Rocco DiSpirito

Rocco tells us about his family dinners and his mother's meatballs.

on Jul 1, 20110

Not so with Nicola's dish. There were so many competing flavors in his dish that I couldn't tell what he was trying to accomplish. It was more a feat of physics than cooking. The beauty of a bomba is that it's a neat little package wrapped by something and filled with something. But the down side is you can't taste what you're serving without ruining the bomba! It was over-flavored, over-seasoned, and none of the elements worked together. Zero harmony. This dish was a battlefield, and Italians are usually such peaceful people. I was not impressed. It added up to one big mess, and Nicola was out. I was surprised. It seemed clear to everyone in the room that this dinner party was being set up for a twin chef showdown. Guess every competition isn't fixed, huh?

I awarded the Signature Dish Challenge to Ninamarie, who proved my own personal philosophy that you can produce magical results with ordinary ingredients. That's exactly what she did.

Ninamarie is not Italian; she's Greek-Armenian. Would that make her an underdog? I didn't know. I was a little nervous. Even though she cooks dinner parties for people all the time this food had to be authentic. Anybody who fakes Italian food irks me. When I was growing up, the food my mother and grandmother cooked was so genuine and generous that I always felt cared for. And that's how I needed my guests to feel tonight.

After Ninamarie and Fabrizio chose their rooms and designed their décor, I knew we might be in for a rocky night. Remember, this is a traditional Italian family dinner party. So why did Ninamarie chose a Little Italy type restaurant theme with photos of stereotyped Italians hanging on the wall? A traditional Italian meal is eaten at home. I was afraid this would be a sobering, off-putting experience for my guests.

3 comments
shelby lyn
shelby lyn

During the time I was married to a chef( and we worked together- thats how we met!) I was a fan of Rocco , even then..it was ..1992/ 1993.. and now look. .. He has a show.. I just happened to come across this show and found it be interesting and entertaining..I watched the " True Italian Meal", in which I found NinaMaria's food to sound enticing as well as the plating. I thought that she DID make the ' special ' dish for your one guest, but it did not get actually SERVED to the guest ( ??) I loved her attitude about food, and she was a pleasure to watch. The brothers..well, a bit cocky , -lol-but I suppose that brought a note of laugh-ability to the episode..lol . I just think that the planner did MORE for the other chef, in terms of the ' setting' and not as much for NinaMaria.Well, in my book, she's a winner. I realize there are no ' losers', per se and its a great experience for the chefs who are picked for the Dinner Party. Although I am no longer married to Mr. Chef..I do still enjoy creating and cooking, and our daughter even helped prep for him at the restuarant where he worked, between the time when she was all of 8 to 10 years old. He taught me many things , even though I was already a good cook when I married him. Life is journey..one does not ever stop learning..even at 57 years young.:)

Lisa B
Lisa B

I have always enjoyed watching Rocco on TV, love the new show and always go to work the next day to see what the other girls thought about the outcome. This week (Town & Country) was very good as well with one exception.... Seeing as this is not a live show I think the producers should have bleeped out the profanity that the gentleman made, they did bleep out the F word which is not half as bad as the GD word so Rocco if you read this please pass that comment on and wish you all the best...

Mary Ann Hansen
Mary Ann Hansen

I am wondering if Rocco new cook book is out for publication price,where to purchase.Have been really enjoying show keep up the good work.