When Italian American triple-threat Rocco DiSpirito—celebrity chef, best-selling cookbook author, reality TV star—recently decided to come spend a weekend working and cavorting in the Palm Springs Valley, he did so in Rancho Mirage, specifically at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa.
As part of an event called the “Sun, Spoon, & Stars Culinary Series,” the handsome gastronome spent two days and nights regaling hungry audiences with his anecdotes, expertise, and food. On Friday, March 6, at 7:00 pm, the resort hosted its “Evening with Rocco Cocktail.” On Saturday, March 7, at 11:00 am, Rocco held a cooking demonstration and Q&A session for foodie fans. And later that night, at 6:00 pm, Rocco hosted dinner with a specially prepared menu. One can only assume that on Sunday, the culinary god rested.
Due to other evening obligations, Potter and I were devastated over having to pass over the cocktail party and the official dinner. We did, however, manage to attend the cooking demonstration on Saturday. We watch in awe as Rocco whipped up his versions of Tuna Crudo, Ricotta Nudi, and Meatballs in Marinara. It was a delish delight that was over far too soon.
In addition to being frankly disconcertingly good-looking, Rocco is an inspiration. A Queens-born son of Italian immigrants, he studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, at the age of 16, graduating when he was 20. By 30 he had won the James Beard Foundation Award. Now 48, with some ten cookbooks to his credit—Rocco shows no signs of stopping. He’s stayed in vogue, partly, be espousing a philosophy of preparing Italian food that is heart- and body-healthy as well as mouthwatering. We hear that all weekend long he signed copies of his latest best-seller, “Cook Your Butt Off.” His infectiously fun-loving spirit captivated these two writers—as well as virtually every guest he came in contact with—with no one being able to take their eyes off him. He had the floor, the table, the chairs, the ceiling, the whole enchilada as it were.
Mille grazie to Rancho Las Palmas for bringing Rocco and his sweet and savory savvy to the desert. We can’t wait to see who’ll next star in the resort’s culinary series, but we know this: We’d buy a ticket sight unseen. And you know us—we’ll be among the first to be “in the know.” So keep reading, dear fellow foodies. You’ll surely hear it here first. Buon appetite. www.rancholaspalmas.com