Celebrity Chef Rocco DiSpirito’s Plant-Based Embrace

The Rich Roll Podcast

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Celebrity Chef Rocco DiSpirito’s Plant-Based Embrace

The Rich Roll Podcast

“The Western diet is destroying our world and our lives and creating all these problems that we don't need to have.”

 Rocco DiSpirito 

When it comes to food, we've been led to believe that healthy and delicious are mutually exclusive.

When it comes to eating plant-based, forget about it. Most people can't imagine their palate can possibly be sated without animal products.

I've worked hard to bust this myth.

But I'm no chef.

Good thing today's guest is.

But Rocco DiSpirito is no ordinary chef. A James Beard award-winning culinary wizard, this guy is a straight up food genius.

Named Food & Wine magazineʼs Best New Chef, People magazineʼs Sexiest Chef and the first chef to appear on Gourmet magazineʼs cover as Americaʼs Most Exciting Young Chef, Rocco is the author of 13 books (5 of which were NY Times bestsellers) who lorded over 3-Star restaurant Union Pacific, a New York City culinary landmark for many years (The New York Times deemed his dishes “pure genius”). Rocco skyrocketed to mainstream fame starring in a countless array of food and celebrity chef television shows, including NBC's The Restaurant, ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss, Bravo's Top Chef and Rocco’s Dinner Party, Restaurant Divided on Food Network — and even Dancing With The Stars.

But it hasn't been all roses. Along the way, Rocco faced much adversity. He's battled detractors. And eventually his fast-paced, rich food-laden life caught up with him. By 38, Rocco had become seriously ill, boasting the metabolic rate of a 64-year old with an extra 40 pounds around the mid-section. His doctor told him he had no choice but to go on a battery of medications. But Rocco declined, setting his focus on healing himself with healthier food and physical exercise. It's a path that forever altered his career and indeed his life — a re-imagination of great tasting food in service to well-being; to physical exercise and the world of triathlon; and more recently to exploring the healing benefits of a plant-based diet and the challenge of creating tantalizing recipes without meat and dairy.

Ultimately, Rocco walked away from the cloistered sub-culture of New York City haute cuisine. It's a move that puzzled the restaurant world, but Rocco was committed to leveraging his prodigious kitchen talents to help others achieve the vital wellness he now enjoys. Instead of opening up another bistro, he started coaching people. He launched an all-natural food product line. He founded a meal delivery service called The Pound A Day Diet. And he spends his free-time as an Ambassador for HealthCorps, visiting schools across the country performing cooking demonstrations and encouraging thousands of youth to build healthier habits.

Indeed, it's a laudable mission to prove that healthy and delicious can indeed coexist.

Rocco's more recent embrace of plant-based cuisine is what piqued my interest in sitting down with him. It's also the thrust of his brand new cookbook, Rocco's Healthy & Delicious: More than 200 (Mostly) Plant-Based Recipes for Everyday Life* hitting bookstores everywhere October 17.

I love a good character arc. Charismatic and engaging, Rocco delivers in this super fun conversation with one of the world's greatest chefs.

We discuss the obstacles he met growing up modestly in a...

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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“The Western diet is destroying our world and our lives and creating all these problems that we don't need to have.”

 Rocco DiSpirito 

When it comes to food, we've been led to believe that healthy and delicious are mutually exclusive.

When it comes to eating plant-based, forget about it. Most people can't imagine their palate can possibly be sated without animal products.

I've worked hard to bust this myth.

But I'm no chef.

Good thing today's guest is.

But Rocco DiSpirito is no ordinary chef. A James Beard award-winning culinary wizard, this guy is a straight up food genius.

Named Food & Wine magazineʼs Best New Chef, People magazineʼs Sexiest Chef and the first chef to appear on Gourmet magazineʼs cover as Americaʼs Most Exciting Young Chef, Rocco is the author of 13 books (5 of which were NY Times bestsellers) who lorded over 3-Star restaurant Union Pacific, a New York City culinary landmark for many years (The New York Times deemed his dishes “pure genius”). Rocco skyrocketed to mainstream fame starring in a countless array of food and celebrity chef television shows, including NBC's The Restaurant, ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss, Bravo's Top Chef and Rocco’s Dinner Party, Restaurant Divided on Food Network — and even Dancing With The Stars.

But it hasn't been all roses. Along the way, Rocco faced much adversity. He's battled detractors. And eventually his fast-paced, rich food-laden life caught up with him. By 38, Rocco had become seriously ill, boasting the metabolic rate of a 64-year old with an extra 40 pounds around the mid-section. His doctor told him he had no choice but to go on a battery of medications. But Rocco declined, setting his focus on healing himself with healthier food and physical exercise. It's a path that forever altered his career and indeed his life — a re-imagination of great tasting food in service to well-being; to physical exercise and the world of triathlon; and more recently to exploring the healing benefits of a plant-based diet and the challenge of creating tantalizing recipes without meat and dairy.

Ultimately, Rocco walked away from the cloistered sub-culture of New York City haute cuisine. It's a move that puzzled the restaurant world, but Rocco was committed to leveraging his prodigious kitchen talents to help others achieve the vital wellness he now enjoys. Instead of opening up another bistro, he started coaching people. He launched an all-natural food product line. He founded a meal delivery service called The Pound A Day Diet. And he spends his free-time as an Ambassador for HealthCorps, visiting schools across the country performing cooking demonstrations and encouraging thousands of youth to build healthier habits.

Indeed, it's a laudable mission to prove that healthy and delicious can indeed coexist.

Rocco's more recent embrace of plant-based cuisine is what piqued my interest in sitting down with him. It's also the thrust of his brand new cookbook, Rocco's Healthy & Delicious: More than 200 (Mostly) Plant-Based Recipes for Everyday Life* hitting bookstores everywhere October 17.

I love a good character arc. Charismatic and engaging, Rocco delivers in this super fun conversation with one of the world's greatest chefs.

We discuss the obstacles he met growing up modestly in a...

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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