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Chef Iliana Regan’s Book Could Become a TV Series

Regan’s 2019 memoir, Burn the Place, has been optioned by Annapurna Pictures

A chef leans agains the wall with an apron and white shirt.
Iliana Regan’s book could become a TV series.
Agate Publishing/Jeffrey Marini
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Iliana Regan’s memoir, Burn the Place, is being adapted into a TV series. Regan, whose creative Midwestern cooking style is powered by her love of foraging, says she’s heard the show could be a fictionalized version of her life at the Milkweed Inn, the bed and breakfast she and wife Anna Hamlin own in Michigan. Regan rose from the underground dining scene to open Elizabeth, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Lincoln Square,

“The main character’s backstory will follow the trajectory of my own, having some of my afflictions, based on the book and my childhood. But I don’t know all the ins and outs. I’m still trying to understand how this all works,” Regan writes via email.

Agate Publishing released Burn the Place in 2019. The book traced Regan’s journey as a chef and a lesbian, and detailed her struggles with sobriety within the male-dominated restaurant industry. Hollywood trade pub Deadline reports Annapurna Pictures is developing the series, and Regan says the project still needs to be written and sold. Perhaps Netflix, HBO, or Hulu could step in: “There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to get there,” Regan writes. “However, it’s amazing and cool and we are really excited.”

Regan recently enrolled in a two-year MFA writing program at the School of the Art Institute. “I feel like there’s always room to learn and grow, so that’s where that came from,” she writes.

Right now, she has the time for school, as COVID-19 forced Regan and Hamlin to move all 2020 and 2021 reservations at the Milkweed back one year. When a vaccine is developed and business picks up, Regan writes she may need more than two years to complete the program.

The buzz around a possible TV show has been a bright spot during the pandemic. When writing the book, Regan didn’t think about awards, movies, TV, or reviews: “I was focused on the structure and writing and enjoying escaping out of everyday life and entering my old stomping grounds, thoughts, daydreams,” she writes.

Regan hopes the series gets picked up, and she hopes that if the series gets greenlit, she could consult on the script. After all, she’s got the writing chops.

  • Annapurna Developing TV Adaptation Of Iliana Regan’s Wild Food Memoir ‘Burn The Place’ [Deadline]