Former WBBM News Anchor Serves Up Memorable Meals, Conversation on PBS

Former WBBM Channel 2 anchor Kate Sullivan is back on the air. This time, on PBS.

Following journalism jobs in Indiana, Arkansas, New York and Chicago, Sullivan was hungry to blaze her own trail. She found the perfect recipe as host and executive producer of “To Dine For,” a show combining Sullivan’s two passions: food and conversation.

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Each show features an interview with a different innovator – entrepreneurs, artists, and more – at their favorite restaurants.

Season two debuts Sunday at 1 p.m. on WTTW11.

Below, a Q&A with Kate Sullivan.

How did you come up with the concept for this show?

The premise was a hunch. As a journalist, I know how important it is to help people feel comfortable in order to get a good interview. After interviewing hundreds, thousands of people over the years, and seeing what really makes someone come alive, I knew that putting them in a setting where they feel comfortable is important. I just thought people would be more comfortable talking if you let them choose the restaurant.

How do you decide who you’re going to interview?

Every guest on this show has created something out of nothing. They’ve brought an idea to life through their own hard work, imagination and hustle.  Also, I’m interested in stories of people who not only have brought something to life, but can articulate the story in an interesting way. They need to be willing to talk about their failures.

What I find the most inspiring is when successful people are willing to be vulnerable enough to show others how to do it too. The guests on the show are all generous with their time and ideas. They’re allowing me to pull back the curtain on what it’s taken to get where they are.

Any real surprises stand out for you from the interviews?

Every interview is a surprise. When I go into an interview I never have any expectations. I don’t ever go into it with an agenda.  One of the things about doing it at their favorite restaurant, is that it’s part interview, part creating this memorable meal.

Any common themes that runs through these interviews?

Hard work. Everyone has a different definition, but each of these people who are willing to make their dream a reality, have what Howard Schulz, CEO of Starbucks, calls “an unreasonable amount of passion.” There’s a sign in Starbucks that says an unreasonable amount of passion led us here.

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