Su-Mei Yu has already started working on some episodes of "Savor San Diego". Above is a shot of her on the set of an episode that will air this May.
Known best for her Thai cooking, restaurant owner Su-Mei Yu has landed a television show on KPBS in which she'll spotlight the county's wide diversity of food producers.
Airing next May, "Savor San Diego with Su-Mei Yu" evolved out of a competition launched by the public broadcasting station to solicit programs that "embody the explorer spirit."
Owner of the Saffron restaurants on India Street, Yu plans to travel throughout the county, exploring the farms, pastures, ocean and specialty producers that contribute to San Diego's culinary offerings.
For example, in one episode, Yu will check out the boat docks on San Diego Bay, joining local fishermen as they fish for uni. Each of the six half-hour episodes will conclude with a cooking demonstration by Yu.
While Yu was awarded a $15,000 grant from KPBS for the program, she is currently seeking underwriters to help finance the program costs, estimated to be $70,000. If the program is successful once it is aired, it is Yu's hope to tape more episodes.
Yu, who was out visiting a citrus farm in Jamul Thursday for a future episode, said she's excited about sharing her culinary finds with KPBS viewers.
"The diversity of San Diego's food resources is remarkable and not widely recognized," she said. "It's quite exciting to have the opportunity to share everything I’ve learned and discovered as a local cook and restaurateur with the KPBS audience."
KPBS received 52 submissions for its "Explore San Diego" project, which initially will feature two new shows. The second, "A Growing Passion," hosted by San Diego master gardener Nan Sterman, will be a lifestyle program that digs deep into the county’s agriculture, horticulture, gardening and native habitats.
"We want to further distinguish ourselves as the place for thoughtful local television programs that reflect our unique sense of place," said KPBS Director of Programming, John Decker.
Explore San Diego represents the first time KPBS has held an open call for programs and plans to do it again next summer. The station is interested in programs that are uniquely local while also telling a story.
Su-Mei Yu travels all over San Diego to meet with the local food producers. But what kind of food does San Diego produce exactly? The chart below breaks down what kinds of items are grown in San Diego and how much of each.