Caro serves up feast on Chicago’s culinary master

Mark Caro

Mark Caro Photograph: Bill Hogan

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Chicago’s most renowned chef is getting a sendoff befitting a king this week from the Chicago Tribune. Inside Trotter’s Kitchen, veteran reporter Mark Caro’s three-part, 15,000-word series on Charlie Trotter and the closing of his restaurant after 25 years, is an extraordinary profile of the man and his methods. Caro conducted more than 30 interviews and spent months on the project, for which entertainment editor Scott Powers secured more pages than any feature subject in recent memory. Since much of his material didn’t make the cut, Caro says he’d love to do a book (but there’s no deal in the works). Trotter also was featured in Caro’s 2009 book, The Foie Gras Wars. What’s his take on the mercurial epicurean? Says Caro: “He’s a guy who’s really passionate and complicated — and that’s what makes him a great subject.”

  • Four lost episodes of Studs’ Place, recently discovered in the basement of the late Studs Terkel’s home, will be seen publicly next week for the first time in more than 60 years. (Here is a video preview.) In conjunction with the celebration of the centenary of Terkel’s birth, the screening will be from 5:30 to 7:30pm September 5 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 North State Street. The event is free. Discussing the life and career of the legendary author, broadcaster and historian will be two of his longtime friends, journalist Rick Kogan of the Tribune and documentary producer Tom Weinberg of Media Burn. A cornerstone of the Chicago School of Television, Studs’ Place aired live on NBC and ABC in the early 1950s.

  • Also on the lost-and-found beat, Rick Klein’s Museum of Classic Chicago Television has just unearthed another gem: A complete, 20-minute broadcast of WGN’s Nightbeat from March 5, 1965. The rare videotape was found among the effects of longtime WGN staff announcer Len Johnson, whose widow shared it with Kevin McCarthy, a friend. Johnson was filling in for Nightbeat host Carl Greyson on the newscast. Klein plans to post the tape on his site in two parts on Friday.

  • Chicago Bears games will air on Spanish-language radio for the first time this fall. Spanish Broadcasting System’s regional Mexican WLEY-FM (107.9) announced a partnership with the Bears this week to serve as Spanish flagship, with announcers Jose Luis Marquez and Liz Liz “La Dama del Deporte.” Inside Radio noted: “The move is arguably overdue since the latest data shows one in five Chicago market residents [is] of Hispanic descent.” CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM (780) and WCFS-FM (105.9) continue as English-language home of Bears broadcasts.

  • On the heels of its Great Lake Warriors reality series for History Channel, Chicago-based Towers Productions is about to premiere a new docudrama series for TV One. Parole Diaries, a 13-part series that follows nine parole officers in Indianapolis, will debut at 9pm September 12. Each one-hour episode will focus on three parole officers from the Indiana Department of Correction and the parolees they're monitoring.

  • Credit Sun-Times editor-in-chief Jim Kirk with luring another former colleague away from the Tribune. Max Rust, assistant graphics editor at the Tribune, is joining the Sun-Times as head of editorial graphics — both print and digital. “Max is a visionary who can intelligently and easily take complicated data sets and other information and put them in context for readers,” Kirk said. “He will help us tremendously as we expand our products.” A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Rust joined the Tribune as a graphics artist in 2001.



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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)