I know I still owe you part two of my New York post, but I have to skip ahead to this:
That’s me today with celebrity chef and cookbook author, Rocco DiSpirito! You might remember Rocco from the short-lived reality show on NBC called The Restaurant, which followed Rocco as he opened a new restaurant in Manhattan. Or, you may have seen him as a guest judge on Top Chef. He also has a show on A&E called Rocco Gets Real and happens to be a triathlete. Busy guy!! But today, Rocco was at Foxwoods Resort & Casino at the Fox Theater doing a cooking demonstration and a book signing.
I was lucky enough to get “Golden Gourmand” tickets to this event as a birthday gift last month from my father. It included a free cookbook, a “surprise gift” and preferred seating – in my case, front row! Whoo-hoo! And let me tell ya, front row was freakin’ sweet! Mr. DiSpirito is, well, let’s be honest…he’s smoking hot. And we could see him right up and close as he did a Q&A with the audience and milled back and forth across the stage. Ladies, I could see individual beads of sweat on his brow. Uh-huh.
The entire show was very entertaining. Rocco engaged with the crowd the whole time, teased the audience and asked them what they were doing here instead of home with their families, and even brought an audience member on stage to assist him with one of the recipes. Although, it was a little bit tortuous to be close enough to smell all that gorgeous food he was making and not get to eat it!! There were actually 8 people seated on stage who got to taste everything – apparently high rollers at the casino, and Rocco teased them too and asked how much cash they lost to Foxwoods for the privilege of sitting up there!
After the show, we got in line to have our books signed and he was very personable during the signing and had a smile and a comment for everyone, and was happy to have his picture taken with whoever wanted one.
So, there’s my haul – his book, Real Life Recipes, a wall calendar (which, unfortunately has full-sized pictures of food and a recipe each month instead of a picture of him! What were the publishers thinking???), a copy of Wine Spectator magazine (I think they were a sponsor), and next to my ticket are some little recipe cards featuring the recipes he made today, which was a nice touch. Oh, not to mention hugs and kisses from Rocco!
Yep, right there in the bottom right corner… see the X and O?? Heh.
Rocco’s enthusiasm for cooking and sharing food with others was inspiring. After each recipe, Rocco asked the audience whether they would try it themselves and I raised my hand for each so now I have no choice but to make some gnocchi with mushroom sauce, chicken with shredded potatoes and onions, and sweet & sour cherry beef with asparagus and share it with you here. I wouldn’t want to disappoint Rocco, after all. Stay tuned!