polenta or roasted red peppers or `assorted cheeses' almost invariably leads to wasting my money.
Then we come to a set of ten (10) photographic tutorials on basic techniques, and my interest perks up, especially when I see a very nice piece of advice on how to heat oil. I consider learning about this little culinary skill to be one of the most important cooking tips I have ever learned.
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