After almost 6 months of no news about the book project and just constantly posting 15 videos, I have some good news! 🙂
After the opening of A.Wang Noodle Bar in Parkview Green Mall in Beijing just little over 2 months ago, my friend and I have been very busy managing the noodle kiosk. Now that I’m back from my long family vacation in the Dominican Republic (+ 1 week of food vacation in Taiwan) and that my friend Sean is taking over as the daily operation manager at the noodle kiosk, I have a lot more time to blog and work on other food-related projects.
Those of you who have been reading my updates on “Seoul Food Book Project” last year may know that after my update #3
and finding out the harsh reality that since we are not ‘famous enough’ none of the publisher wanted to take on our project, Kayla and I almost gave up on our book project. However, we are not that the type who easily give up on our dreams, if fame is what they need, then we will bring them ‘fame’!
We continue to work on our ‘Food Hunting’ video series and persistently posted 15 videos on Youku (Chinese version of YouTube) over the period of 15 weeks. We used all our contacts and tried everything we could to make our “Food Hunting” known to public!
1. Apple Store – Best One on One Project
Before we posted videos up on Youku, I took advantage of all the free classes offered at Apple and took an intensive 3-week course to learn video editing using Final Cut Pro. My teacher Siti thought our video/book project was intriguing and asked me if I wanted to present my project at Apple’s Best One to One showcase.
I hesitated for a bit at first because the thought of public speaking in Chinese (my 3rd language) in front of audience seemed daunting to me BUT for our project’s future, I accepted it and showcased our project at Apple Store in Beijing.
2. Kayla went on to compete at Global Korean Cooking Contest (Taste of Korea 2014)
and I went on to participate in a Chinese reality TV show (well, there are many other reasons why I participated but this deserves its post of its own, lot of drama but a fun experience.. haha! )
shooting Kayla’s mini cooking show to apply for Global Korean Cooking Competition
We found out a day before the deadline, Korean cultural center in Beijing was hosting 2014 Global Korean Cooking Contest to select one Chinese candidate to compete in Korea. The competition was only open to Chinese nationals, so that day, we stopped everything we were doing and shot a mini cooking video of Kayla cooking and sent in the application. Luckily a few days later, we got a call back and Kayla was selected as top 10 to compete the following week.
There was one huge problem though… Kayla doesn’t know how to cook…. let alone Korean cooking! The following few days, I gave her one on one Korean cooking boot camp class! In just a few days of repeatedly cooking one dish, she was able to master one Korean dish – 떡갈비 (Grilled Short Rib Patties with rice cake), I was very impressed how fast she learned the dish.
Kayla giving out our demo books to the judges (shameless self advertising! :P)
She went on to place 4th place and win the most popular dish award! 🙂 I’m very proud of her!
photo from my Chinese reality TV show, I can’t put up bigger picture since I signed a contract and the show hasn’t aired yet, definitely once-in-a-lifetime experience I will never forget! Reality TV Show = REAL Drama, and yes I almost cried, and also punched someone…-.-;;
3. We presented our Food Hunting Demo at Beijing International Book Fair
Our efforts must have impressed our agents at the China Copyright Center, they reserved us a spot during China International Book Fair to present our Food Hunting 《一起觅食吧》project in front of 50-100 Chinese media and publishers. This was a very important presentation for us. I was so glad that I did the Apple presentation beforehand, so this time, instead of fearing the presentation, I felt prepared! I actually enjoyed introducing our project to Chinese media and publishers.
Sometimes homemade food has more power of persuasion than spoken words and videos, the carrot cakes, linzer cookies (my recipe)
I baked the night before was a big hit and many of the publishers and media gurus approached us after our presentation while munching on those sweets. I guess there’s something about homemade, home-baked goods that bring people closer together, even strangers at a book fair! 🙂 We made lot of contacts that day.
Well even after all that, we didn’t become famous enough and there was long pause in between BUT two good things came out of this which I wanted to share with my reader friends.
First of all, one of our Food Hunting videos (the episode about K-drama “The Heir” Ddukboki place
) caught the attention of YouKu (Chinese YouTube) and other social media sites. It wasn’t long before Baidu! yes Baidu
!! (Chinese version of Google) and Tudou (another Chinese Youtube site) contacted us for possibility of collaborating in the future. We are still discussing how we can collaborate but hey, getting contacted by Chinese google and Youtube is a fantastic start!! 🙂
I love business meeting involving yummy food! I feel like we have more productive meetings at restaurants than we do in office spaces
And lastly, after almost a year after we started our project in Seoul, I’m happy to announce that we just got signed a 2-book deal (in Chinese) with one of the prominent publishers in Beijing! If all goes smoothly as planned, our first book (Food Hunting in Seoul) will get published in June/July then hopefully our second book on Beijing will get published later this year too! If I’m not mistaken, it’s one of the publishers who came to our book fair presentation and tasted my carrot cake! 😛 That’s the power of food, its seemingly small but long-lasting impact can bring pleasant surprises (serendipity).
I will start posting series on Youtube too later this month.
me teaching Kayla basics of Korean cooking during Korean cooking boot camp!
I’m on Instagram – @Musichef_TJ and facebook . come check out Musichef TJ’s daily happenings 🙂
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