If you’ve never heard of Travis Kraft, you’ll be pressing the rewind button within the first minute of watching his newest cooking video ‘Salo-Salo’ which means, “Let’s eat together.”
It’s not just because he’s six feet tall, has blue eyes and dark hair (that’s what the pause button is for). It’s because this full-blooded, American-born guy is speaking Tagalog.
“Nang problema?” he asks in his opening line.
Well, he doesn’t have a problem tackling the Filipino language.
Kraft, who grew up in North Dakota, gives a step-by-step cooking lesson entirely in Tagalog on how to cook dinuguan, a Filipino dish made from pork blood.
He prepares the meat, the onions and doesn’t even hesitate to pour in the blood.
So how does a guy from the American Midwest end up making videos on how to prepare Filipino cuisine?
Kraft is actually a model/actor/director living in Hollywood, California . He was born in Iowa, raised in North Dakota, was a state-champion in wrestling and has a B.S. in Telecommunications and Film from Eastern Michigan University .
Kraft’s cooking lessons first became a sensation on YouTube with his video on how to cook chicken adobo. Over 200,000 hits and thousands of comments later, he’s become a celebrity among Fil-Ams and Filipinos alike. He’s been interviewed in numerous articles and talk shows in Los Angeles and the Philippines on his cooking videos.
“Even now I get e-mails about it, which is surprising,” Kraft says. “I thought it was a cute video. I never anticipated it would become a huge thing.”
“He’s very well liked by the Filipino community even though he’s a plain old white guy,” says Madley Katarungan, executive producer of ‘Salo-Salo.’
The cast and crew of the movie were mostly Filipino. Katarungan says the film is a humorous look at Filipino culture.
Kraft says he has always been fascinated with far Eastern cultures.
His adoptive mother is Filipino but it was a nine-month long stay in the Philippines for work as a model that got him hooked. He then taught himself Tagalog and immersed himself in the culture.
“The Philippines is a very interesting place you don’t hear about in America ,” Kraft says. “It’s a culture I’m very involved with. It’s the friendliest place I’ve ever been.”
Kraft says ‘Salo-Salo’ is his production company Pool Boy Film’s latest tribute to Filipino culture.
“I’m very happy that people seem to enjoy American Adobo and Salo-Salo,” Kraft says. “I’m very grateful that Filipinos have taken me in.”