Armando Reed lets Bibi Nurshuhada Ramli in on the primary love of his life
UNDERNEATH that impressive physique and dashing persona, Armando Reed is a man who prefers to indulge in a more feminine past time: Cooking.
“I do have other loves,” he assures me over the phone, “but the primary thing is cooking. It’s been a very important part of my life since I was a child. Opportunity and a little bit of luck came into play and I met the right people and got the show Armando’s Asian Twist started.”
In the four-part series, Reed, who is of Taiwanese, German and Spanish heritage, will gather inspiration from the history, cultures, tastes and ingredients from both the East and West to come up with beautifully-fused flavours that excite the palate.
Reed, 32, travels across Taiwan in search of inspiration for food ranging from national dishes to local street food. Then he returns to the kitchen to whip up three Western dishes, each with an Asian spin.
Armando’s Asian Twist airs every Monday at 7pm on TLC starting today. Repeats are on Tuesday (10am), Saturday (10am) and Sunday (5pm).
“Most celebrity chefs are professionals. They go to culinary school, open restaurants and make cooking their profession,” says Reed. “What sets me apart is that I speak in a way that people can relate to. I’m not a professional chef, just someone who is really passionate about food and has been cooking for a while.”
Reed was a writer for another TLC series, Fun Taiwan, in which host Janet Hsieh travelled across the country to discover its uniqueness.
“I met several producers and one of them contacted me out of the blue. He noticed that I liked cooking and later, I was offered to do the show. I jumped up in the air and screamed like I was a child. It was awesome,” recalls Reed.
In Armando’s Asian Twist, he will make easy the tricky art of fusion cuisine and, at the same time, transform everyday meals into memorable affairs.
He says: “Each episode has a theme depending where I’ll be going or the people I’ll meet. Many of the ‘twists’ come from trying to make do with the local ingredients or replacing an element in the recipe with something Asian.”
The idea is to show that wherever you are or whatever ingredients you have, you can produce delicious meals.
Reed tells us more about his love for cooking.
What was your biggest blunder in the kitchen?
It would have to be the first time I made cookies when I was like 6. I was supposed to use a teaspoon to measure salt but I used a tablespoon instead. The cookies looked fantastic but the minute I put one in my mouth, it was a bitter, salty disappointment.
More recently, I was cutting something and I said: “Listen, you’ve got to be really careful when you cut because you may cut yourself,” and then I go and cut myself really bad.
What else do you like to do besides cooking?
I love to read. I think as long as everyone reads, we really open our eyes. Turn off the computer for a second and use your imagination. I think it really helps in the creative process, whatever it is you’re doing.
I also love sports — basketball, even though I am not so good at it. I just love the competition. I love the social aspects of sports and I love having to push myself. Even when you’re tired you’re like, “I’ve got to go a little bit further”.
I love American football. There’s a flag football league in Taiwan that I am really, really fond of.
Astronomy. Just the search for something is also fun. To understand the universe around us is paramount to our growth and species. I’m kind of a gadget freak too.
What other projects are you involved in now?
Well, I’ve poured myself into Armando’s Asian Twist. I also write for the show, so I have to make sure everything’s right. I’m thinking about starting a business soon so I’ve been drafting and planning too. I don’t want to give too much away but so far, it’s looking good. I’m really excited about everything on the table.