October 13, 2004 --

SUPERSTAR chef Rocco DiSpirito is back, only this time he's out of the frying pan and into radio.

DiSpirito, whose now-defunct Rocco's restauranton 22nd St. was the focus of NBC's reality show "The Restaurant," has taken over the WOR "Food Talk" hour formerly hosted by Arthur Schwartz.

"I love, love, love the talk show format," DiSpirito said, "because I can talk to people unfiltered and unedited.

"We're going to mix a lot of elements calls every day, guests twice a week, restaurant reviews on Fridays, 'What's in your fridge?' And it won't all be about food talk.

"Sometimes we'll discuss personal things," he told The Post.

DiSpirito's popular mother, Nicolina, 79, will be a radio regular on the show, officials said.

DiSpirito, a 38-year-old Queens native who studied food in France, had been guest-hosting "Food Talk" before it was announced yesterday that he would take over the show permanently.

Arthur Schwartz, the 11 a.m. show's longtime host who abruptly resigned last August after a "disagreement" with WOR (710 AM) management, gives his successor a mixed review:



"He's not very well-educated and I think you have to do more than cook to do that show, but he's well-spoken about cooking and is friendly to listeners," Schwartz said, adding a dig that Rocco allegedly "never paid the bill" after Schwartz arranged Italian schooling for his pastry chef.

"He'll do the show from a chef's point of view, which is different than what I did [so] he'll do a different show than I did, that's all," Schwartz told The Post.

"I wish him well."
http://nypost.com/entertainment/30181.htm