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'Check, Please!' narrows host search to 5

The search for a new host for TV’s popular “Check, Please!” has been whittled to five finalists, says executive producer David Manilow.

Freelance writer Senam Amegashie; Tavern at the Park owner Donny de Castro; Culinary Curator president Catherine De Orio; Ina’s Kitchen owner Ina Pinkney; and pastry chef and food consultant Sarah Levy are in contention for the job on WTTW-Ch. 11’s most popular show.

Nearly 1,000 people sent videos to apply for the position, and in March Manilow and his team announced 17 finalists, including several chefs. Initially, the host was going to be announced May 1.

Then WTTW and the show’s producers agreed to do a TV special — indeed, “The Check, Please Host (Almost) Audition Special,” which promises to detail the audition and decision process, will air May 17. “We taped all these auditions, which took a long time, and we had to watch all of those auditions, which took even longer,” said Manilow, the show’s creator, “and we didn’t want people to think they were just sending stuff in and we already knew who the host was, so their work was being dismissed. We didn’t want the hard work that’s gone into this to go unnoticed.”

The final five, Manilow said, were chosen from a combination of online votes and simple practicality — would they would work well on the show?

The host will be announced May 29. Taping for the next season of the restaurant-review show begins in late June.

The show’s previous host, celebrity sommelier Alpana Singh, announced in January that she was leaving to focus on her new restaurant, The Boarding House.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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