New TV program explores the area’s local vibrant restaurant scene – Premieres Jan. 9

WHYY’s CHECK, PLEASE! Explores Delaware Valley’s Vibrant Restaurant Scene

Series Premieres January 9, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. on WHYY-TV

Check, Please!, a new WHYY production that features local diners offering up their reviews of area restaurants, will debut Thursday, January 9, at 7:30 p.m. on WHYY-TV.

Hosted by noted food and travel writer Kae Lani Palmisano, each episode invites viewers to experience all that the Philadelphia region’s lively and diverse dining scene has to offer.

In each episode of Check, Please!, three local diners — rather than professional restaurant critics — choose their favorite restaurants for the other guests to visit anonymously. After trying all three recommended restaurants, the guests gather in the studio to discuss, dispute and celebrate their dining experiences.

The first season of Check, Please! features 39 restaurants including Azie, Bing Bing Dim Sum, High Street on Market, Hungry Pigeon, Little Fish, Noord, Poi Dog, Sardine Bar, Sate Kampar, Vedge, Vernick, Zeppoli, Mrs. Robino’s, Del Pez and The House of William & Merry.

“We are thrilled to offer viewers a vibrant picture of both the hot spots and the hidden gems of the local restaurant scene,” says Terri Murray, vice president of programming and production at WHYY. “From service and atmosphere to food and price, we’ll explore the local world of food through diners ready to dish about their favorite neighborhood places.”

WHYY recruited participating diners by asking, “If you have an appetite for Philly food, a passion for can’t-miss-plates in South Jersey, or a must-taste place you’re dying to share in Delaware, we want to hear from you!” The final group of diners was chosen out of more than 500 applicants based on their passion for the local food scene, their willingness to try something new and their ability to chat candidly in front of the camera. Diners also reflect the diversity of the region’s population.

An early sampling of diner comments suggests these amateur reviewers are quickly learning how to turn a phrase. Noted one, “I have a longstanding moral objection to artichokes.” Another reviewer really enjoyed her meal. “I went to town on the huevos rancheros. It was so good!” And a third commenter was perhaps searching for a way to work around a disappointing meal. “I had a delicious club soda. Perfect balance of carbonation and water.”

“This region has some of the best restaurants in the world and many of them are tucked into neighborhoods where only the locals know how good they are,” said Check, Please! host Kae Lani Palmisano. “On our show you’ll see local food lovers chatting about what makes a restaurant special, forgettable and everything in between!

Obsessed with the history and origins of food, Palmisano’s journeys have taken her from exploring the Spice Route through Israel and Europe to foraging with the Māori in New Zealand. Living by the motto that “Life is too short to live anything but deliciously,” the South Jersey-native and contributing Food & Travel Editor with USA TODAY 10Best spent last year researching cuisine and culinary traditions on four continents. In addition to reporting on international cuisine for USA TODAY 10Best, Kae Lani has also covered the Philadelphia food scene for the James Beard Award-winning publication Roads & Kingdoms.

The Check, Please! series began in Chicago in 2001 and has since been adapted in other locations, including Miami, Kansas City, and the Bay area.


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