Lincoln Park native Billy Dec loves his hometown, but part of his heart has always been in his mother’s homeland of the Philippines. Although he graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law and passed the bar, Dec, 51, ultimately veered into hospitality and started multiple businesses, among them the restaurant chain Sunda New Asian, now in four cities, including a swank new location in the West Loop. A familiar face on the Today show, where he chats about food and cocktails, he’s also the central figure in Food Roots, an acclaimed documentary on the film-festival circuit that follows Dec’s quest to reconnect with his Filipino elders and dig deep into their cuisine. With homes in Chicago and Nashville, the globetrotter stays nimble in exercise and diet: “What’s working for me is a combination of regular routines and randomness.”

Various supplements
Photography: (pills) Santiago Urquijo/Getty Images; (powder) DripDrop; (bottle) Designs for Health

Six a day

“When I’m traveling, I bring a pill pack I make for nighttime. What’s in it? NeuroMag, which is magnesium [for cognitive health]; Relaxed Wanderer, which is Chinese herbs from my acupuncturist; turmeric for inflammation; aloe, which helps you stay regular; inositol; potassium. They’re all plant-based holistic supplements.”

Exploration through exercise

“In New York, L.A., Chicago, I go to Equinox. But in Pittsburgh, I just went to the Y and walked into a class. Today in Cleveland, I found wherever I could get a day pass. Going to random gyms is a super-fascinating way to absorb the city culture. I’m able to pick up on the energy and speech. It’s like going to restaurants, talking to bartenders and servers to find out where to really go.”

Sticking to it

“I grew up with all sorts of martial arts. I still do it because it forces me to be flexible, fast, and nimble. There’s a very cool ancient Filipino martial art with two bamboo sticks that’s called arnis where we’re from in the north. It’s also called kali or eskrima. It’s both calm and aggressive. Your eye-to-hand coordination has to be quick. I’ve kept arnis close for heritage and family reasons — my brother and I used to practice it together. It’s quite beautiful.”