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Rocco Dispirito

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‘Top Chef’ Product-Placement Numbers Revealed

Of the cable programs featuring the most product placement, ‘Top Chef’ comes in at a respectable third place with over 9,000 instances in the first half of the year.

By Jessica Coen

David Chang Triumphs Again; Richman Named Douche Bag at Golden Clogs

Eater SF brings us the highlights of the 2008 Golden Clog awards from Sobe, and they're as follows: David Chang takes the Fergus for greatest achievement in pork and/or guts — another one for the mantle! Drew Nierporent hands the Swollen Liver Award to Ariane Daguin of D’Artagnan and issues a PSA: “Remember, if you need a resy at Nobu, don't call me.” Rocco Dispirito presents his eponymous award for worst career move to Tyler Florence for endorsing Applebee’s. Alan Richman takes the Douche Bag Award for being a hater, while Mike Nagrant, of Hungryman.com, gets the Steingarten for actually getting food. Perhaps the real shocker: Thomas Keller gets the Mario award for whoring himself out without running his empire into the ground. Congrats all around! SobeWire: Live-Blogging the 2008 Golden Clog Awards [Eater SF]

Rocco DiSpirito Will Come to Your Home, Even If You're Not a Model

Rocco DiSpirito
We're off till Tuesday. If you're looking for something to do over the long weekend, how about dusting off your résumé and telling A&E why you should get the chance to cook with Rocco DiSpirito? We just got the casting call:
Celebrity chef and author Rocco DiSpirito wants to cook with YOU in YOUR HOME! If you are planning an important meal or just want to share a significant moment over food, then A&E’s new show “Rocco to the Rescue!” (working title) wants to help. Invite Rocco into your kitchen, and he will teach you what to cook, where to find the ingredients and how to prepare the ideal meal for your extra special occasion.

What to Expect From the New ‘Top Chef’

We just screened the first episode of this season’s Top Chef, and again, we find the show compelling. And just the same as previous ones! Padma speaks slowly, Tom is bald and cocky, and Rocco DiSpirito and Tony Bourdain are back onboard. The location is a nonfactor — the main contribution Chicago makes is a Pizzeria Uno product placement. But the contestants still fit into those archetypes we love to argue about with Adam Platt.

Per Se Raises Prices; Shill for Whole Foods, Win Food

You’re going to regret not going to Per Se the last time you had a chunk of change to burn: Thomas Keller’s luxe restaurant has raised prices for both the regular and vegetarian menus to $275 for nine courses. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Violence continues in the Flatiron club district, as two men were arrested for stabbing a patron and a bouncer at Club Spy after a fight erupted in the VIP room. [NYP] As part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Green the Capitol project, the cafeterias are getting a locavore makeover, with the goal to sell as much locally grown, organic food as possible. [WP]

‘Culinary Conductor’ Reinvents Himself as ‘Gourmet Dude’

Gourmet Dude
A while back we peeked at the audition clips for Bertolli’s online cooking show with Rocco DiSpirito, and decided we loved, loved, loved a clip by Pete Chelala, who submitted a Daily Show–esque spoof called “Food Train.” Sadly his disco-dancing in a carpenter belt loaded with seasonings and spatulas didn’t convince the judges, but that’s okay — geniuses are never understood in their day, and a clip Chelala sends us from his new YouTube show, “Gourmet Dude,” convinces us he is just that. We have to warn you: Nothing much happens in this first installment, but then again nothing much happened in the first five minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey either. We have no doubt that good things lie ahead. Gourmet Dude [YouTube] Earlier: ‘Culinary Conductor’ and ‘Love Chef’ Woo Rocco Online

New York to Charlie Trotter: Bring It On!

So Charlie Trotter is coming to New York at long last. (Or so the New York Times says today, reporting that the celebrated Chicago chef has plans for a restaurant on East 22nd Street, at One Madison Park.) Our question is, what took him so long? Trotter has been considered one of the top chefs in America for years, but big names in second-rate food cities rarely make a big splash here. Paul Prudhomme, the pride of New Orleans, had only mixed success here, and in recent years Charles Ramseyer of Seattle (at Wild Salmon), and Fabio Trabocchi of Virginia (at Fiamma), both the toasts of their former towns, have received tepid responses here. (Tim Love, the pride of Texas, washed out completely with Lonesome Dove.)

