Best Public TV Show - 2008
Check, Please! Bay Area
Check, Please! Bay Area takes a page from blogs and offers restaurant reviews by regular diners, poorly trained palates and all. Each episode finds three locals sampling one another's favorite restaurants, and part of the fun is watching them dismantle these favorites. Not everyone gets along, especially when it comes to MSG in Chinatown. Another good part is witnessing the regular Joes marvel about their affairs with high-end dining, eating Kobe beef, and negotiating the cheese course. The show, now in its third season and shot in high definition, is gently moderated by author and wine critic Leslie Sbrocco, a host with a talent for broad smiling, and everyone is seated rather uncomfortably around a table. It's dorky, of course — it's public television. But Check, Please! has an addictive way of digging into the local scene, and critics have been tuning in: It won a 2007 James Beard Foundation Media Award.