Bay Area Chef Tu David Phu goes National in 'Bloodline'

Bloodline will be released via American Public Television on Wednesday February 10th, presented by KQED, produced by CAAM and First Kitchen Media.

Bloodline, directed by James Q. Chan and Santhosh Daniel, is a half-hour metaphorical, multi-generational exploration by Tu David Phu, with his family, of his genesis as a chef, and how the culinary industry, like US culture, often disregards certain experiences as “scrap”—including that of his Vietnamese heritage—similar to how the physical bloodline of fish is often thrown away by chefs, even though it carries the animal’s “essence.”

The film’s narrative is framed around Tu, just as he returns home to Oakland, California after being a contestant on the competitive cooking series, Top Chef (Season 15). As he reflects on that experience and his new visibility as a celebrity chef, Tu begins to trace how he went from his refugee roots and childhood in West Oakland to life as a chef whose creations are celebrated as a new generation of Asian “fusion” representative of Vietnamese culture.

Bloodline is the first film of First Kitchen, a documentary food series created by Santhosh Daniel (co-executive produced with Tu David Phu) that spotlights ‘everyday people with exceptional stories.’ At the series’ core is a belief that 'every voice deserves a place at the table' and a vision to cultivate greater equity and equality in food media. Bloodline is the inaugural project of this vision and a template for cultural inclusivity and creativity we envision for all films in the series.


Bloodline is a production of First Kitchen Media & CAAM, made possible by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Bloodline is presented by KQED and Distributed by American Public Television.

Cast and Crew

Co-Director & EP James Q. Chan


James Q. Chan is Executive Producer & Co-director of BLOODLINE. James is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker based in San Francisco. He directed and produced FOREVER, CHINATOWN (PBS/World/Truly CA 2017) and the film received an Emmy® nomination, multiple jury and audience awards, and has screened globally with American Film Showcase, the US State Department/USC film diplomacy program where James serves as an envoy. James’ recent credits include producing Harry and Josh Chuck’s CHINATOWN RISING (CAAMFest Opening Night); directing large-format 360° CIRCLE VISION films for Disney; and launching the doc series CHINATOWN SHORTS. James received a Certificate of Honor from the city of San Francisco for his work in amplifying stories from the APA community. His refugee and working-class background, love for nature shows, memories of his mother’s cooking shape his sensibilities throughout all his stories. He is currently adapting Laurence Yep’s acclaimed CHILD OF THE OWL book into his narrative feature debut. James is a member of the Directors Guild of America.


Co-Director & EP, Santhosh Daniel

Santhosh Daniel 
is Executive Producer & Co-director of Bloodline. He is a writer, producer and creative consultant specializing in strategic communications and independent media and arts, and founder of the creative collective Compound and creative director of First Kitchen Media, a food media initiative co-founded with chef Tu David Phu. He is writer and producer of LIQUID FLOW, a short film about Oakland and the evolution of turf-dancing; creative director and executive producer of Open Account, a podcast by Slate; creator and co-executive producer of the forthcoming food and culture series TRY THIS!; and co-founder of the forthcoming social justice media initiative, The Adachi Fund, created in partnership with the San Francisco Office of the Public Defender and Even/Odd Films. His professional experience includes The Global Film Initiative and work with the Smithsonian, Medium, Virgin America, Umpqua Bank, Oakland Museum of California, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and U.S. Department of State, and he has served on the Board of Directors of California Humanities and currently serves on the board of Found Sound Nation, a music innovation and diplomacy organization. He has also served as an advisor for arts and media funds, including the San Francisco Arts Commission, California Arts Council, California Humanities, Center for Asian American Media, Headlands Center for the Arts, International Documentary Association, San Francisco Film Society and European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington and a M.F.A. in English from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Tu David Phu is Executive Producer and the subject of Bloodline, Chef Tu’s Vietnamese-cuisine began garnering press and accolade in 2016 with his weekly pop-up dinners “AN - a Vietnamese Dining Experience.”; then in 2017 San Francisco Chronicle named him Rising Star Chef. In 2019, he was a featured contestant on Bravo's Top Chef Season 15 and invited to host ABC’s Taste Buds: Chefsgiving which was nominated for a James Beard Award.  As a first-generation, Vietnamese-American, food equity and justice comes naturally to Chef Tu, who finds opportunities to use the medium of food as a vessel for meaningful work from cooking with incarcerated men in San Quentin; to executive producer of First Kitchen Media, a food media initiative co-founded with Santhosh Daniel, to community ambassador in for Asian Health Services and the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Chef Tu’s involvement with food recovery and the Zero-Waste Movement is something else he got from his mother: During the Vietnam War, when supplies were rationed, she learned, out of necessity, that corn silk could be dried and used as a tea or toasted, deep-fried, or sautéed to serve with rice. Chef Tu not only applies these Zero Waste principles in his own kitchen but he is also a James Beard Smart Catch Leader, recognized for promoting the use of sustainable seafood options; and an avid teacher, sharing the riches and lessons of his birthright through food.

CAAM, The Center for Asian American Media is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. We do this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media. For 40 years, CAAM has exposed audiences to new voices and communities, advancing our collective understanding of the American experience through programs specifically designed to engage the Asian American community and the public at large.

American Public Television (APT) is the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations. Founded in 1961, APT distributes 250 new program titles per year and more than one-third of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles in the U.S. APT’s diverse catalog includes prominent documentaries, performance, dramas, how-to programs, classic movies, children’s series, and news and current affairs programs. Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, AfroPoP, Rick Steves’ Europe, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Television, Front and Center, Lidia’s Kitchen, Kevin Belton’s New Orleans Kitchen, Simply Ming, The Best of the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross, James Patterson’s Kid Stew and NHK Newsline are a sampling of APT’s programs, considered some of the most popular on public television. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service and distributes Create®TV — featuring the best of public television's lifestyle programming — and WORLD™, public television’s premier news, science and documentary channel. To find out more about APT’s programs and services, visit


KQED serves the people of Northern California with a community-supported alternative to commercial media. We provide citizens with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions; convene community dialogue; bring the arts to everyone, and engage audiences to share their stories. We help students and teachers thrive in 21st-century classrooms, and take people of all ages on journeys of exploration—exposing them to new people, places, and ideas.