Rocco, the son of a master baker and a candlestick maker, hails from the port city of Buffoonia, Sicily. A rather unremarkable toddler, our malevolent little meatball maintained a low profile so as not to pique the interest of law enforcement. The respect he craved as a trusted bookie, racketeer, bodyguard, human genome editor, wet nurse, amateur plagiarist and expert quilter would be his to enjoy one day. But that respect had to be earned.

Having first run afoul of the local constabulary at the tender age of four and a half dog years, 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 once revered family name. He was even excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church for his refusal to abandon the Bargello Technique, seen by some as a form of black magic.

Rocco's days as a free 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 a homage to his dear mama, Anna "The Stench" Roccini.

Charged with being criminally garish, a third degree felony in this particular jurisdiction, Rocco was found guilty and sentenced to twelve years of hard labor (eleven suspended), spending most of that time as a pastry chef in the prison cucina. It was there he honed his culinary skills, specializing in almond biscotti, pistachio cannoli, and, of course, Italian wedding cake. His cellmates couldn't get enough of his sinfully alluring confections. Even the guards would giggle like schoolgirls when Rocco shared his iced marzipan fruit balls with the cross-dressing homicidal maniacs in solitary, especially when he delivered the taste-tempting treats clad only in delightfully flowered shower slippers and a polka-dotted Charmeuse banana hammock. Rocco was a model prisoner (and if it weren't for the makeshift catwalk the warden had commissioned, Rocco, aka "Cacciatore Cheeks", would have ended up being just an average prisoner).​

Paroled 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).

Rocco has a li'l sumthin' sumthin' for you: an hour of blistering classic rock every Friday at noon. 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 handcrafted quilt and dumped in the local landfill.

Mail-icon (1).png