Yesterday (2/24/14), Albany lost a legend – Pat (Pasquale) Rocco, chef extraordinaire and all around mensch.
Pat started out with a small restaurant on upper New Scotland Ave.
Pat then went on to become the Executive Chef at the legendary Ambassador Rstaurant – first on State St. and then on Elk St. when it was forced to move by South Mall demolition.
After the Ambassador closed, he served as executive chef to Governors Carey and Cuomo. Chef Rocco was instrumental in the development of the pastry department of the well-known culinary division of Schenectady County Community College. Pat subsequently moved to Las Vegas and worked his magic there, before returning to Albany.
Pat was perhaps most known for his magnificent and spectacular sugar creations; extravaganzas of pastillage. Pastillage is the art of creating decorations and objects from sugar dough, and dates back to perhaps the 16th century.
Pat was the master. He exhibited at the International Culinary Food Show in NY, Societé Culinaire Philanthropique, for many years. In 1972, he won the silver medal in the pastillage category in the World Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany. His pieces were amazing!
Pat literally wrote the book, in 1998.
He was an astonishing talent, in addition to being a much beloved husband and father.