Billy Dec: The Real Deal

“Be kind so people like you, educate yourself, relationship build and create value in your name and reputation, because sometimes that is the only thing you can keep.”-Billy Dec

With six restaurants under his belt (a seventh opening soon), TV cameos underway, and being recently appointed to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by President Obama, Chicago-native Billy Dec isn’t stopping anytime soon. Dec attributes his success to working hard, starting at a young age, and learning that in the blink of an eye, everything can be lost. We spoke with Billy about his new endeavors, some of his favorite things, and whether or not we will be seeing more of him on TV.

In tonight’s Halloween episode of “Criminal Minds,” Dec plays Detective Paul Rosado, the episode airs at 8pm on CBS. Dec will also be hosting a viewing party at Rockit Bar & Grill tonight, so stop on by!

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{photo credit: Facebook}

BM: The Duck Inn is opening soon in Bridgeport- Can you tell us a little more about it? Why did you choose Bridgeport?

BD: The Duck Inn will be our 7TH venue and our second with Michelin rated Partner / Chef Kevin Hickey. It will be a Gastro Tavern & Dining Room that is situated at Loomis Street and the Chicago River, on the border of Chicago’s booming Pilsen and Bridgeport neighborhoods and we’re looking to open Fall / Winter of this year. Chef Kevin has a lot of personal history with Bridgeport as he grew up down the street from where The Duck Inn is located and he currently lives a few blocks away. The building itself is a pre-prohibition era tavern that has continuously operated for almost a century, which is pretty cool! The concept will showcase Chef Kevin Hickey’s signature locally sourced and globally inspired cuisine in a new way with an extensive beverage program from Bottlefork’s Brandon Phillips, that is filled with craft beers, contemporary cocktails and creative wine service that will match the food offerings. Everyone can follow our progress on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

BM: You recently had a role in Criminal Minds. What was that like? Will we be seeing more BD on our TV?

BD: Amazing! The writer Virgil Williams is fantastic, and from Chicago! He wasn’t in charge of casting roles but he gave the casting department my name after he had seen me on CNN’s Chicagoland and we started talking more. He’s a great guy! It was a huge role to fill, casting gave me a shot, I sent in my audition tape and actually didn’t get the part at first! The director gave me some notes and I immediately went back to work with my coach here Doug McDade at Acting Studio. I sent in my second audition and got the part! It was amazing and I loved working with the crew and ensemble. I spent 8 days in LA filming, it was really intense and such a rush, but I truly loved it!

I hope you’ll be seeing more of me on TV! I’ve been acting in TV and movies for about 8 years and lately I’ve been landing more gigs outside of Chicago. Filmed the Entourage movie in LA and also filmed a pilot in Maine and New York. The fact that Criminal Minds has been such a hit for 10 years and that I’ve had the chance to be a part of something so big, is just a huge highlight! I really hope everyone DVRs and watches! And talks it up on social media before and during- and if they can – comes to our viewing party at Rockit (22 W. Hubbard) when airs this Wednesday, 10/29 at 8pm!

BM: People see a lot of the business things you do, but you are also heavily involved with giving back. What personal ventures do you currently have going on?

BD:I think most memorable for the rest of my life was the work I just returned from a few months ago when volunteering in the Philippines at the epicenter of where typhoon Haiyan hit, helping build homes for the homeless with my own hands. Here is a blog I wrote about my trip for the White House website… http://1.usa.gov/1hR8OUW. Being that I am half Filipino, having returned with my mom who is from there to visit family throughout my lifetime it was especially important and fulfilling to help those devastated by the typhoon. I plan to return to the Philippines this January and am very much looking forward to it!

BM: With that being said, you wear a LOT of hats, how do you stay humble and motivated?

BD: My mom came from nothing, my parents made it in America, then my dad got sick and we lost everything, I lost my dad and brother early and unexpected, had to put myself through school, feed and house myself, work all the way from the worst parts and I stay humble and motivated because I know firsthand from my past that everything you have can be lost unexpectedly and you may need to rebuild all over again. Be kind so people like you, educate yourself, relationship build and create value in your name and reputation, because sometimes that is the only thing you can keep.

BM: Congrats on being appointed by President Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders! How does that feel + what does this mean to you?

BD: It is incredibly surreal being invited to the White House to meet with the President of the United States and discuss such important issues on behalf of the community that I am a part of.. Such an honor, I take it so incredibly seriously, learning so much, trying to apply as much as I can, hoping to make a difference..

Fun Stuff:
Favorite Food? Tied between sushi & Mexican
Favorite TV Show? Friends, I’ve been on it 4 times!
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? Born and raised in Lincoln Park, where I currently live too
Advice to people on achieving their dreams? Relationship build and work nonstop, literally
Best advice you’ve ever received? Work hard and deliver tremendous value so people know, like and trust you

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