Photo: Ralf-Finn Hestoft

Q: You’ve done food stories for dozens of Chicago outlets. Is this new position the pinnacle for you?
A: Having done the cable TV thing for a decade, getting “the call” from ABC 7 was like moving from Des Moines to Wrigley Field. I have the opportunity to discover new tastes in the most exciting food city in America, and tell a very large audience about them. The only thing better would be having dinner with Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin, and R. W. Apple.

Q: What are you going to do differently from your predecessor?
A: A lot more neighborhood coverage. I’m really going to be focused on hitting the mom-and-pop places.

Q: What is your mission, and how much freedom do you have to pursue it?
A: To seek out the best food possible, and to teach viewers a few things about dishes or ingredients they might have otherwise not known. ABC leaves it to me to come up with good stories.

Q: What food trends should we look for?
A: I hate to say small plates, but restaurateurs keep proving me wrong. There will also be more options for authentic, regional Mexican food in the neighborhoods (and suburbs)-which means the days of waiting in line at Frontera could be over.

Q: Where do you keep all those James Beard Awards?
A: One of my mentors framed my first one in a cool letterbox, so the other ten are all similarly framed and hanging in my home office. This is going to sound pathetic, but we’re running out of wall space.