Business, People

‘Dining in the D’ has Area Audiences Drooling for More

Tom Keshishian is as bombastic as Emeril, well traveled as Guy Fieri and loves to eat as much as Mario Batali. If you know exactly what I’m talking about, then “Dining in the D” is your kind of show, too.

Keshishian, also known as Chef Tom, is the host of the new television program about our great Metro Detroit eateries. The program will air at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays on WTVS/Detroit Public Television (that’s channel 56 to all of you locals).

The goal is to create “a positive show about the Detroit culinary community” and bring it to a wide audience, said Executive Producer Michael Whitenack. Previously, “Dining in the D” ran on a public access channel for southeast Oakland County. Talk about making the big time.

WTVS has signed “Dining in the D” to a 10-episode contract. The first 30-minute episode will feature Berkley Bistro and Café in Berkley, Lily’s Seafood Grill & Brewery in Royal Oak, and Woodbridge Tavern in Detroit. (Full disclosure: I love Lily’s Seafood and have eaten there more than I care to mention. Actually, you don’t need to know that. But you do need to eat there.)

Chef Tom and the rest of the crew are flying high with their move to public television. The show “promotes Michigan and small restaurateurs,” Chef Tom said. If they can keep even $1 in Michigan, then an independent business has a chance to survive, thrive and go on to feed the masses for another day.

“We want people to buy locally, promote locally and think locally,” Chef Tom told me. “If we help ourselves locally, our community will benefit. It shows everyone that Michigan is not dead.”

Here’s how the show goes: “Dining in the D” highlights four area restaurants in each episode. Chef Tom takes you around from the front of the house (where we hungry folks sit) and into the kitchen to see where the magic happens. He sits down with the chef, talks to the owner and tries out the signature dishes. Really, it is a hard job. He struggles to get out of bed every morning, I’m sure.

“This has been my first foray in TV, and I’ve really enjoyed talking chef-to-chef with some of the truly remarkable talent in the Detroit area,” says Keshishian, of Walled Lake. “There are so many interesting stories about what goes on in these places, especially the food that foodies can’t get anywhere else.

“Plus, the owners and chefs we’ve met have made conscious efforts to stay in the Detroit area and have found ways to stay viable and even open during the last few economically challenging years,” Chef Tom added. (You can say that again, brother.) “We believe this is a show that WTVS viewers, and we hope many new viewers, will enjoy.”

Restaurants featured on “Dining in the D” range from elegant, white tablecloth establishments to everyday family-friendly fare. I’m geeked to hear more about some of my other favorites, especially Le Petit Zinc in Detroit, Guilio’s Cucina Italiana in Livonia and The Fiddler in West Bloomfield. Yum.

“Good food doesn’t necessarily mean expensive or exotic food; it’s available at a variety of price points, cuisines and dining styles,” Keshishian said.

After the success of Detroit Restaurant Week, with such a concentration on eating in and around the city and in light of our continued efforts to create food tourism here, I’m excited to watch “Dining in the D,” especially to give my writing palie and new media guru Bonnie Caprara a pat on the back for helping this project get its legs. (Full disclosure: I love her writing.) You too can join the preview at Woodbridge Pub. Check out the spring menu and stay late for Trivia Night. Tell Bonnie I sent you.

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