Rocco Dispirito’s rollercoaster career takes another turn

A couple of years ago I wrote about Rocco Dispirito’s rise to fame and then sudden disappearance. In the ensuing couple of years, the made-for-TV chef had returned to the kitchen, this time at The Standard Grill in New York. By all accounts, his time there was successful, but he recently announced that he was leaving The Standard after just over a year at the helm. Kat Kinsman interviewed Dispirito, and discovered why stepping down made sense for this once unstoppable chef.

When Dispirito left the world of the restaurant kitchen to hawk products on the QVC shopping network and be the spokesperson for a cat food brand, people assumed that he was just chasing fame and cashing in on his good looks. As it turns out, there is a lot more to the story. Dispirito’s mother fell ill and required a lot of care, and much of the burden fell on his shoulders. As often happens to caregivers, Dispirito neglected to take care of himself resulting in emergency back surgery.

Despite these setbacks, the chef agreed to return to a physically demanding role in a restaurant kitchen to help revamp the Standard Grill. By most accounts his time there was successful as the restaurant garnered many positive reviews. However, the toll on Dispirito’s body was difficult to ignore, so the chef recently decided to step back and regroup. We don’t yet know what his next venture will be, but as Kinsman says, Dispirito “may need a moment to figure out where he’s going next—but there is definitely a next. I know it will be worth the wait.”

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