Dave Eckert | Chefs | PBS Food

Dave Eckert

With nearly 20 years of diversified experience in TV broadcasting, a background in food and dining reporting, and a burning passion for food and wine, Emmy award-winning producer and host Dave Eckert created "Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert" for TV. Eckert's extensive knowledge of food, wine, and spirits, and his desire to take viewers to "the source" of indigenous products and personalities around the globe, has made "Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert" a huge success.

Recognized twice in the last four years by the Academy of Wine Communications for his work, Eckert has also built a loyal audience for "Culinary Travels," which airs on some 160 Public Broadcasting affiliates across the country along with Direct TV, The Dish Network, Delta, U.S. Air, and Northwest Airlines. With some 100 half-hour episodes, and tens of thousands of miles, under his belt, Eckert is considered among the pre-eminent food, wine, and spirits experts in the world.

Eckert has an undeniable passion for food, wine, and spirits. For starters, he has a collection of some 3,000 bottles of wine and spirits in his home cellar. Eckert's cellar is very diverse, featuring wines from all over the world along with high end spirits such as Single Malt Scotch, Super Premium Bourbon, and Ultra Premium Tequila. Indeed, many of the bottles are from regions he visits when filming "Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert," including Italy, France, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Scotland, Mexico, and Kentucky. Naturally, Eckert has a passion and talent for pairing wines with great food, which he shares regularly with viewers.

Eckert graduated with honors from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, with a degree in Radio/Television in 1980. As a student, Eckert worked as an assistant news director and anchor at the school's WSIU-TV and WSIU-FM stations. After graduation, he was quickly snatched up by WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, IN.

After holding positions as a news reporter, sportscaster, weatherman, news writer and producer at TV stations from Little Rock, AR, to Pittsburgh, PA, and Kansas City, MO Eckert was hired as a reporter and anchor at ABC affiliate KMBC-TV in Kansas City. Over the next five years, Eckert helped to make the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. news programs No. 1 in this Top 30 market. As a matter of fact, he won two regional Emmies for his work.

In 1994, Eckert was hired by Chicago's superstation WGN-TV, owned by the Tribune Broadcasting Co. In addition to reporting news, Eckert developed, produced, reported and edited "What's Cookin' Chicago," a groundbreaking TV segment. Rather than present cooking demonstrations or dining reviews, "What's Cookin Chicago" featured food and wine in themed segments. One week, viewers were introduced to a Korean market, the next week they explored olive oils at world-class Spiaggia restaurant, the next they had a peak at a lively rib shack on Chicago's South Side. One thing's for sure: viewers really loved the weekly spot.

At WGN-TV, Eckert not only continued to build on his broadcast experience and food knowledge, but also he developed relationships with Chicago's great chefs, including Rick Bayless, Charlie Trotter, Gabino Sotelino, Sarah Stegner, Roland Liccioni and Jean Joho. When Julia Child, southwestern pioneer chef Mark Miller and wine expert Anthony Dias Blue were in town, Eckert had the opportunity to meet these movers and shakers and to broaden his valuable food and wine network.

In 1996, Eckert realized he was most fulfilled professionally when he was working on "What's Cookin' Chicago." Because food and wine had become such an important part of his personal life, Eckert was driven to create "Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert," a 30-minute weekly TV program that features the most significant culinary spots on the globe. Eckert transports diners to regions or cities known for great dining, wine production and superior agricultural products. Whether on site in New Zealand, Maui, Tuscany or St. Moritz, "Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert" serves up a taste of the world's most important food and wine regions.

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