Foodies across the country, are embracing chef Rocco DiSpirito - as one of the brightest stars of his generation. His hard work and dedication, have earned him a reputation as a highly talented chef who delights the public and restaurant critics alike.
Named Food & Wine's Best New Chef 1999, nominated for a 1999 James Beard Foundation Award and recipient of a three-star review from The New York Times, Melting Pot's Rocco has galvanized the gastronomic world with innovative culinary creations at his restaurant, Union Pacific.
Confident that cooking was his true passion at a very early age, Rocco entered the Culinary Institute of America at age 16. After graduating in 1986, he continued studying classical technique at the prestigious Jardin de Cygne in Paris, where he secured a coveted stagiere with Dominique Cecillon. Rocco immersed himself in French regional food and wine, wandering local markets and touring vineyards for nearly two years.
Rocco returned to New York in 1988, to work under Jean-Michel Diot and Jacques Chibois at Adrienne at Hotel Maxim's de Paris (now the Peninsula Hotel). Eager to increase his knowledge of the business end of the restaurant industry, he received a BA in business from Boston University in 1990. While working in chef Mark Baker's kitchen at Aujour d'Hui in Boston, Rocco first saw the deft combination of French technique and Asian ingredients, now a hallmark of his own style. To explore the emerging cross-cultural cuisine further, he returned to Manhattan, embarking on a series of stagieres with the city's leading chefs: David Bouley, Charles Palmer, Gilbert Le Coze and Gray Kunz. Kunz, intrigued by the young chef, added Rocco to Lespinasse's opening team.
In September 1995, Rocco opened Dava Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. His cooking attracted a proliferation of favorable reviews and features in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Crain's New York Business, The New York Observer and Food Arts.
At Union Pacific, Rocco continues to dazzle diners with his compelling creativity and signature penchant for developing surprising combinations of ingredients. "I work to create visual and gustatory complexity and depth in my dishes," he says. "It's important to me, that a dish is a balanced interplay of interesting textures and bright flavors."
Rocco lives in Manhattan, and enjoys playing the guitar, mountain biking, and collecting wine and cookbooks.
For more information about Rocco DiSpirito click here: http://www.roccodispirito.com