WTTW’s popular local restaurant review series CHECK, PLEASE! will conclude its 15th season with a unique “Chef’s Choice” special, in which all three Check, Please! hosts, past and present, introduce a program in which a diverse group of elite Chicago chefs tell us where they themselves choose to dine. The special “Chef’s Choice” episode will premiere Friday, February 26 at 8:00 pm and on wttw.com/checkplease.
Past hosts Amanda Puck and Alpana Singh and current host Catherine De Orio help to introduce the 30-minute episode along with the chefs. Then, each of the chefs is shown in his or her restaurant introducing the local eatery of their choice. This is the first time Puck and Singh have returned to the program since their departures, and also the first time the restaurant choices have been made not by “regular people” reviewers who applied online, but by notables around Chicago’s dining scene.
The chefs, and some of their restaurants, are:
Grant Achatz – Alinea, Next, Aviary
Curtis Duffy – Grace
Bo Fowler – Owen & Engine, Fat Willy’s Rib Shack
Paul Kahan – Blackbird, Publican, Nico Osteria
Bill Kim – UrbanBelly, Belly Shack, BellyQ
Michael Kornick – mk the Restaurant, DMK Burger Bar, Ada Street
Tony Mantuano – Spiaggia, Terzo Piano, Bar Toma
Rick and Ashley Ortiz – Antique Taco
Iliana Regan – Elizabeth, Bunny the Micro Bakery/WunderPOP
The chosen restaurants are under wraps until the premiere, but there are clues: Curtis Duffy’s favorite is an eatery he first heard about on CHECK, PLEASE!, and Bill Kim’s choice has a cherished memory attached to it – while dining there, he realized his date that evening was destined to be his wife. Another clue: then-future President Barack Obama famously appeared on a very early episode of CHECK, PLEASE!, and clips of him are included in this special.
“CHECK, PLEASE! has, unquestionably, evolved into an incredibly influential resource for Chicagoans to explore our area’s restaurants.” said series creator David Manilow. “I am very proud that the series has given so many deserving restaurateurs such a strong boost, and generated so much interest from audience members to explore. Over the past 15 seasons, more than 35,000 people have applied to be on the show, which is a telling statistic bearing out the show’s popularity. For this special, I was excited to find out where the experts who make the food we love choose to eat when given the choice.”
Manilow also hosts WTTW’s digital series Chat, Please!, in which he sits down with a variety of local food and dining notables for freewheeling one-on-one discussions about what they do. New segments are added to the website on a regular basis.
CHECK, PLEASE! is a multi-platform initiative. Its robust website is the online destination for local foodies searching for dining options in the city and suburbs. Visitors can watch the show and find a comprehensive database of the featured restaurants, searchable by name, location, price range, and cuisine; chef recipes; blogs; and other special features including the Check, Please Planner, a calendar of food happenings in town.
About CHECK, PLEASE!
WTTW’s Emmy-winning restaurant review series CHECK, PLEASE! and its continually rotating trio of “regular people” restaurant reviewers have exposed Chicagoans to almost 600 local eateries across a wide span of neighborhoods, cuisines, ethnicities, and price points – encouraging viewers to experience all that the Chicago area’s vibrant and diverse dining scene has to offer – on-air and online. The host of CHECK, PLEASE!, Catherine de Orio, creates a warm atmosphere and facilitates a lively discussion with the guests.
WTTW is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, the Spanish-language channel WTTW Vme, and WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and on wttw.com. Recognized for award-winning local and national productions such as CHICAGO TONIGHT, CHECK, PLEASE!, and MEXICO – ONE PLATE AT A TIME WITH RICK BAYLESS, WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s programming to 2 million weekly viewers across a four state area. Visitors to wttw.com can connect with others in the community and access a full library of local and national video content for kids and adults, interactive features, event and membership opportunities, and robust microsites dedicated to WTTW and PBS series and specials. Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.