EXCLUSIVE: Ming-Na Wen yesterday received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and today she’s teamed with Compelling Pictures on a doc series about Asian-American food culture.
In The Sweet and the Sour, Wen (Mulan, The Mandalorian and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) will take a celebrity guest on a deep dive into a subsection of the Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community through its relationship with food.
By sampling dishes and recipes, they will unpack the history and cultural hardships endured by each immigration story, highlighting heroic characters and dispelling myths. They will also look to unravel cultural stereotypes and reveal of the history of each distinct group fought for their place in American society.
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Ming-Na grew up around her family’s Chinese restaurant in Pittsburg, PA and has kept a fascination with Asian-American cuisine into adulthood. She is due to release her first cookbook in 2024.
“My parents were foodies before that label was invented,” said Ming-Na. “Their passion for food became my passion. The incredible meals they made not only nourished my body, their food enriched my understanding and appreciation for my Chinese culture and heritage. Later in life, I became fascinated with the connection food offered to people from different backgrounds.
“Food affects us on every level and generates emotions, memories and lessons about other cultures. I am excited to collaborate with Steven Garcia and his team at Compelling Pictures to explore the vastness of Asian cuisines. We share the same passion to spotlight the histories of these dishes and stories of how they became part of America’s culinary landscape.”
Ming-Na co-created The Sweet and the Sour with Compelling’s Steven Garcia (Hungry For Answers, Max). The pair will be executive producers alongside Jeff Kalligheri, and Denis O’Sullivan.
Garcia said: “Partnering with such an incredible talent as Ming-Na allows us to build the series around her unique, personal experience. Her innate appetite to uncover the culinary history of the AAPI community, will shed light on often forgotten, and sometimes intentionally omitted parts of our shared American history.”
Indie financier and producer Compelling is behind features such as Netflix’s Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, directed by Kasi Lemmon. Sony/TriStar has worldwide distribution. It also recently produced and co-financed feature film The Collaboration, starring Paul Bettany, Jeremy Pope, Melissa Barrera, and Daniel Bruhl. It is currently in post. Compelling’s O’Sullivan is a producer of the play of the same name which had a sold out run in London at The Young Vic Theater in 2022 and ended in February 2023 on Broadway after several extensions.
On the series side, it is working with MasterClass on Talking Shop, which features cultural important figures such as Gloria Steinhem, Neil Gaiman and Kevin Smith.
Ming-Na Wen is repped by Link Entertainment and Innovative Artists.
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