Whether it’s the bubbly personality of host Leslie Sbrocco, the cattiness of the guests or the fact that anyone can appear on the show, “Check, Please! Bay Area” has been a huge hit as it gets set to launch its eighth season this month.
We got a chance to talk with Sbrocco, who has hosted the show from the onset. She said “it never really dawned on her” how big the show would get when she was first approached about hosting it. “I was doing a show at KQED on wine, which is more my background. I wasn’t quite sure how it (Check Please) would take. But I think around the third season, people finally got a feel for what the show is about,” she said. “We don’t take ourselves super serious on Check Please; it’s more about making it entertaining and fun for our audience to watch. We want it to be relatable for our audience, as if they were one of the three guests sitting in the chairs on our set.”
The show’s premise is fairly simple – bring together three people to talk about one of their favorite restaurants in the Bay Area, have the other guests try that restaurant and discuss over wine (and Sbrocco assures us that yes, she and the guests are REALLY drinking wine). Oftentimes, the guests disagree on a restaurant, which Sbrocco admits can be a challenge. “Really, each set show presents its own challenge. I think the hardest part for me is that I don’t get to give my opinions on a restaurant. Sometimes I look at our guests and can’t believe what they’re saying about some of these places. But I also know that in the food world, everyone has their own opinion, which is what makes this show so interesting. We bring together people of varying backgrounds, with different likes and dislikes. It’s part of what makes the show really fun.”
Over the years, Sbrocco said she has picked up a lot of helpful hints and great finds from guest’s choices, places she might not ever think to visit. She sees a lot of improvement in the show from the beginning, from choices of interesting guests, to production-wise (she said the food shots are getting better and better and taping the show has also tightened to the point where they can shoot three in one day). And for those interested in appearing on Check Please? “First, you need to submit a well-written review of a restaurant we haven’t already featured on the show. Go back into our archives to make sure we haven’t visited the place you are writing about,” Sbrocco said. “Make it a fun and interesting review so that it stands out. After we narrow down the choices, we do phone and in person interviews and I think that really allows possible guests to show their personality.”
Season 8 of Check, Please! Bay Area premieres on Thursday, April 11 at 7:30pm on KQED.
Photo Credit: blogs.kqed.org