D. Freeman vs. A. Platt; Ditch Your Topps Meat

For the first time Danyelle Freeman is one step behind Adam Platt in her review choice, and she matches his star selection for Accademia di Vino. [NYDN] Related: Molto Trendy [NYM] Blue Ribbon at Six Columbus is expected to open in a couple of weeks. [Eater] Related: Blue Ribbon Sushi at Columbus Circle Will Open in October Hung offers insight into DiSpirito’s comment that the Top Chef contestant reminds him of himself: “He’s confident, he’s cocky, he’s good looking … his technique is on, his flavor profile is my kind of food. I respect him a lot.” [Eat for Victory/VV]

‘Exotic Spice’ Padma and ‘Ethnic Feast’ Marcus Samuelsson Among Most Stylish New Yorkers

Exotic Spices
When Esquire picked Bar Veloce’s Thomas Crowley one of the “Best Dressed Real Men in America” this month (and posed Simon Hammerstein and David Chang in pricey duds for its “Angry Young Men” spread), we realized that restaurateur style doesn’t stop at Batali’s clogs and Bobby Flay’s mom jeans. Now Us Weekly has posted its list of the “25 Most Stylish New Yorkers,” and we know a couple of the names.

A Restaurant World ‘Howl’

A reader sent us this Ginsbergian screed earlier this week, which struck us as a perfect snapshot of the restaurant world, circa summer 2007. We leave you now for the holiday weekend. Enjoy!
DanYelle as a restaurant critic? Anne Burell shticking it up in the kitchen with a skirt with horsies on it? David Chang morphing from shy nice smiley ramen guy to F-bomb dropping Esquire spread noodle mob boss? Johnny Iuzzini in a meringue body stocking? Tattoos as the new talent. Top Chef as the new Michelin. Glorified fryers, grass fed peaches, 1,000 day meat. I mean, it’s as if we are all now Cracker Jacks ripping open the next prize every time we open a menu. It's always going to be a disposable toy. Or wash-off ink. It's a 3 onion ring circus, this industry. We have our freaks and our clowns and our daredevils and our bearded ladies. It's "I invented the lobster roll and that white wicker chair to sit on while you eat it." Huh? It's sellouts: Bertoli, Starbucks, Target, FreshDirect, Appleby’s. It's all hypocritical: Eat fresh … and then buy my frozen dinner meals. Hitchcock would have tapped into a whole new genre with the horror of the food world.
An Appalled Spectator

‘Culinary Conductor’ and ‘Love Chef’ Woo Rocco Online

Rocco DiSpirito
You probably don’t care that Rocco DiSpirito will be hosting a cooking show on Bertolli’s website, but the people who are auditioning to be his co-host sure do! As you might guess, there are a few oddballs in the bunch: In one video, Jernard “The Love Chef” and Rocco’s self-described No. 1 fan promises to “spread love all over the kitchen,” only to bark out his cooking demo like a drill instructor. Then there’s Nicole Navarro, a retired Vegas showgirl “inspired by culinary” who, as if to make up for her use of “culinary” as a noun, ends her demo with a high leg kick.

Rocco Pities the Poor Models, Treats Them to Bicycles

Le Call and Ciara Christensen
The recent episode of Top Chef starring Rocco DiSpirito touted the profitability of the frozen-dinner business, but apparently it’s not that profitable — after all, if Rocco were looking to wow a pair of models like Le Call and Ciara Christensen (who according to this week’s Look Book, “do everything together. Everything.”), you’d think he’d treat them to something better than the Schwinn bikes he seems to have given them a day after meeting them, no? Not that a limited-edition Pea Picker reissue is anything to scoff at, retailing for $350 — but why didn’t Rocco splurge for a couple of sexy Vespas like his own? Clearly he should have. “We said we’d take him out to dinner,” admits Le Call, “but I don’t know.” Girls, a word of advice: Use those long legs to pedal away fast. The Look Book: Le Call and Ciara Christensen [NYM]

End of the Line for Ureña; Rocco Admits Douche-baggery

Alex Ureña is closing Ureña and turning it into “a bistro-style eater called Pamplona.” The modern Spanish curse continues! Now Suba alone carries the banner. [Eater] Rocco DiSpirito doesn’t seem to mind being called a douche bag: “I was thinking he must have worked for me to know I'm a douche bag,” the chef tells Nina Lalli. [VV] Related: Joey, Latest ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner, on Why Rocco Is a Douche Bag On his Top Chef blog Tony Bourdain has some wise words to console Joey: “Joey's the chef of a damn famous restaurant in New York freakin' City. The place every ambitious cook and chef hopes to work — in the big leagues. So he's already a "Top Chef" — and already a winner in my book.” [Bravo] Related: Adam Platt Finds the Moral in Last Night’s ‘Top Chef’