Since I left ABC 7 in February (after 17 years as “The Hungry Hound”), I’ve been building up my other businesses – real estate consulting with Baum Realty
(I got my Illinois Real Estate License in May), teaching the first-ever food journalism class at Northwestern’s Medill School
, curating private tours and experiences (some virtual, others in-person), freelance production and of course all of the pizza-related material, like the weekly Pizza City USA
tours, the bi-monthly podcast
and the new book
coming out in October. I really wanted to create a “portfolio career” of sorts, with multiple avenues, just in case one thing falls through. I’ve come to realize I’m as much an entrepreneur as I am a journalist – next project on deck: The Chicago Pizza Festival (details coming soon). So when NBC 5 reached out, asking if I would be interested in getting back to covering the local food scene, I was ready to add this to my plate, but clearly, I no longer had the bandwidth to file two stories each week. The amount of planning, eating, shooting and editing would be too much at this point. Since March, I’ve been filing weekly stories for my YouTube channel
, just keeping those muscles active, showing that I could, indeed, produce a story each week on my own. That’s what I suggested to NBC 5, and that’s exactly what they wanted. But when? I had always suggested to ABC 7 that my stories should air on Thursday nights, since that’s when most people are planning their weekends. Fortunately, the team at NBC 5 agreed, and so that’s when you’ll see “The Food Guy” each week, during the 10 p.m. newscast.
The stories will look a lot like my previous work – I’ll introduce a taped piece live on-set, then chat with the anchors afterward. I’ll be covering the same kinds of places I always have: a mix of high-end, newer PR-driven restaurants along with the hidden gems found tucked away in the neighborhoods. I’ll be eating all over the city and suburbs just like I always have. NBC 5 is leaving it up to me to determine what I cover. It’s also important to note they have given me a budget to dine out on my own, so all meals are paid for by the station, just like they were at ABC 7.
I’m looking forward to this new opportunity, and to continue sharing my delicious finds with readers, viewers and eaters in Chicagoland and beyond. See you this Thursday night at 10.