As the CEO and founder of Chicago’s Rockit Ranch Productions empire, Billy Dec has had his fair share of nights out. But this time around it’s all being televised. Premiering July 9, alongside co-host Camille Ford of Food Wars, Dec will star in FYI channel’s brand new travel show Big Night Out. Avoiding tourist trips and attractions, the duo is tasked with finding Portland, Maine’s hidden hot spots and best bites while relying solely on social media recommendations to navigate their 24-hour trip. Here, the impresario shares the insider details.
How is being on a TV show similar to running a bar?
For me personally, it’s very similar. From my passion for food, drink, décor, music, fashion and all things hospitality and entertainment, I truly want to have a connection with people and make them happy. But also super important to note, both tasks require an amazing team and a tremendous amount of coordination and attention to detail.
Fun or frightening? What was it like relying on social media recommendations to plan your every step?
Absolutely fun! If you follow me on social media, you know that I always have a ball capturing and sharing amazing content. It’s actually a very familiar process for me to be landing in a city—whether it be within the states or somewhere in Asia, Europe or even South Africa— and immediately jumping on social media to connect with those who know the lay of the land. I also love to do that on the flip side. When people are coming to Chicago or traveling elsewhere, sharing my recommendations is always fun. It’s probably, in part, why I was cast for this special program.
How does Portland’s nightlife stack up to Chicago’s?
They’re a long way from The Underground—there are really no comparisons. But, where they shine is in their craft beer and cocktail originality. Seasonal freshness, knowledgeable staff and knowledgable customers—the restaurants, from a local and sustainable perspective, were far beyond what most other cities are doing across the country. Portland is incredibly dedicated to this.
Can we expect any more episodes from you and your co-host, Camille Ford?
It’s being aired as a special so you never know. There may be more episodes that feature more cities across the country in the future!
For more on Dec and his many endeavors, follow him on Twitter here.