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I’d known of Su-Mei Yu, the talented chef and owner of popular Thai eatery Saffron (3731 India Street, Mission Hills) for years, but the first time I actually met her was at a pop-up culinary education event in a seafood warehouse. She was leading a cooking class as part of Catalina Offshore Products’ popular “Collaboration Kitchen” series, and doing a hell of a job of it. At first glance, she looks small, even diminutive, but you get her talking—about anything, not just food…but especially food—and she is a spitfire; a juggernaut of personality with knowledge and humor to spare. I sat there, riveted, writing down notes on every step she took the class through, almost wishing it would never end.

I know this sounds like syrup-dripping hyperbole, but the fact that it does should say something. I think we can all agree that I tend to be pretty tough to impress; curmudgeonly at times even. So, the fact that someone could wow me so much, so instantaneously, says a lot about her ability to engage an audience. The reason I’m dusting off this happy memory is because, tonight, you will have the opportunity to be introduced to Yu in a similar fashion when her new show Savor San Diego with Su-Mei Yu debuts on KPBS at 9:30 p.m.

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As the apron-clad hostess with the mostest, Yu will take viewers around to some of her favorite producers and purveyors throughout San Diego County. The first episode finds her exploring polar opposite proteins—tofu from El Cajon’s San Diego Soy Dairy and grass-fed beef from Palomar Mountain’s Mendenhall Valley Ranch. Not only will Yu provide behind-the-scenes shots of the inner workings of businesses like these, she’ll also explain how to utilize their products to put together healthful dishes easily executed in a home kitchen environment.

In future episodes, she’ll continue to explore local farms, pastures, waters, and other centers for artisanal production. She’s the perfect individual to do so. And not just because she’s been a San Diego edible scene fixture for over a quarter-century. Yu’s got the goods and the authentic passion for food and San Diego. I’m excited to watch her debut and encourage others to do so as well. Not a night owl and have yet to join the ranks of the DVR-equipped? Not to worry. Savor San Diego’s inaugural episode will reair this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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