Catherine De Orio’s Dinner Bell Goes Off on Friday

The new host of Check, Please! is ready to eat.

Catherine De Orio   Photo: Teresa Crawford

The new host of WTTW’s more-popular-than-bacon restaurant-review show, Check, Please!, is Catherine De Orio, who was chosen from a gaggle of candidates in a publicly conducted process this past spring. Her debut episode airs Friday, October 18 at 8 p.m. Here are a few hors d’oeuvres from De Orio for the Check, Please!-deprived.

On why Check, Please! is so big:

It’s not just about finding the places. There are a lot of great ways to find places to dine. But it’s that human element, the interaction between the people, that makes [the show] authentic and popular.

On the power of Check, Please! to make or break restaurants:

My job is just to make sure the information gets out here for the viewers. I can’t make a place good or bad. I can see where someone says something [negative], and I can’t help but feel bad. I love the restaurant business. I don’t like hearing something uncomplimentary, but what a boring show that would be [without it].

On guests getting along during the season she just finished taping:

I feel like I had an easy season. I had good guests. There was definitely dissension, but nothing that was what I would call a Real Housewives moment. I wish someone would have flipped the table and gotten really mad.

On adjusting to having the camera on:

The most difficult part for me was that I am a very engaged listener. I tend to lean in to people [to listen], and that changes the camera dynamics. The stage director [had to] hold up a sign that said, “Sit back.”

On what the previous host, Alpana Singh, told her:

She said, “You are going to be very surprised how many people recognize you and how many people watch the show. I’m at the Boarding House every night now. You would not believe, I have grandmas who want to take pictures with me. And 16 years olds. I knew it was a popular show, but never so much as when people had direct access to me. So be prepared.”

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