Exclusive: One-on-One interview with the Winner of Guy’s Superstar Games

We've got the first interview with Rocco DiSpirito, who took home top honors this week.

Photo by: David Moir

David Moir

By: Joel Raneri

The newest Guy’s Grocery Games Superstar champion Rocco DiSpirito won the title from former reigning champ Alex Guarnaschelli after five weeks of intense competition. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Rocco discussing his big win, his competition strategy and how he balances a healthy lifestyle with indulgent Italian recipes.

How did it feel to win against Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli?

I still don’t believe I beat her. When I see the episode, I’ll believe that I beat the reigning champ. I still think there was a trick played on me. I’d make a bet that while I was in my trailer, they shot the real ending. It felt great. Actually, I felt kind of bad because I like Alex too much to beat her in anything. She’s an amazing competitor. She outwits everybody every time.

Did you have a strategy for this competition?

My strategy was not to cut my femoral artery while cooking. That was my biggest worry. It felt so dangerous running around that kitchen. I don’t know if you know this, but Guy’s knives are the sharpest in the industry. You could perform heart surgery or a major organ transplant with his knives. I didn’t know what to expect. My strategy was to pay attention, make sure not to piss off Guy Fieri, and try to stay alive until the next episode.

What were some of your favorite and least favorite challenges throughout the entire competition, and which was the most difficult?

I hated every one of those games. The games are diabolical. They’re true evil. The double wheel -- that was special.

You made risotto twice in this competition, which is usually considered a self-sabotage. What made you want to take that risk?

It was really interesting for me to hear everyone’s reactions when I decided to make risotto. I knew it was a dish that typically takes me 50 minutes when I use the rice that I like to use, and we only had 30 minutes to cook, but I’ve made risotto several thousand times, so I have a few tricks that I use when I want to make it faster --  like a very wide pan, lots of liquid. The good thing about risotto is the rice is supposed to be undercooked, so if it ended up undercooked, it wouldn’t be a big deal, they would have just thought I was a genius cook. Risotto is so delicious  that you’ll be forgiven for just about anything if you make someone risotto.

How do you balance smart choices with the indulgence of Italian classics?

If you go to Italy and eat Italian food, you’ll probably lose weight, because they already eat very healthfully. They eat lots of fruits and vegetables, a little bit of meat, a little bit of fat, a little bit of vino, and it’s essentially the perfect example of moderation in diet. They’re not mutually exclusive. Italian and healthy have gone together for hundreds of years, and they still do.

Three Healthy Makeovers

Rocco DiSpirito makes three healthy dishes that taste great.

Check out Rocco’s recipes for eating well with these plant-based recipes from his new cookbook, Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious:

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