"How you doin’": Rocco, in happier times.Photo: Eric Liebowitz/NBC
Rocco DiSpirito’s descent from the heights of gastronomy has been a steep one: He started out as one of the most talented and lauded young chefs in New York, made a jerk of himself on TV, was demoted to "Food Talk," and then got fired from that. Now Rocco’s abasement is complete: He has been reduced to shilling for Bertolli’s stealth-marketing campaign, which recently involved 100 poofy-toqued "chefs" staging a mock protest of the company (their grocery products, in this delightful marketing alternate reality, supposedly keep people from eating out). This had to happen: Rocco could not attempt a comeback until he reached the pinnacle of cheesiness, and even his appearance on awfulplasticsurgery.com didn’t get him there. So what does the man have to say for himself? "Bertolli makes their dinners just like we do in the restaurant world." Wait — he’s working in a restaurant now?