Want to be a food critic? Here’s your chance to give it a try

April 21, 2024 | Review some of DC's best restaurants on new TV show (WTOP's Rachel Nania )

WASHINGTON If you’ve ever had the desire to drop in on some of the region’s best restaurants and rate the ramen or critique the consommé, now is your chance.

No, Tom Sietsema is not abandoning his post at the paper. Rather, local PBS station WETA-26 is looking for everyday foodies to be a part of its new program, “Check, Please!

The show, which is produced in other markets around the country, including Chicago and San Francisco, will highlight a variety of dining options in the D.C. area.

“We might look at a high-end fancy restaurant on the same show where we’re looking at a kebab shop in a mall somewhere,” said the show’s executive producer Glen Baker.

Rather than featuring professional critics, “Check, Please!” will have local residents visit the restaurants and rate the dishes.

Here’s how it works: The show will feature three guest reviewers per episode. Each guest recommends a favorite dining destination in the region, and the other two go to check it out.

After all three restaurants are visited, the guests meet with the show’s host, Compass Rose owner Rose Previte, and discuss their experiences.

“This area has grown up so much in the last few years, and it’s really a foodie destination, and because of that, there is an entire class of people out there who just really know about food, and enjoy it and want to share those ideas with others,” Baker said.

“And I think in a lot of ways, people want peers, citizens, who are kind of like them not necessarily the reviewer for the top magazine or something but someone who knows something about food, who can tell them where to go.”

Filming for D.C.’s “Check, Please!” began earlier this month, and the show (12 episodes) is expected to air later this year. Despite having received interest from several hundred potential guest reviewers, WETA is still accepting applications from interested locals.

Don’t worry — Baker says no previous experience in the food industry is required to participate.

“When I say ‘foodie,’ it means you like to eat. It doesn’t mean you’re necessarily an expert,” he said.

And while the show will, no doubt, shine a light on the area’s thriving food scene, Baker says the real goal is to encourage locals to explore the region’s diverse communities.

“We’re not all about trend-chasing. It’s more about the enduring appeal of good dining,” he added.

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