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Q&A With Rocco DiSpirito

The chef and author talks about his new cookbook, his new cooking show for kids, and how he juggles work, family, and health.


"I'm definitely prone to heart disease. I would have placed a lot more importance on cardio exercise."

14. What do you cook for yourself at home?

"I eat a lot of grilled fish, like grilled salmon glazed with mustard, tamari, and agave nectar. I also really like seasoned chicken broth."

15. How do you stay passionate about your work?

"I know this is going to sound clichéd, but if you do something that you love, you never work a day in your life. I feel like I'm playing with toys. Traveling for work sometimes leaves me tired, but this is a field that is full of passion. It's so dynamic, so exciting. You can feel like a master, then find 100 things that you don't know. I'm always learning. There is no way to get bored."

16. What six ingredients are always in your pantry?

"Stock in a box, sea salt, sherry vinegar, canned black beans, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and herbs fresh from the garden."

17. What else other than nutrition do you consider when crafting a recipe?

"There are a lot of things available today that make life in the kitchen easier, like peeled onions and peeled garlic. It's important to take these things into account when writing a recipe, so that people will actually cook them and so that the success rate will be high. Cookbooks should be practical, they should be written to be cooked from."

18. If you could cook a meal for anyone living or dead, who would it be and why? What would you serve?

"My grandmother. She died before I became an executive chef. She was such a supporter and fan of everything I did. I would serve her an assortment of Rocco's greatest hits. I'm sure she would be surprised at the flavors of the healthy dishes I've created from the recipes she taught my mom and me."

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Reviewed on July 15, 2012

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