Rocco DiSpirito

Rocco thinks the key to any chef's success is making people happy.

on Jun 16, 20110

Woo-Hoo! We finally did it. After years of discussions with Bravo, we came up with a show that worked for us both. It was very important to me that the show not only honors the art and craft of cooking but also celebrates why we cook and not just how! My two favorite words in the English language are: Dinner time! Dinner is the time to share treasured moments with people you care about, plus of course, you get to eat! So when Bravo offered me a chance to host my own dinner party (actually two dinner parties and NO check), naturally I was in. And you're invited too. But this isn't any old dinner party. There's a star-studded and a chef-studded twist.

While I'm hosting my celebrity guests at the table, two chefs are back in my kitchen cooking up a big meal. They're responsible for the food, beverages, service, and décor -- in short, everything. I give them all the resources a chef could ask for and they compete against each other to see who will throw the best dinner party. The winner takes home $20,000. Not bad for a night's work, eh?

The parties are always fun, but it's usually the food we can't stop talking about. After dinner, I see if there is anything that draws universal praise from my guests. Whatever the reaction, I'm pretty candid with the chefs.

Honestly, I know they're trying their best. I'll be the first to admit that one of the reasons I love to cook a dinner is to soak up the appreciative ooohs and aaahs from the table. Too bad it doesn't always work out that way. One Thanksgiving long ago, as a young, cocky, an inexperienced cook, instead of a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings I made turkey roulades with sweet potato velouté. My sister Maria was appalled and rightfully so. I was trying to impress with my creativity and skill but really what I should have done was make something delicious.

25 comments
David S Wicklander
David S Wicklander

ROCCO, I remember a show of yours in the past...I believe you were opening a new resteraunt in NYC, your 2nd if I am correct. I LOVED that show, I love your new show...I love watching you dinner party.....I SO LOVED your last guests...Mr and Mrs. Albert Manzo (thought it was great you had them BOTH ON), Joey Fatone...was a fan back in the day....I LOVE YOUR NEW SHOW ! ! ! All the best to you.....

Sincerely, David S Wicklander St Francis, MN

Fan??
Fan??

One show was enough! It's one thing to be self-assured and confident; it's entirely another to be arrogant and a jerk......you are the latter. I will wait until Top Chef returns to watch Bravo again.

Also, Bravo, lose the 'Real Housewvives...' franchise.....there is nothing real about amy of the programming.

sunflower
sunflower

I think you did a great job! I was a little taken back by your roughness with the chefs, but only for a minute. I love the show!!!!!!!!!!!!

bravo viewer
bravo viewer

Rocco you have evolved and I really enjoy watching the dinner parties and competition. You are a bit stiff and there is a lot of redundancy with your comments/explanations in each episode. I am excited to see you less stuck on your self and more like a good chef. BTW you are looking hooter than ever!!!

Teri Fields
Teri Fields

JJ you are adoreable===and your food really look very comforting===i can't wait to try the oxtails===you nailed the theme of the competition. I'm sure with your skills you could adapt to any and many different situations====i'm proud of you and i know your family is too===keep up the good work young brother

Vgirl
Vgirl

I love it! Don't change a thing!

Anne Booker
Anne Booker

I would love to get the recipe for the Banana Bread Pudding. Please tell us that you'll be listing some recipes.

MrsCelaya
MrsCelaya

I was so excited to watch this show. I love BRAVO and I am a HUGE fan of Top Chef. But, I was so put off my Rocco's dismissive attitude and unnecessary cruelty towards his chefs. I mean, when you watch these shows, you definitely expect criticism. On TOP CHEF Tom Colicchio is constructive and you sense that he's constructively mentoring the cheftestants. Rocco, who is luciously sexy, just ripped those poor kids apart. If Rocco wasn't so incredibly hot, it would have been uncomfortable to watch. I don't think he gave his very talented chefs their due respect. This isn't a teaching kitchen in France, Rocco. Show some love. He seems to forget that THEY are cooking for HIM. Who's to say they aren't gonna hock a massive spitball in his souffle. I would. And then I'd ask if he'd make out with me.

lori2carr
lori2carr

Hello Rocco!!

