You might know him from his appearance on 2003-2004’s The Restaurant, or as a guest judge on Top Chef, but recently, this 44-year old celebrity chef, author, and triathlete has dropped off the food radar, leaving us wondering, what on earth is he up to?
Apparently sharpening his entertaining chops.
His latest project, Rocco’s Dinner Party debuts on Wednesday, June 15th. But this is not just any cooking show. Instead of focusing on how to cook or a specific ingredient, the show celebrates why we cook and how to bring people together. The concept comes from his love of entertaining and cooking for people, finding that nothing is better than sharing a meal. “There is something about the intimacy of a table that breaks down barriers, giving people a chance to connect,” he says. But he won’t be the one making the food this time, he’s the one hosting the party.
Who's in the Kitchen — and at the Table?
So who’s doing the cooking? There won’t be celebrity chefs in the kitchen, but instead individuals from the food industry including assistant chefs, small-business caterers, and one trader-by-day/food-blogger-by-night. They’ll be competing for the chance to create a memorable dinner party for their “client” DiSpirito — and six of his celebrity pals, including Mad Men’s Brian Batt, actress Christine Ebersol, former Top Chef Masters host Kelly Choi, and chef Marcus Samuelsson. From creating the menus and cooking the food, to setting the scene, the chef-testants' goal is to create a fabulous, unforgettable experience for all — all while working under DiSpirito's discerning eye.
The Best Job on TV
DiSpirito’s favorite dinner party moment? As the guests get to enjoy two dinner parties over the course of an episode, guests begin to open up about their own lives after hours of drinking and eating, revealing things you might not otherwise know. He remembers one specific moment, when Liza Minnelli composed and performed a song right there at the table. "It was sort of other-worldly," DiSpirito comments. He can't think of a better job on TV. "I get to host six of my friends, don't have to cook — and there is no check to pick up!"
Rocco's Tips for Hosting a Dinner Party
We’ll be tuning in on Wednesdays, eager to see what it’s like to sit next to actress Raven Simone at a dinner party — and to get some tips and inspiration from DiSpirito for our next dinner party, of course. Can’t wait until then? Don't worry: Rocco has shared his three secrets to hosting the perfect dinner party for those of you at home:
1. Never run out of food and booze.
2. It’s OK to cheat — in fact, he wholly recommends it, whether it’s buying something from the hot line at the market, getting an order of fries to-go from Mickey D's for your steak frites, or buying an appetizer or dessert that you can quickly throw together.
3. Remember the point of hosting a dinner party is to bring together people and have fun. It’s not a performance or a chance to show off your new pots and pans or cooking skills. It’s a time to connect.
Tune in to Bravo on June 15th at 10 p.m. EST for the first episode. Starting the 22nd, subsquent episodes will air at 10 p.m. EST.