I first heard of the word ‘talkies’ when reading about the films of Charlie Chaplin. As films transitioned from silent to sound, they were called ‘talkies.’ That word stuck with me and I knew I was going to use it some day.
I had dabbled in making videos and was working hard to be good at it. In 2015, on a trip home to my home country of Malaysia (I’m based in the U.S.), I realized that there had never been any video captured of my grandmother. There were pictures, yes, but there were no video clips, no audio of her.
Growing up, she was the main cook in our family, her delicious dishes I began to deeply miss after migrating to the U.S. And I realized that it was important, at least for me, to have a video of her speaking and if possible, making my favorite dish, a traditional Chinese dish called Pig Trotters Vinegar Soup. I made the video, tinkered with the editing, and did not expect much of it.
I shared it with my immediate family, relatives and dear friends, and got a feedback I never expected - that it gave them lots of emotion. I thought to myself, “How many stories like this out there that would go un-captured? How many traditions and people practicing them have gone undocumented?”
So I started asking friends and family about food stories that matter to them, and to give me a chance to capture them. Slowly but surely, a whole collection of food films came together.
And all these stories, make Food Talkies.
3 years after my grandmother’s film, this was 2018, I was lucky enough to be awarded the James Beard Awards - for Visual & Technical Excellence. I can’t help but hope that all these stories help people cook together more and eat together more.
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