First and foremost, I hope your mother is doing well. She seems to be a strong and hard working women who loves you dearly. Now, on with my comments about the show. GREAT choice with Chef JJ!!! He embraced the theme of the challenge and ran with it. Nothing against Geoff as a chef, but he cooked more up-to-date cuisine which was not the "THEMED" challenge at all. Not to mention, there wouldn't have been an outside speakeasy in the prohibition-era with illegal alcohol in plain sight. "SPEAKEASY" by definition is an establishment where illegal alcohol was sold.

That being said, I have had the pleasure of seeing up-to-date recipes created by Chef JJ, and he too can cook fine-dining quality food. Chef JJ won because he is obviously a great chef, being able to take the type of food reminiscent of that era and upscaling it to present day with his own spin utilizing modernized complimenting ingredients, not an easy task. For anyone to even suggest that Marcus Samuelsson doesn't know about high-quality food representative of the prohibition-era is "quacky", for the lack of a better insulting word, lol I personally want to thank you Rocco, for giving young talent the chance for exposure and recognition. I look forward to more of Rocco's Dinner Party this season. Also, I will follow Chef JJ's career because he is definitely going places.

FloFlo
FloFlo

What happened on the show? Fine dinning is also presentation, we seemed to have forget this. We need to rethink the point system, the audience needs to know what is going on. Why would you have meat eaters and vegetarians and no explanation both meals being prepared. A lot of talk.......

Michele M
Michele M

I found that between the two chefs, Geoff attempted to prepare a meal that was more like "cooking 101" where instead of innovation, it was simply an attempt to just serve what he thought to be upper crust food. It was IMITATIVE.

Chef JJ had precisely the right idea in his cooking. He took simple, common recipes and improved them immensely making them into high class dishes which not only shows true culinary talent, but also expresses a thought and an ingenuity that Chef Geoff does not possess.

Furthermore, beyond being the most obvious choice for the winner, Chef JJ remembered that he was on TV!! That is the whole idea. He had personality and zest; he was likable, yet shocking. These are the qualities of a great tv chef and I would vigorously campaign for another tv spot for Chef JJ if not his very own TV show. Don't miss out on this one Bravo!

Lianna123
Lianna123

I absolutely loved this first episode. I was really nervous about the premise, but after watching the first episode I really enjoyed the concept and execution. I look forward to more episodes. On the note of poster FWN: There's no need to come across as a snob. Just because guests who've experienced and eaten food you can't imagine enjoy something you consider "low brow" or "diner food" is no reason to be rude. Oxtails appear in many fine dining settings. It's fine to dislike something, but to insult others for enjoying it and question there taste is rude. Each chef did a great job, end of story.

Flooo
Flooo

What happened on the show? Fine dinning is also presentation, we seemed to forget this. We need to rethink the point system, the audience need to know dish by dish. We had no real explanation on what was going on. Why would you have meat eaters and vegetarians and not explain all the meals being repaired. Hope this is not another talk, talk, talk and nothing said.......

candyce
candyce

I would like to let you know that I am free for one of your wonderful tasty evenings.....have your people call my people....it was a fun show and look forward to each week.

maureen leibovitz
maureen leibovitz

Rocco great blog Even better concept for a show. I really enjoyed it. Thankyou for sticking to your vision. Maureen from Ma

Kyle P.
Kyle P.

Chef J.J. is absolutely amazing. Above having intense cooking skills and a distinguished palette, he has personality and that is what tv, especially culinary tv needs!!

You all need to keep him in Bravo's future culinary tv show plans! His name is synonymous with high ratings and large audiences.

