3/20/2013 10:00:00 AM

David Manilow Has Spoken: 17 "Check, Please!" Finalists Announced

In a process that is like American Idol meets Survivor circa 2001, WTTW’s restaurant review program Check, Please! is searching for a new host to replace the magnanimous Alpana Singh, who left to focus on her new restaurant The Boarding House. The process began earlier this year when executive producer David Manilow announced the hunt for a new host. Nine hundred applicants flooded Manilow with videos, a two-minute plea about why they are worthy of the coveted position. Wait is it coveted? Last time we checked not that many people actually watch the public access program, except our grandmother - we think she may occasionally watch.

The audition process, which quickly became more publicized than the actual program, announced the final 17 applicants last night. The dramatic 12:01 AM announcement sent waves through Twitter, via the dozen or so foodie still awake and online and who cared. A few names on the list make ears perk up: one that ends in Trotter (his wife Rochelle), a certain Chicagoist food editor, former City Provisions owner/chef Cleetus Friedman, local writer/chef/television personality Catherine DeOrio, a few more chefs and some people who have absolutely no ties to the culinary industry.

Who will the next co-host be? That decision is up to you. Voting take place on the Check, Please! website until April, 17. Will the host revitalize the someone outdated and flat program, drive viewers to the network only recently known because it airs Downtown Abbey reruns? Maybe, but most likely not. But this three-ring circus of an audition process certainly kept us entertained and left the Chicago food world hearing the words Check, Please much more frequently. And no, we were not asking for the bill. 


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