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An American Cooks Filipino Cuisine
Hawaii Filipino Chronicle

by Ashley Monfort
November 1, 2008
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.”

Please go online and visit www.poolboyfilms.com and www.traviskraft.com for more details.