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Rocco Dispirito

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Rayuela Brings More Brunch to the LES

Dumbo/Fulton Ferry: Friday night at Rebar promises “free partial-nude drawing.” [Dumbo NYC] East Village: Simone on First Avenue is closed, but let’s pray not for good. [Down by the Hipster] Lower East Side: Rayuela has launched a weekend brunch with arepas and poached eggs, churros and Mayan chocolate, and guanabana mimosas plus live salsa music Sundays. [Grub Street] Midtown West: Just when you thought he'd had enough of the limelight, Rocco DiSpirito will be the guest chef tomorrow at the Condé Nast cafeteria. [Eater] Times Square: Ruby Tuesday will sidle up next to Red Lobster but may fare better with New York diners thanks to “fully upholstered chairs.” [Lost City] Williamsburg: New fro-yo destination /eks/ whips up fresh organic yogurt and incorporates recycling holes into its cartoon-covered walls. [Gridskipper]

Joey, Latest ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner, on Why Rocco Is a Douche Bag

Top Chef contestant Joey Paulino may have been a victim of casting last night when he was eliminated instead of Howie or Hung, who both made bigger mistakes but also seem to be the show’s emerging villains. Still, the native Long Islander and executive chef of Café des Artistes saved his ire for guest judge Rocco DiSpirito. He talked to us about why his fellow Long Islander is a “douche bag”.

In Defense of Rachael Ray and the Food Network

Anthony Bourdain’s smackdown of the Food Network stars on Michael Ruhlman’s blog — in which the chef calls Sandra Lee “pure evil” and Paula Deen and drag queen Divine lookalikes, among other things — caused quite a stir the other day. Readers cheered Tony, and jumped on the Food Network with both feet. “But will the Food Network listen? Not likely,” Ruhlman lamented in a follow-up post. To him, the reason is obvious: Americans (other than his readers) are sheeple, shuffling Philistines who celebrate Rocco DiSpirito and Rocco Siffredi alike. “America is a mediocrity factory, and the Food Network is no different from any other business trafficking in cheap goods,” Ruhlman sighs. As opposed to trafficking in cheap shots — that’s Ruhlman’s specialty.

Chodorow Repudiates Celebrity Chefs, Opens Fish Restaurant

It wasn’t hard to see, after Jeffrey Chodorow’s infamous dustup with Rocco DiSpirito three years ago, that he had about had it with celebrity chefs. Except, apparently, he hadn’t: Chodorow hired Todd English a year later, in hopes, futile, that he’d redeem Tuscan, successor to Tuscan Steak. Earlier this week it was revealed that English Is Italian, the third restaurant to fill that space, will also bite the dust. Finally, Chodorow’s group is determined to avoid celebrity chefs. English Is Italian closes March 17. Wild Salmon, a seafood restaurant with a Pacific Northwest vibe, is slated to open in its place the first week of April.

Rocco's Reality; Sacco's Igloo; Three Ways Into the Waverly

Rocco returns to reality TV. [Snack] Now in Carroll Gardens, "the largest selection of Italian after-dinner drinks in the country." [Gridskipper] Graydon Carter not looking to be the godfather of Bank Street. [NYP] Three ways to score a table at Ye Waverly. [NYO] Sacco has an igloo. [NYO] More zingers from the Batali roast. [NYDN] Rogue taxidermists teach "jackalope"-making at Union Hall. [Gawker] Did Food Network lift celeb-kitchens idea? [Gawker]

Mario Batali Is a Kobe Human, and Other Great Lines From His Roast

Mario Batali looked bigger than life last night, as he sat in a carved wooden throne taking punches from speaker after speaker at his celebrity roast at Capitale. The event, which benefited the Food Bank of New York, was simultaneously tame and vulgar: Every imaginable anatomical insult was made, but there was barely a mention of Super Mario's actual partying practices, which are legendary in restaurant circles. Rachael Ray and Rocco DiSpirito, neither of whom were present, took far worse abuse. Still, the roasters, who ranged from Sarah Silverman and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to Anthony Bourdain, got the merry pasta mogul pretty good.

DiSpirito Bottoms Out

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You know all about adorable Rocco — the restaurants, the failed restaurants, all the TV appearances (and failed TV shows). What you don't know is just how bad things have gotten for him. Bertolli, the olive-oil company, has been mounting a stealth-marketing campaign, in which hacky "chefs" indirectly pitch the product. And, as our well-fed colleagues at Grub Street have noticed, Mr. DiSpirito is at the fore of that gastroridiculous bunch. Grub Street has the whole story. Having Hit Rock Bottom, Rocco DiSpirito Speaks [Grub Street]

Having Hit Rock Bottom, Rocco DiSpirito Speaks

Rocco DiSpirito's descent from the heights of gastronomy has been a steep one: He started out as one of the most talented and lauded young chefs in New York, made a jerk of himself on TV, was demoted to "Food Talk," and then got fired from that. Now Rocco's abasement is complete: He has been reduced to shilling for Bertolli's stealth-marketing campaign, which recently involved 100 poofy-toqued "chefs" staging a mock protest of the company (their grocery products, in this delightful marketing alternate reality, supposedly keep people from eating out). This had to happen: Rocco could not attempt a comeback until he reached the pinnacle of cheesiness, and even his appearance on awfulplasticsurgery.com didn't get him there. So what does the man have to say for himself? "Bertolli makes their dinners just like we do in the restaurant world." Wait — he's working in a restaurant now?

‘Food Talk’ Finally Finds the Right Voice

WOR's "Food Talk" radio show never quite recovered from the loss of its longtime host Arthur Schwartz. Like the CBS Evening News after Walter Cronkite or the Celtics after Larry Bird, "Food Talk" got by, but the magic was gone. Hiring celebrity chefs like Rocco DiSpirito and Tyler Florence to discuss home cooking, rather than the New York restaurant scene, didn't help. Now, in a more promising move, WOR has brought on Mike Colameco, late of Colameco's Food Show on PBS.