Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito, the star of NBC's The Restaurant, will apparently be returning for the sequel to the hit summer reality series after all. In a recent wide-ranging interview with Australian's The Melbourne Age newspaper, Mark Burnett, executive producer of the series, announced DiSpirito's return, which was previously considered questionable. "You're hearing it from me now," Burnett told The Age, "Rocco is returning. I haven't actually [previously] told any journalist that."

As reported previously, NBC's original offer to pick up a second season of The Restaurant centered around a follow-up visit to DiSpirito's "Rocco's on 22nd Street" restaurant that was featured on the original series.. However series producer Ben Silverman later publicly stated that there were two alternative futures for The Restaurant being discussed; one featuring Rocco, and a second centered around a new chef and restaurant, and a final decision as to which option would be pursued had not yet been determined.

According to Burnett, the second season of The Restaurant will start filming in New York on November 17. The production schedule ensures that it will be a very busy holiday season for television's premier reality television producer, as the highly anticipated All-Star edition of his Survivor series recently began its approximately six-week production on location at Panama's Pearl Islands.