Billy Dec Answers Five Questions

Billy Dec Answers Five Questions

In the latest installment of our regular running feature, Chicago celebrity restauranteur and Elston Films Co-Founder Billy Dec answers Five Questions with SCREEN. Billy co-hosts the food/travel special BIG NIGHT OUT for A&E's FYI Network, and it premieres tonight, July 9th, at 9:30 pm Central.

SCREEN: Tell us about BIG NIGHT OUT premiering tonight.

DEC: Exciting! It¹s a food/cocktail/travel special on A&E¹s FYI Network, we filmed a few months back in Portland, Maine! I¹m hosting with Camille Ford (of FOOD WARS) and we had 24 hours to explore the best of Portland, based on social media suggestions and from chatting with locals! It's basically about our culinary, hospitality passion coming together on screen and to connect with new people and communities. There are amazing shots and a lot of footage with high speed cameras and great angles. The talent behind the camera and sound is outstanding - I¹m excited to see what they did to shoot food and drink from different perspectives.

SCREEN: You've had a couple of BIG NIGHTS OUT with that Stanley Cup of late. Got a good story to share?

DEC: I can say I know I¹ll never have another night like the first night in 2010. They came to Rockit, there were 4,000 people outside, the streets closed off, hanging out the windows, we jumped on their bus, hit a couple other spots, then ended at Underground, it was insane. I was literally running up and down the bar with the cup, pouring champagne in there and letting everyone drink from it

SCREEN: What is your favorite street festival in Chicago (and why)?

DEC: So hard. But, I would have to say Lincoln Park Antique Fest. I was born and raised in Lincoln Park and still live there, and I¹m also a total antique/vintage/second-hand geek. Plus, I used to perform as the Yankee Doodle Dandy Boy in 5th grade for St. Clement in their alley during the fest for passer-byers - some parents and grandparents still come up to me and tell me they remember those days. Embarrassing but a cool memory to have.

SCREEN: What's your favorite day of the week? Why?

DEC: Thursday is the most memorable and meaningful day for me. For the past four years I've been doing Live TV in front of half a million viewers on ABC, that¹s always on a Thursday, I'm doing the Today Show this Thursday, BIG NIGHT OUT airs this Thursday, I've always felt like it was a "performance" day. It¹s also the day of the week, every week, I sit down with my partners and meet about anything from tough issues to new, interesting ideas to being responsible for the 650 employees in our Rockit Ranch family. It¹s just always been a big day for me.

SCREEN: Cubs or Sox?

DEC: Chicago.


SCREEN: What's your favorite American city, foreign city?

DEC: Other than Chicago, of course. I've been spending a lot of time in DC because of my Commissioner work on the White House¹s Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I used to not love it as much, but the more I'm there, the more I am starting to fall in love with their heightened passion for food and this influx of active, energetic young professionals. But I also love the people, music and food of Nashville! Outside of the states, I would say it's a tie between Tokyo, Bangkok and Hong Kong - in the pursuit of exploring Asia thoroughly for the creation of our concept Sunda and traveling to my mom¹s home town in the Philippines, I just fell in love with those three.

BIG NIGHT OUT premieres tonight, July 9th, at 9:30 pm Central, on A&E's FYI Network. Visit our TRAILER PARK for a preview!