Blessed with leading man looks and an innovative cooking style, celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito brought his passion for and reinvention of traditional Italian-American cooking to the masses via a series of popular restaurants, cookbooks and television programs. Named one of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs in 1999, DiSpirito went from budding restaurateur to reality star on "The Restaurant" (NBC, 2003-04). The author of numerous critically acclaimed cookbooks boasting recipes as varied as Italian meatballs and pomegranate and cinnamon-lacquered duck, DiSpirito proved to be a fresh new face in the world of culinary arts with his progressive fusion-style of cooking. Taking a break from cooking in 2008, DiSpirito partnered with Ukrainian dancer Karina Smirnoff on the seventh season of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), no doubt raising his profile outside the culinary world. Although he continued to stick with the basics for such best-selling cookbooks as 2008's Rocco Gets Real: Cook at Home, Ever Day, DiSpirito put his abundant charm to good use with acting cameos on hit shows like "Castle" (ABC, 2008-16). In a return to the kitchen and dining room, "Rocco's Dinner Party" (Bravo, 2011- ) gave longtime food fans more of what they craved from the chef. In a sea of celebrity chefs, DiSpirito stood out from the pack with his combination of looks, personality and, above all, a focus on simple, healthy Italian-influenced cooking that appealed to even the most jaded gastronomist.