Restaurant Scene: Munster's Brunacci among 'Check Please!' finalists

2013-03-22T00:00:00Z 2013-10-17T11:14:06Z Restaurant Scene: Munster's Brunacci among 'Check Please!' finalistsEloise Marie Valadez, (219) 9333365

Noted chef and truffle king Frank Brunacci has a shot at being the next host of WTTW's show "Check, Please!"

Brunacci, of Munster, is one of 17 finalists chosen to vie for the spot on the popular restaurant review series. The chef, co-owner with his wife Lillian of The Chef's Diamond Company, a truffle importing business, is no stranger to outstanding food. He was the former executive chef of Sixteen Restaurant at Chicago's Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago and has worked in kitchens around the world.

A native of Melbourne, Australia, Brunacci, his wife, and two children, moved to Munster in 2007 just as he was getting ready to step into the chef's role at Sixteen.

Among others in the running for host of "Check, Please!" are Chicago's breakfast queen Ina Pinkney; Charlie Trotter's wife Rochelle Trotter, owner of R'Culiniare; and Cletus Friedman, former chef/owner of City Provisions. To vote for who you'd like to see as host, visit Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. April 17.

Dine with the Chefs

Creative and innovative recipes starred at the recent  Meals on Wheels Dine with the Chefs Gala 2013 in Merrillville.

Guests joined together March 3 at Avalon Manor for the fundraiser, which included an hors d'oeuvres and sunrise cocktail reception, silent auction and raffle, entertainment, and a multi-course meal.

Among chefs displaying their talents in the kitchen were  Elida Abeyta of Ivy Tech, Jim Galligan of Valparaiso University, Ruben Calvo of Ruben's Mexican Grill, Harry Karahalois of Briar Ridge Country Club, Tim Merkel of Youche Country Club, Beverly Seleb of Ivy Tech, Joe Trama of Trama Catering, Thomas Spoor of Horseshoe Casino, Terry Zych of Ivy Tech, Kenneth Regan of Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, and Don Zajac of Harborside Golf Course.

Dishes in the spotlight included handmade sushi rolls, Corona beer battered chicken chunks with Guajillo pepper marmalade, roasted red pepper soup, arugula with spinach, pancetta, walnuts and pineapple, crispy black bass with braised pork belly, grilled herb lamb chops with minted couscous risotta, fried Brussels sprouts, walnuts and feta and a molecular baked Alaska.

For more information on Meals on Wheels, visit

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach her at (219) 933-3365 or

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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