Sit down at the table with David Manilow, creator of Check, Please!, as he explores the Chicago food and restaurant landscape with the unique personalities who have influenced it. You’ll meet celebrity chefs, restaurant designers, restaurateurs, food writers, distillery owners, mixologists, and more. From ballpark dogs to Michelin stars, the players from all around the restaurant scene will chat about what makes Chicago dining the envy of the world.

Arun Sampanthavivat

Chef/Owner, Taste of Thai Town and Arun's

On Thai cuisine

Brian Jupiter

Executive Chef, Frontier

Joanna Stachon

Executive Chef, Ada St.

On nose-to-tail cooking

Huge Galdones

Food Photographer

Johanna Lowe

Food Stylist

On food photography

Brian and Helen Mita

Owners, Mita Izakaya

On Izakayas

Michael Carroll

Owner, Band of Bohemia

Jesse Diaz

Founder, Dark Matter

On Chicago culture and innovation

Phillip Foss

Chef/Owner, El Ideas

Ryan McCaskey

Chef/Owner, Acadia

On prix fixe

Meathead Goldwyn

Barbecue & Grilling Expert

On grilling

Ina Pinkney

Former Owner, Ina's

On breakfast

Gabriel Magliaro

Co-founder, Half Acre

Michael Roper

Owner, Hopleaf

On craft beer

Jimmy Bannos, Sr.

Chef/Owner, Heaven on Seven

Jimmy Bannos, Jr.

Chef, Purple Pig

On growing up in the restaurant industry

Kimbal Musk

Co-founder, The Kitchen

Tovah McCord

Regional Director, The Kitchen

On Learning Gardens

Sebastien Canonne

Jacquy Pfeiffer

Co-founders, The French Pastry School

On French pastries

Rodrick Markus

Owner, Rare Tea Cellar

On tea

Alexandra DeSorbo Quinn

Executive Director, Pilot Light

Jason Hammel

Chef/Owner, Lula Cafe

On Pilot Light

Greg O'Neill

Co-Owner/Founder, Pastoral

On cheese and wine

Rachel Gillman Rischall

Liz Grossman

Co-Founders, Between Bites

On food storytelling

Mohammed Sekhani

Veteran Server, Gibsons

Kathy O'Malley Piccone

Managing Partner, Gibsons

On service

Jim Slama

Founder, FamilyFarmed

On the Good Food Movement

Adrienne Lo and Abraham Conlon

Owners of Fat Rice

On Macanese cuisine

Sam Toia

President, Illinois Restaurant Association

On Chicago restaurants

Lee Zaremba

Head Bartender and General Manager, Billy Sunday

Julia Momose

Head Bartender, GreenRiver

On cocktails

Paul Virant

Chef/Owner, Vie (Western Springs) and Perennial Virant

On preservation and canning

Billy Lawless

Owner, The Dawson, The Gage, and Acanto

On Irish bars and whisky

Katrina Markoff

Founder, Vosges Haut-Chocolat

On chocolate

Kee Chan

Co-owner/Chef, Strings Ramen

On Ramen

Tony Mantuano

Chef/Owner, Spiaggia

On Italian cooking

Erick Williams

Chef, County Barbeque

Barry Sorkin

Owner, Smoque BBQ


Ken Fredrickson

Master Sommelier & Owner, Tenzing Wine & Spirits

On what wine experts drink

Catherine De Orio

'Check, Please!' Host

On hosting 'Check, Please!'

Nick Kokonas

Owner - Alinea Restaurant, Next, The Aviary

On his restaurant ticket reservation system TOCK

Rob Katz & Kevin Boehm

Co-founders of Boka Restaurant Group

On steakhouses, social media, and soul

Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart

President, KOVAL Distillery

On bourbon

Rich Melman

Founder, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

On his career, his kids, and winning in the restaurant industry

Kevin Pang

Filmmaker; Writer, Chicago Tribune

On his film, 'For Grace,' about star chef Curtis Duffy’s life journey

Karen Herold

Restaurant Designer, Girl and the Goat

On the hidden secrets of restaurant design

Doug Sohn

Hot Doug's

On the past, present, and future of Hot Doug's

Paul Kahan

Executive Chef and Partner, Blackbird, Avec, Publican, Big Star

On pork, oysters, and his iconic Chicago restaurants

Alpana Singh

Master Sommelier & Owner Boarding House, Seven Lions

Belinda Chang

Sommelier and Wine Director, Maple & Ash

On BYOB restaurants, cocktail pairings, and “aha” moments