Dancing with the Stars Wiki
Rocco DiSpirito
Celebrity Profile
Birth Date 19 November 1966 (1966-11-19) (age 57)
Hometown Jamaica, Queens, New York City
Known For Celebrity chef, author

Dancing with the Stars 7

Partner(s) Karina Smirnoff
Placement 9th
Highest Score 21 (Mambo)
Lowest Score 14 (Foxtrot)
Average Score 17.8

Rocco DiSpirito is a celebrity from Season 7 of Dancing with the Stars.


DiSpirito was born in Queens, New York City. He graduated in 1986 from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and in 1990 from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in business. DiSpirito is known for his Italian-American cuisine and his innovative fusion cooking.

DiSpirito is best known as a celebrity chef and a cookbook author. He is known for his involvement in Union Pacific, a restaurant he opened in 1997 in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan. A year later, New York Times reviewer Ruth Reichl, in an ecstatic three-star review, reported that a woman at the next table was moaning in uncontrollable ecstasy as she ate, but it was impossible to determine what dish had provoked that reaction, since just about every entree was worthy of such moans. DiSpirito departed Union Pacific in 2004.

From 2003 to 2004, DiSpirito starred in the NBC reality television show The Restaurant, which followed the launch and operation of a new Manhattan restaurant called Rocco's on 22nd. The show was canceled and DiSpirito was successfully sued by the restaurant's financier Jeffrey Chodorow to have the restaurant shut down and DiSpirito banned from entering the premises.

DiSpirito succeeded Arthur Schwartz as host of Food Talk, an hour-long morning talk show on New York Radio WOR (AM), from October 2004 through December 2005, and then hosted twelve episodes of the TV show Rocco Gets Real on A&E (October 4 through December 27, 2008).

He was also featured in a Lincoln MKX commercial and the ABC sitcom The Knights of Prosperity, and was a guest judge in Bravo's Top Chef. DiSpirito returned in the Top Chef season three finale (Top Chef: Miami) — in which three celebrity chefs were brought to work as sous chefs to the contestants, with DiSpirito assisting Hung Huynh — and was a guest judge in the 14 March 2008 Top Chef Season Four premiere (Top Chef: Chicago). He appeared in NBC's The Biggest Loser: Couples (season 5) in an episode that aired 5 February 2008 (episode 506), in which contestants were challenged to prepare three healthy courses based on DiSpirito's recipes; DiSpirito judged the food and determined the winning team. The following season he appeared in the second episode (airing 23 September 2008) of The Biggest Loser: Families, taking the "worst" cook of each pair shopping and teaching them to prepare healthy recipes.

In 2006, DiSpirito performed a public service announcement for Do Something to promote food drives for schools.

On 3 May 2010, DiSpirito appeared as himself in the ABC television series Castle in the episode "Food to Die For". On 15 June 2011, DiSpirito debuted as host of a weekly reality TV cooking competition, titled Rocco's Dinner Party, on Bravo TV. DiSpirito appeared as a celebrity contestant in the 21 June 2012 episode of the Fox dating game show, The Choice.

DiSpirito hosted the syndicated television program Now Eat This! with Rocco Dispirito, which debuted 15 September 2012. Debuting in 2013, DiSpirito hosted the Food Network reality show Restaurant Divided, where he goes to struggling restaurants where the owners have two differing visions. He then picks which concept will save the restaurant.

Dancing with the Stars 7[]

DiSpirito was a contestant in Season Seven of Dancing with the Stars and was paired with professional ballroom dancer Karina Smirnoff. He was eliminated in Week 4 and placed ninth overall.


Week # Dance/Song Judges' Scores Result
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Foxtrot/"Stray Cat Strut"
Mambo/"La Comay"
2 Rumba/"You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" 5 6 5 Safe
3 Viennese Waltz/"What's New Pussycat?" 7 7 6 Safe *
4 Samba/"I Go to Rio" 6 6 6 Eliminated
  • Would have been eliminated but wasn't due to Misty May-Treanor's injury and forcing her to withdraw from the competition.