Billy Dec knows a thing or two about dining. The Emmy Award-winning TV host and actor, restaurateur, and founder of Rockit Ranch hospitality group, Dec has plenty of experience in the restaurant scene. Now, he's taking his love of food to another level, with his upcoming podcast, The Meal Of Your Life.
We caught up with Dec to discuss his new venture, and here's what he had to say.
FoodableTV: Tell us a little about your new podcast, The Meal Of Your Life.
Billy Dec: The Meal Of Your Life is a passion project of mine. As a restaurateur who worked my way up in almost every position in the business, I’ve always been fascinated by delivering the ultimate meal experiences. This can done by orchestrating hundreds of roles, actions, pieces, items, inputs, and creating an elevated hospitality experience above and beyond what can be found elsewhere. I’ve also appreciated how food brings people together, which can make the guests critical components to memorable meal experiences, and create the most mind-blowing story about more than what’s on the plate - but about life. So in each episode, during a one-on-one conversation with a unique and unforgettable guest, I unravel, explore and discover a life-changing dining experience that has forever impacted their life.
The Meal Of Your Life podcast will be live in iTunes in the next few weeks, and also available on my site, BillyDec.com. I’m planning to release episodes weekly, so stay tuned for launch details.
FoodableTV: Why is this podcast so meaningful to you?
BD: Oh my gosh - so many reasons. The Meal Of Your Life is meaningful to me because it combines my passion for hospitality with my love for storytelling and connecting with other people. It was invigorating when first talking to people about my podcast idea because I started finding when I asked people about ‘the meal of their life' (while I was focused on the dynamics that go into creating this incredible culinary experience), I realized that defining meal was so much more. The meal of your life is often a combination of the people present, the circumstances, your emotions, and your surroundings that all come together to create one life-changing moment. I realized it was far beyond the restaurant it took place in or what was actually on the plate.
I also think it’s an important time for people to come together to talk, connect, celebrate, and learn more about each other, different cultures, perspectives, and life, which I believe this promotes. It's also an incredibly challenging time for restaurants. In their pursuit of delivering value in meal experiences, they come up against unprecedented challenges and industry changes, which is a threat to the meal as we know it. We’ll touch on the good, bad, and ugly when it comes to the subject.
FoodableTV: What are you providing to your audience with this podcast?
BD: The Meal Of Your Life provides listeners with an inside look at a wide variety of guests, including anything from celebrities to athletes, chefs to intellectuals, politicians to everyday people. Each guest is dynamic and distinguished in their own way. Through each episode, listeners will be privy to an intimate moment and experience in each guests’ life and learn how it transformed them. It’s a unique opportunity to enter into the conversation. Listeners will feel like they’re right there with us and in the case of celebrities for instance (or anyone you might find different), you begin to realize that we all share so much in common, even in our differences.
FoodableTV: Who are you most excited to interview in the future?
BD: We have some exciting interviews coming up, including David Schwimmer, Ed Asner, and a few James Beard Award winners. As for targets, I’d love to interview Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, Mark Wahlberg, Tom Brady, LeBron James, and so many people. I also love hearing from people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, as I find each unique story so fascinating.
FoodableTV: What is one dinner conversation you've experienced that has changed you?
BD: I think every dinner conversation has a huge affect on me. I cultivate conversation to have incredible conversations, learning and sharing. I think some interesting dinners are the impromptu ones that happen with a diverse set of people, like when I have artist, actor, musician friends pop into town, and perhaps have plans with an entirely different set of people. Combine them all together over great food and the chemistry is so invigorating. It reminds me that the world is so much bigger, there is so much diversity, so much yet to discover, so many interesting ways to look at the same things. It drives me to get out of my own head, go live life bigger and explore.
FoodableTV: What is your go-to meal when you're entertaining (and engaging in good dinner convo)?
BD: Everyone knows I entertain the most at one of my restaurant concepts, Sunda. It's modern Southeast Asian, which I feel literally connected to as my mom is from the islands of the Philippines. The energy is so fun. And there are all kinds of incredible dishes, from sushi and sake, to diverse Chinese fare. Many times I introduce people to family-style through a dozen countries in Southeast Asia like Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Singapore, and more. Energy, relevancy, discovery, and story all makes for great conversations and memories.