This year I was lucky to meet a special man whose culinary skills, killer smile, suave personality, and charming looks would make any woman feel weak in her knees! This handsome gentleman is Chef Rocco Dispirito. When we were told that we would be filming with this celebrity chef and have him as our healthy food coach, a few of the woman of season 5 were gleaming from ear to ear. My cast mates and I were waiting in the upstairs lobby of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and we watched each person’s filming session with Rocco. He created a special dish for each of us that was a healthy and delicious alternative to our favorite meals. I am probably the worst cook in the world so I was excited to learn how to cook something other than chicken and almonds. When I met Rocco, he shook my hand, smiled and introduced himself. He was very polite, and his presence commanded attention. I was nervous because he’s a master at his craft and I was supposed to cook with him! My friends have horror stories, which we laugh at to this day about how my cooking is terrible! Such as when I cooked chicken with mozzarella cheese and mushrooms but the chicken was undercooked and the cheese was burnt. I paired it with a vegetarian jambalaya and the rice was crunchy. Not to mention that I prepared a salad earlier in the day and put ice cubes in the salad thinking it was a great idea to keep the salad cold! Where I learned that trick, I have no clue but it’s still the talk of the town 5 years later. This is probably one of the reasons why I am single. I know just enough in the kitchen to “get by” to cook for myself.
So here I am with this beautiful man in this hot kitchen and he’s asking me to sauté the rice. My initial thought was “Kim, get your life! Flip this cauliflower rice!” But the rice wouldn’t move! After a few times, he saw my struggle and came to my rescue! With his hand on mine, he showed me his technique. I must have been blushing really hard because Heidi kept making jokes such as “Are you hot Kim or are you blushing?” I’ll admit, it was a bit of both. After our meal was prepared, the camera crew and I shared this filling meal! It was the best thing I’ve had in a while! It was a creative alternative to a Hawaiian island favorite of mine, spam musubi. This meal was creative, delicious, and healthy. Before Rocco and I parted ways I received a gift from him!My first FitBit! I have never taken it off other than to charge it. It has been one of the best tools in my weight loss journey. I input the calories I consume into My Fitness Pal and compare it to the calories I burn according to my FitBit. I still use my FitBit today!
During phase 2 I got stuck in my rut of eating the same meals. I would have the same thing every day partially because it was easy to make, and also because I was losing weight. After awhile, it became boring! I did not want to look at another Tupperware filled with chicken and almonds and remember one day crying over the garbage can while throwing away my meal! Chris and Heidi got word of this and helped me by contacting Rocco, who also lives in New York City. He had fresh meals created for me that were on plan and delivered to my home every two days. I had amazing food such as his famous Mama’s Meatballs, grapefruit with monkfruit extract, turkey gumbo with zero calorie rice, organic green eggs and uncured ham, roasted pork tenderloin with kale and black olives, blueberry cheesecake oatmeal, and veggie fried rice with scallops to name a few! The best part was for 6 meals a day my total calories were under 1400! He knows how to take a meal and stretch the calorie to portion ratio!
Right before flying to Denver to film our 9-month weigh in I received an unexpected invitation to Rocco’s book release party.The guests were able to try a few recipes from his new book Cook Your Butt Off! Which claims you can “lose up to a pound a day with fat burning foods and gluten-free recipes”. This 250-page book is filled with mouth-watering recipes and a 2-week plan to get into shape. One of my favorite features of this book is the extensive shopping list of what you should have in your kitchen pantry. Along with the release of his book, he has created a cooking kit that you can have delivered to your home. One thing I find very fascinating about Rocco is that he personally shops for his client’s groceries and prepares the meals himself! I had a wonderful time at Rocco’s event and met great people.
One person I was pleasantly surprised to run into was stylist and fashion consultant, Stacy London. I was able to speak with her and share a conversation about weight loss, image, shopping, and a mutual love and respect for Rocco. She is absolutely gorgeous, personable, and sweet. It was a surreal moment speaking to her because of who she is in the industry. It was a very “New York Moment”. I hugged Rocco one last time before saying farewell and he gave me a gift bag filled with healthy treats. I took home his delicious smoothies and his sweet tooth satisfying sweet potato truffles!
Rocco and I have stayed in touch through the year and he flew to Los Angeles for my final reveal. It was great having him in the front row next to my family and Chris Powell as Heidi and I were on stage speaking about the best year of my life and what I’ve learned on the journey. Rocco has been a pleasant surprise in my transformation and in my life after the cameras stopped rolling. He truly cares about his clients and their wellbeing and I love speaking with him about his passion for food, healthy living, and the amazing farmer markets around the city.
*Photo curtesy of Rocco Dispirito