Interesting article in today's NY Post
Below is an interesting article in today's NY Post in which Rocco admits that he comes off looking bad. What is most interesting is that he blames Topher for the bad vibes of the staff..just amazing how he conveniantly forgets that he ridiculed Topher in front of two tables for no reason toher than to get a laugh. Unfortunatley, it seems that he is portrayed in a much nicer light in the next episiodes. To me this is all a set up as his true colors were exposed and I really fear the remaining episodes will turn into a PR loaded lovefest that we all worried about due to the sponsor control.
By DON KAPLAN
August 5, 2003 -- CELEBRITY chefs with their own reality TV shows have their dark moments. Even entire episodes for that matter.
Ask Rocco DiSpirito, the star of NBC's "The Restaurant" who came out of Sunday's episode looking like a first-class jerk, resented by his waiters and slammed by customers - including Post TV critic Linda Stasi - for serving hot food cold and scrimping on the portions.
But he shrugs it off and says he's made peace with it.
"If I had to worry about everything that everyone said about me I'd be a completely disabled and handicapped human being," DiSpirito told The Post yesterday.
In Sunday's episode of the NBC reality show, which was taped last spring, DiSpirito was seen carousing with customers and posing for pictures while one catastrophe after another unfolds at the restaurant.
He also comes off as callous, rude and disconnected from his huge staff - especially after he sends home, Gideon, a dedicated worker who broke his arm while working at the restaurant.
"He must think himself of some great personality, like he's above this whole game," grumbles Topher, a waiter whom Rocco blames for the problems.
The litany of complaints exploded at a 3:30 a.m. gripe session the staff had after closing that night.
"I think that he's only dealing with guests and that he has no connection to the staff," shrieked an angry staffer.
"I didn't see those people talk about me until [Sunday] night," says DiSpirito. "It's not entirely surprising, but when you're the leader of 75 people, there's bound to be some discussion about you," he says.
"It's a lesson I learned years ago. I try to not let it affect my good judgment."
In the coming episodes, DiSpirito is said to finally earn the respect of his staff.
"This was the dark episode," a production source said. "He was at his worst, but starting next week he takes matters into his own hands."
Meanwhile, after just a couple of months of business, angry former workers from Rocco's are abound in New York. And DiSpirito admits they've lost about 45 percent of the staff since the opening - a normal by-product of opening a new restaurant.
"You typically hire about twice as many people as you need, knowing that it's a brutal process [to open a restaurant] and that it takes a certain kind of person to go through an opening and that's a different kind of person than it takes to walk into an established restaurant and just pick up a system and be a part of it," he says.
Despite the attrition, at least 10 of the original staffers featured on the show as regular characters - including DiSpirito and his mom - are still working at Rocco's.