NEW YORK: A New York-based Malaysian entrepreneur plans to make a 26-episode long film highlighting in fine detail, the intricacies of Malaysia’s culinary art.
Kirby Tan, who recently sold his 25 per cent share in a Malaysian restaurant called ‘Malaysian Kitchen Restaurant’ in New York’s financial district, told Bernama he had ironed out a concept for the film shoot in association with a Chinese video company in the Big Apple.
The Melaka native is a graphic designer. Sensing demand for Malaysian food, he started the Malaysian restaurant.
However, the majority Chinese shareholder in the restaurant, recently decided to convert the complex where the restaurant was located, into a spa with an attached Chinese restaurant catering to big-spending Chinese.
The Malaysian restaurant will acquire a “purely Chinese character”, offering pure Chinese dishes.
“The customers will, mainly be from Wall Street,” Tan said, adding that he would continue with a food-catering service.
On the planned film, he said he was mulling over highlighting Malaysia’s diverse cuisine spread over 26 episodes, including Malaysian cooking, mainly, barbecue food.
The movie, according to Tan, will be privately funded by a group of business people.
He said he would also like to discuss cooperation with the Malaysia External Trade development Corporation (MATRADE), Malaysia’s trade promotion agency, on using the film to promote Malaysian cooking and food products.
The film will be shot in a studio or a hotel, and will “educate the public about Malaysian food, particularly barbecue food.”
“We will educate people and highlight Malaysian-Chinese food appealing to American and Chinese consumers though it will emphasise less on the spices.
“Since I sold the Malaysian Kitchen Restaurant, which took away a lot of time, I can give my full attention to making the movie,” said Tan.
He revealed he would be collaborating with a media production company called ICEPN.com, a mainland Chinese online channel which had also expressed interest in interviewing people from both the United States and Malaysia on the latter’s cuisine.
ICEPN.com – Ice Productions Network – is based in Edison, New Jersey, and has completed six years since its inception.
Lili Greene, who is of Chinese origin and comes from Hunan, China, explained her collaboration with Tan: “We did Malaysia Kitchen Programme (launched by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp) in the past when we promoted Malaysia’s cuisine.
“We did video programme on Malaysian cooking. I have also done video programmes on Chinese cooking. We have lined up about 26 episodes on Malaysian cooking, showing various aspects of its cuisine.”
However, the Malaysian cooking to be highlighted will also be adapted to American taste buds.
While the authenticity of Malaysian dishes will be retained, there will be a slight variation to appeal to a large constituency of American consumers.
Malaysian dishes like ‘Laksa Penang’ already enjoy popularity among consumers in Malaysian restaurants which have surfaced in this ethnically and culinary-diverse city.
But this video programme will now also promote grilled and steamed dishes using, for example, Malaysian ingredients and spices.
“Americans love grilled food and we should take advantage of that. They host grill parties in their gardens during the summer time, the ‘grill season’, to use a popular local expression,” said Tan who averred that the wide range of colourful Malaysian desserts would also hold strong appeal for Americans of all ages and backgrounds.