Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Reality Check With ... Rocco DiSpirito (BRAVO's "Top Chef")

RealityCheckByGina chats with Rocco DiSpirito, tonight's special guest judge on Bravo's Top Chfef.

RC: When did your interest in cooking begin? Is it something that you were always passionate about?
Rocco: I started when I was 11, I wanted a summer job & a little more money in my pocket. I asked my mom for an increase, she told me to get a job. My job was in a pizzeria, I fell in love with the industry right away.

RC: Where did your training begin?

Rocco: When I was 14, I started working at a pretty serious restaurant. It wasn’t a 3 star restaurant but they were very serious & very busy so everyone needed to be on point. That was one of the most intense experiences of my life

RC: There are so many chefs out there. How do you separate yourself from the pack and get noticed?

Rocco: I think what’s interesting about any art or craft is that: if you have a point of view as a craftsman, you can become an artist. You start to discover that you’re feeling things innately. There’s a sincere point of view & it starts to come out if you free it instead of saying, “Well, it has to be like this.” If you go with your gut, all of a sudden, you stand out.

RC: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Rocco: There have been a lot of highlights, epiphanies, and great moments: getting 3 stars from the NY Times, being on magazine covers & television. I never imagined I’d author a book. There are a lot of moments I’ve felt very fortunate for.

RC: You have done a reality show yourself before (NBC’s “The Restaurant”). How difficult is it to focus on what you’re doing when you have lights, sound, and cameras following your every move?
Rocco: It’s very difficult, I won’t say it was fine & easy. There were an enormous amount of challenges. I’m grateful for the experience. What’s interesting about Top Chef was that it’s very structured & my role was very defined. It’s fun to be part of something that was so different.

RC: Have you watched the previous seasons of Top Chef before?
Rocco: I’ve seen a few episodes, especially this season.

RC: What do you feel separates Top Chef as the superior cooking show?
Rocco: Well, I’m pretty sure in the ratings, it’s the number one cooking show. What makes it superior is the credibility that Tom lends to the show. Sure, there’s drama but the cooking is taken very seriously. There’s no need to amp it up. You look at the other cooking shows out there, and there tends to be a lot more drama than cooking.

RC: What is your involvement in this upcoming episode of Top Chef?
Rocco: It’s a supersized episode & I’ll be the guest judge. I’ll help with the quickfire challenge where they deal with frozen food. It’s very unexpected & surprising. When you mention frozen, most chefs go, “Ugh!” But that’s a reality for home cooks.

RC: What is next for you?

Rocco: I just finished my 4th book, Rocco’s Real Life Recipes, which is getting the home cook to find fresh food, cook it, and get it on the table. In real life, we don’t have any time but we want to eat well. It’s a shame when people order out five nights a week. It will be out in November.

Top Chef airs tonight at 10pm EST on BRAVO


Freddie Sirmans said...

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stan said...

Hell’s Kitchen is a great television series. I am watching its 8th season on net. This season is also very interesting.