WTTW delivers flavor with its new show Dishalicious, which features Chicago chefs cooking up different cuisines and dishing on their experience and cooking tips.
Each episode features a different cuisine and, so far, has covered Italian, Mexican and Korean fare. Having three different chefs who specialize in each cusine, the emphasis is on collaboration between chefs and those chefs teaching audiences how to create their dishes at home. The show began airing on April 6 and is available for streaming.
"It's interesting, you get a glimpse into how chefs work together, a little bit about their history, culture, tips, you learn something," said Dishalicious Creator/Executive Producer David Manilow. "So, it's part talk show, part cooking demo."
The Italian cuisine episode included chefs Tony Mantuano, of Spiaggia and Bar Toma; Giuseppe Tentori, of GT Fish & Oyster and GT Prime; and Leigh Omilinsky, of Nico Osteria. The Mexican cuisine episode included chefs Rick Bayless, of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo; Diana Davila, of Mi Tocaya Antojeria; and Alfonso Sotelo, of 5 Rabanitos.
The Korean cuisine episode included chefs Bill Kim, of Urbanbelly and bellyQ; Dave Park, of Hanbun; and Beverly Kim, of Parachute.
"I've been to a lot of kitchens and I was always kind of fascinated with how chefs cook and collaborate together and it's a very warm community in Chicago," said Manilow. "It's a very generous, sharing, chef community, so I just thought that would be a very interesting glimpse into that life. I think people love cooking demos also. So you have a little bit of both."
Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio chef/partner Sarah Grueneberg is the show's host, serving energy, keeping the flow of the show going and asking the questions that viewers at home may be asking themselves. Grueneberg explained some of the questions she aimed to ask and have answered center around the chefs' life experiences, what they are doing as they cook, what their inspiration is as well as helpful hints.
"I think a lot of times we try to think about how can you adapt this chef recipe to a home cook," said Grueneberg, also a James Beard Award winner as well as a Top Chef and Iron Chef Gauntlet competitor. "It's a fun show to get to talk about different things that make chefs tick at that moment."
Grueneberg explained the various restaurants that the chefs come from range in style as well as price ranges.
"Doing this show now, I have found even I am looking for more ethnic, off-the-beaten-path restaurants, which before I think as a chef, we always go to our friends' restaurants, but doing this show has made me want to go and try other places, which is also fun," she said.
Bill Kim, who is featured in the Korean food episode, said cooking in front of a live audience was a new experience for him. His cooking, he described is uncategorized. His "food without borders," is inspired by his background, travels, love story and other personal experiences. The idea, he explained was to have something different than to what people are accustomed. He aims to take something people know and give them a different take on it.
"Chicago is my home, I grew up here almost 40 plus years and I want to bring something really, really, truly from the heart and I want to be able to feed a lot of people," said Bill who moved to Chicago when he was 7-years-old from Korea.
"I would love for them [people] to obviously come to our restaurants, but also to have that boundary kind of be broken," said Bill who has a new cookbook out with Chandra Ram called Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill In Seven Sauces. "It doesn't always have to be a mom and pop restaurant that makes it good, but it can be a busy restaurant and there could be all ethnic groups in those restaurants to be good. To me, that word authentic is a very personal thing, so your authentic and my authentic is totally different and that's what I really want people to understand."
"Even within the same cuisine, there are so many differences," said Beverly Kim, also featured in the Korean food episode. "It still makes it interesting, even though the commonality might be Korean, but all our restaurants might be different and have different spectrum of how Korean or how traditional or what other influences you bring in to mix with the Korean part. It's definitely interesting and great for the audience and great for people's awareness of what's going on.
Saying it was an honor to cook with Bill Kim, Dave Park and Chef Sarah in the one episode, she added that it is a rare and fun opportunity to collaborate.
Beverly described her cooking style as not traditional Korean, but having a Korean-American perspective. Having been born and raised in Downers Grove, her parents are immigrants from Korea, now American citizens and brought over a rich culinary history, which was a big part of her life. Her food at Parachute, as she said, has a Korean American touch with different global influences.
"I think it's good to show different cultures," Beverly said of Dishalicious. "I think sometimes a way to put a culture down could be through food and sometimes that's the first way to try to make other cuisines sound really foreign or primitive and it's a kind of subconscious racism, so I think it's good to show different cultures. Talking about racism is a very dark thing, so I think celebrating cuisine in a very positive way is a good solution to that."
"I hope we get to do more of them [episodes] because I think it celebrates the love of food in a way through different lenses, through different chefs, not just through the same chef cooking everyday," said Grueneberg of the show. "I think that's really interesting, the idea that it shows us in our natural habitat of being inspired by each other and not in competition is also really unique."
To stream episodes of Dishalicious, get recipes and more, visit schedule.wttw.com/series/26607/Dishalicious/.