Judges

The 11th International Risotto Festival is proud to welcome this year’s Culinary Judges.

Rocco Celebrity Judge Announcement Celebrity Chef Judge, Rocco Disperito Rocco DiSpirito is a James Beard award winning chef, health advocate and author of eleven highly-acclaimed cookbooks, including five New York Times best sellers. With a genuine passion for helping others, DiSpirito makes charity work a priority as he advocates for those who struggle with food security and obesity. He serves on the Entertainment Council for Feeding America and as an Ambassador for Dr. Oz’s HealthCorps. He also serves as an advisory board member to Hampton Creek, an innovative food tech startup dedicated to reducing the depletion of natural resources with its eggless Just Mayo and other products. DiSpirito began his culinary studies at the Culinary Institute of America and by 20, he was working in the kitchens of legendary chefs around the globe. He was named Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chef,” People magazine’s “Sexiest Chef” and was the first chef to appear on Gourmet Magazine’s cover as “America’s Most Exciting Young Chef.” His 3-Star restaurant Union Pacific was a New York City culinary landmark for many years. DiSpirito is a frequent guest on Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, The View, Fox & Friends and CBS Sunday Morning among many other programs. When he is not cooking, this health advocate enjoys bicycling and participating in triathlons. Also Judging
  • The Honorable Consul General Elena Sgarbi - Consulate of Italy
  • Jon Buchannan - Restauranteur and Past Winner
  • James Brock - PaperCity Magazine
  • Ray Dennison - Associate Editor, Modern Luxury
  • Marina Acquista Lapuyade - Deputy Secretary General, Italy-America Chamber of Commerce of Texas
  • Phaedra Cook - Houston Press
  • Cleverly Stone - Fox 26 TV Personality & CBS Radio Show Host