By Pamela Price
Combine 21 years of acting in Hollywood, a stint in Italy and a love for friends and cooking, and you have “The Modern Gentleman: Cooking and Entertaining with Sean Kanan.”
“My last name was Perelman, but I changed it when I moved to Hollywood from Newcastle, Penn., where I grew up a rather chubby and awkward kid,” Kanan says. A motivating factor for his authoring this innovative cookbook, designed to help any guy learn how to cook and set the stage — at home — worthy of the most elegant date, was the bullying he endured as a youth. But he worked through that when he portrayed Mike Barnes in the “Karate Kid III,” followed by television roles like Deacon Sharpe, first in “The Bold and the Beautiful,” then in “The Young and the Restless.”
Bullying also led him to work with the Anti-Defamation League, where he became involved with the Glass Leadership Institute and lobbied on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., for stricter anti-bullying laws.
A UCLA graduate in political science, Kanan says he hopes his cookbook will “teach young men and boys the art of acting like gentleman” in order to “reduce the incidence of bullying and victimization as they matured.”
The book was published this year and emphasizes not only cooking (with three of his mother’s recipes, by the way) but also “producing a man who exhibits strength and passion toward others.”
“This is the book parents can give their son going off to college,” Kanan says. He has been sharing this message at book signings, including one recently in Palm Springs at Just Fabulous, a home décor, music and gift store.
Kanan shares his domestic skills in his book and aims for gentleman of all ages and stages to appreciate them.
Bob Silberstein, a retired attorney from Palm Springs who enjoys entertaining, read the book and said, “I have four daughters, and this primer is what I recommend every parent gift to a prospective son-in-law. Beyond the recipes, such as Mom’s Brisket and Roasted Chicken, I liked his advice on diverse subjects, such as buying the diamond engagement ring.”
Kanan credits his parents for his gentlemanly behavior.
“My father was the all-time greatest dad,” Kanan says. “He was a jeweler and the author of several books dealing with a girl’s best friend, diamonds.”
The book helps young men set the table, the mood and even the appropriate moment for staging that memorable scenario for a marriage proposal.
His menu suggestions are appropriate for the occasion and serve two, and some are gluten free. Who could ask for anything more? Flowers? Setting the table? The difference between grilling, braising and broiling? They’re all in the book.
In the works is a second book, “Finishing School for Gentlemen,” which he says will include his mother’s recipe for his favorite kugel. He credits two women in his life for his making his first book happen: his mother Michelle and his partner in life, Michele Vega, to whom his first book is dedicated.