Rocco, the son of a master baker and a candlestick maker, hails from the port city of Buffoonia, Sicily. Early in his youth, Rocco made a name for himself on the gritty neighborhood streets as a bookie, racketeer, bodyguard, wet nurse, amateur plagiarist, and expert quilter.

Having first run afoul of the local constabulary at the tender age of four years, three months, and two days, Rocco soon realized that the seamy underbelly of organized quilt-making was no way to make a legitimate living; it was messy - very messy. His reckless use of fusibles and bias tape brought dishonor to the family; He was even excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church for his refusal to abandon the Bargello Technique, seen by some to be a form of black magic.

 

Rocco's days as a free young man came to a grinding halt one summer day after having been arrested for excessive embellishment - not for his story, mind you, but for a highly ornate tapestry he had created as an homage to his dear mama, Anna Roccini. Charged with being criminally garish, Rocco was sentenced to twelve years of hard labor (eleven suspended). While incarcerated, Rocco was assigned to the cucina. It was there that he began honing his culinary skills, specializing in gnocchi and cannoli. His cellmates couldn't get enough of his confections. The guards were giddy when Rocco shared his potato dumplings with the homicidal maniacs in solitary. Rocco was a model prisoner. Having been released after just six weeks for fairly good behavior, Rocco decided to start anew. So, off to the pier he went - cutting mat and fancy presser foot at the ready. After having commandeered a salmon boat at gunpoint, our intrepid mama's boy set sail for the New World; first stop: Staten Island; second stop: the potty; third stop: Cincinnati (after having commandeered a Greyhound at gunpoint).

Information regarding Rocco's goings on following his arrival in the Queen City is the stuff of legend (or lies...whatever). We do know, based on readily available restaurant employee records, that he spent a particularly brutal tour of duty as a line cook at a Norwood Denny's from August of '77 to October of that same year.  Following his dismissal (for repeatedly threatening to 'shoot up the place'), he reportedly accepted a gig as a drive thru lead at a Cheviot area White Castle. It was there, according to well-placed sources, that Rocco was bitten by the broadcasting bug. Fever and chills followed.

 

Truthfully, this line of Shinola is not for anyone to question. Probably best to place our pie holes on mute. Seriously.

 

Just have a seat, shut up your face, open your freakin' ears, and enjoy. But don't even think of criticizing the Chef's work. You might just end up rolled in a beautifully handmade quilt and dumped in the local landfill.

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