Once upon a time there was a reality show called Top Chef where the contestants got along so well we all watched footage of them sharing hot tubs and chatting about making new friendships. One eliminated chef was comforted by the thought she had made a lifelong friend. A winner of a challenge gave his prize away in recognition that another contestant did actually deserve the prize more. Then…along came a guest who once sent his own reality TV career down in embarrassing flames partially as a result of his own abundant arrogance. What happened next?
Wednesday, July 31, 2007 on Top Chef, Rocco DiSpirito returns to primetime as celebrity guest judge. DiSpirito first gained wide notice by opening the celebrated restaurant Union Pacific in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood. He was named Best New Chef of 1999 by Food and Wine magazine. He signed on with NBC television in 2003 to be the subject of a reality series called The Restaurant which followed the ups and downs of opening the new restaurant Rocco’s 22nd Street. TV viewers watched as Rocco’s arrogance and ego seemed to take over the show. The restaurant drowned in a power struggle between DiSpirito and his finance partner Jeffrey Chodorow.
Rumors are that Rocco has eaten a good slice of humble pie and mellowed out over the years. However, it seems he has not given up on the idea of making himself a TV brand name. Will Rocco manage to shake things up on Top Chef…and show us his admittedly impressive kitchen knowledge? Or will his newly discovered mellow approach to life add to the slightly narcotized atmosphere of this year’s show? Stay tuned…
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