The other shoe has finally dropped for Rocco DiSpirito. The celebrity chef who sold his soul for the NBC reality series "The Restaurant" has now lost not only the restaurant that bears his name, but the restaurant that made it.
The Times reports that Union Pacific, where Rocco burst onto the New York restaurant scene to great acclaim in 1997, is closing down at the end of this year, and that Rocco himself is no longer heading the kitchen. This on top of a series of investor squabbles and lawsuits that forced the closing of Rocco's this past July, makes DiSpirito a chef without a stove. Rocco seems to be taking it pretty well though, saying only that he "made a decision to take a break from the day-to-day operations of a restaurant to focus on other opportunities outside the restaurant world. "
Hmm. Maybe the product placement revenues of "The Restaurant" tipped Rocco off to a more lucrative line of work: he's selling autographed copies of his new cookbook online and his own line of cookware on QVC, where he also hawks cheesecake, sausages, and his mother's meatballs.
With the closing of Union Pacific, looks like Rocco's transition is complete. Why be a chef, when you can be a shill?