Check, Please! is a popular restaurant review program that first aired on Chicago's PBS member station WTTW in 2001. The show's popularity inspired spin-offs in several other markets. A San Francisco version of the show, Check, Please! Bay Area, began its first season in 2005, airing on KQED. A Miami version for WPBT, Check, Please! South Florida, debuted in January 2008. Check, Please! Kansas City then began airing on KCPT in 2009, and Check, Please! Arizona on Phoenix's KAET made its debut in 2010. A Seattle version, Check, Please! Northwest, began airing on KCTS in 2012.
The format of the show is simple: three people sit down with a host to discuss three local eating establishments, one favorite chosen by each guest. Before the program is taped, each person chooses a favorite restaurant, and everyone in the group is required to visit each person's selection. Afterwards, everyone describes their eating experiences. Although many participants select trendy, upscale restaurants, just about any eating establishment is fair game including hot dog stands and "neighborhood joints".
The first two seasons of the show in Chicago were hosted by Amanda Puck, who is Wolfgang Puck's former sister-in-law. In October 2003, Amanda Puck was replaced with Alpana Singh, who has worked as a sommelier at Chicago's Everest restaurant and as the Director of Wine and Spirits for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. In 2013, Singh stepped down and was replaced by Catherine De Orio, a food writer and former lawyer.
The Miami version is hosted by chef Michelle Bernstein. The San Francisco version is hosted by wine consultant and author Leslie Sbrocco. The Kansas City version is hosted by wine consultant and author Doug Frost. The Phoenix version is hosted by chef Robert McGrath. The Seattle version is hosted by urban gardener Amy Pennington.
The concept was developed by David Manilow and Joel Cohen. The Executive Producers are Manilow, Cohen and V.J. McAleer. Manilow also oversees all operations of the show and the brand.
According to Manilow, the inspiration for creating the show came from a weekly dining club that he, Cohen and another friend started. The three would rotate picking places to go out to eat, and each would try to outdo each other in selecting wild or exotic places.
On January 16, 2009, a previously unaired August 2001 episode (Dixie Kitchen), which featured the then Illinois state senator Barack Obama, was finally premiered on WTTW, days before his presidential inauguration.
- 'Check Please!' names Catherine De Orio new host
- Shouse, Heather (2005-01-31). "Dish network: WTTW's runaway hit Check, Please! shakes things up for season four.". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
- Dixie Kitchen (Barack Obama Special)
- Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop: Celebrity
- Barack Obama: Food critic extraordinaire?
- Official website of Check, Please!
- WTTW Sponsored website of Check, Please!
- Official website of Check, Please! Bay Area
- Official website of Check, Please! South Florida
- Official website of Check, Please! Kansas City
- Official website of Check, Please! Arizona
- Official website of Check, Please! Northwest