Di Spirito was a contestant on season seven of Dancing With The Stars and was paired with professional ballroom dancer Karina Smirnoff.
He was eliminated on the October 14, 2008, episode and placed ninth overall.
Di Spirito hosts the syndicated television program Now Eat This!
with Rocco Dispirito, which debuted on September 15, 2012.
But when Rocco Di Spirito cooks, something else happens.
His body tenses then relaxes, and you can see muscle memory take over. He was born with a gift, a gift that was nurtured and prodded and teased from him since adolescence.
But 20 years ago, with the launch of his restaurant Union Pacific, he was the culinary world's shining star, a critical darling with the right amount of talent and charm and angular cheekbones to forever leave his lightning bolt-shaped mark on the American culinary world's forehead. Rocco Di Spirito hopped on fame's hamster wheel, and Rocco Di Spirito has been running on that wheel ever since. Shouldn't I, like most consumers of American pop culture, revel in seeing a once-dignified person debased on television? Because the fact is, Union Pacific was one of the first truly nonpareil meals I'd ever eaten. And as a lover of said food, I struggle -- truly struggle -- with trying to understand Rocco's refusal to cook. What if Thelonious Monk quit jazz to write toilet bowl cleaner ad jingles?
He was one of the original pioneering "celebrity chefs," before the rise of social media and food television truly exploded and made an entire roster of chefs into household names. Or Salinger started doing Harlequin romance novels?
He secured an internship in Paris in 1986 under Dominique Cécillon at Le Jardin des Cygnes inside the Hôtel Prince de Galles.
where Chef Balthazar Wolf is murdered in his own scorching-hot New York restaurant "Q3," owned by Beckett's high school best friend Madison Queller, who later goes on a date with Castle, stirring up jealous emotions Beckett isn't quite ready to face. Because Rocco Di Spirito could have been one of the greats. A temporary respite that just got too comfortable, or a well-planned second act?
Point being, at this stage, the Rocco Di Spirito seared into most people's memories is that of the perpetual C-list middlebrow food celebrity renting-to-own in fame's outer suburbs. He could've contributed, perhaps significantly, to the art form. He came into prominence at the exact moment mainstream celebrity became an option for chefs, and he chose celebrity. When we look at Rocco, are we looking at an American success story, or a tragic narrative of talent wasted?
Debuting in 2013, Di Spirito hosts the Food Network reality show Restaurant Divided, where he goes to struggling restaurants where the owners have two differing visions.
He then picks which concept will save the restaurant.