DawnDiff
DawnDiff

I thought the concept of the show, and the show itself, was really terrific. Rocco is a great host, and brings a breadth of knowledge to the dinner party table. I really liked the added angle of the decoration/theme for the party, as that is definitely something that interests me as an all-around hostess. You hit it out of the park yet again, Bravo!

jivande
jivande

Please get over yourself!!!

~Sher~
~Sher~

Hi Rocco...

Really enjoyed the premiere episode of your new Bravo show...

No doubt it's gonna be a MAJOR HIT...

Have a fun and good-food-dinner parties Summer...

FWN
FWN

I went on line to check Geoff's site at the Copper Fish to check ther menu I noticed he was having a Chef Demo with a renown chef to assist him. I signed up immediately. Maybe both you and Marcus should attend also to watch two masters at work.

FWN
FWN

Though I know I would never be asked, after seeing the show I am glad of that. It appears that you and your guests enjoy diner food and not restaurant cuisine. You can see the difference between Harlem food and Cape May dining. I was especially suprised with Marcus. If he serves food tike that at his restaurant I know it would not interest me. JJ served what I would see in a diner (shrimp and grits, Oxtail served on the bome and bread pudding). If I was your guest I would have been emarrassed for you. I was especially embarrassed for the gentleman who you put on camera eating off the bone. I hope wet naps were provided with the course. You can see the difference between the two. Geoff kew what and how to serve while JJ did not have a clue. Prohabition occured in the Roaring Twenties and not during the depression. JJ served food that would be served to the help and not the customers. I could not imagine a gentlkeman in a tux with his date he is trying to impressed dressed in a long gown eating oxtail off the bone and bread pudding. I can understand why JJ's employer did not want the viewers to know who he worked for. His sou chef could not have worked for Geoff as a line chef. Other differences were JJ nknew the grits were overcooked before he served them but still served them to you guests while Geoff knew the lentils were overcooked and would not serve them but made a new batch. The difference between someone who cares and someone who just lays out the meal. One of the most impressive difference you could see was JJ's prepparation of the seared Diver scallops which was his premier diss and Geoffs Scallops served as an appatizer. JJ toulk them out of the bag and Geoff showed how he did it all and with an exquisit presentation and quality. I was most impressed by Geoff's dessert. Most chefs have difficulty with dessert as we hear all tyhe time on Top Chef and Chopped. It appeared Geoff nailed it by the comments durring dessert and and when the guests tasted the dessert provided by JJ. My wife thought it was mean of Geoff regarding the answer he made to JJ when JJ offerred to help. After seeing what JJ's abilities were she retracted it saying I would not have let JJ help with my meal either. Hopefully after viewing this show either Top Chef, Chopped or Iron Chef America picks Geoff up as a contestant. Mybe even Chef Ramsey offers Geoff a shot. It appears they could really do a verbal battle. The only problem there would be more bleeps than dialogue. No matter how you sugar coat it you really blew it regarding your choice and your guests should be embarrassed also for being involved. Hope future episodes are better.

Lisa Barone
Lisa Barone

Loved the show! I was glued to the tv. It was very entertaining & educational at the same time. It makes you realize how difficult it is to be a chef & how cooking is truly an art. Good luck with the show!

Anonymous122
Anonymous122

I don't want to criticize, but I would prefer to see you a bit more laid back. You were too serious and, at times, insulting. You can get your point across without personally getting at someone. Everyone wants to be Anthony Bourdain. Well, that's impossible. He has the charm and the delivery that makes his criticism a better pill to swallow. I literally cringe when I see chefs being mean (Hello Gordan Ramsey!) even though it makes for "good TV". I quit culinary school because I was an apprentice under a verbally abusive chef for 1 year. Calling me stupid and worthless doesn't make me better. I realized that I am not bitchy enough to be a chef, which if you ask my family is impossible. Don't turn into that guy from "The Restaurant". I think you know that you did yourself a great disservice by how you acted on that show. This is supposed to be fun. Make it fun for everyone, guests and chefs alike.

Be the Rocco that is fun to watch. I know he's in there.