(MoneyWatch) Award winning chef and author Rocco DiSpirito is known for heating up the kitchen with his innovative fusion cooking. He was a fan favorite on "Dancing with the Stars" as he competed with professional ballroom dance partner Karina Smirnoff. Today, he's on a mission to change the way we eat and he's created over 90 Italian recipes that are both delicious and healthy. In addition, he hosts the syndicated television program Now Eat This! with Rocco DiSpirito.
Rebecca Jarvis: You began your journey as a professional chef at 16 years old, when you enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America. What got you started?
Rocco DiSpirito: A KISS Album called "Love Gun." I wanted the album, but I couldn't afford it with my $3 a week allowance. My mom told me to go out and get a job when I was 11 years old. So I got a job at a pizzeria and I fell in love with the business of taking care of people. And to this day, it's still what I love about this business. We make people happy.
RJ: Which member of KISS did you want to be?
RD: Paul Stanley. I saw him recently at a KISS concert and he told me he cooks my meatballs and loves them. How cool is that?
RJ: What does it take as a chef to expand your empire?
RD: It takes a lot to be a great chef. The first and most important thing you need, is to know that your job as a chef is to singularly make people happy.
RJ: If you could sit down to a meal of your spaghetti and meatballs with anyone who would it be?
RD: I would love for it to be my Grandma. She was a great chef and I think she would get a kick out of this.