The host of YouTube’s new chat show fills us in on being a third culture kid, his favourite spots in HK and more
Fresh off the launch of his YouTube talk show, host Nick Daryanani sat down with Sassy to discuss the concept behind this great new program, Off The Cuff with Nick D., how it pays homage to Hong Kong and why we think it will be the 852’s answer to finding great television.
You’re new show ‘Off The Cuff With Nick D’ is being launched on YouTube today. Tell us about it!
Off The Cuff is not your typical chat show; it’s exciting for so many reasons. To begin with it’s shot on a moving tram, which is a logistical nightmare for us, but overall a having a moving set is one of the coolest things ever! It’s like the entirety of the city is your audience. We always get really funny reactions from passersby – people take photos, and, once, all the passengers of an entire public tram all stood up and yelled “WHOAAAAA!” and waved insanely. It was hilarious!
We chat to celebrities who are contributing or working in Asia, it can be anyone who’s currently doing great work here. I think Asia doesn’t get enough of the spotlight and people here deserve to take centre stage. So much amazing stuff takes place in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur and all over but it’s not internationally widespread enough. There are famous and successful people in every country, and my job is to bring [these] people together and tell their stories, all with a bit of outrageous fun on the side.
Now, tell us about you. Who are you, how long have you lived in Hong Kong, and what gave you the idea for the show?
I was born in Hong Kong and grew up here, went to King George V School, then moved away to England for University. Definitely a third culture kid, sometimes still confused as to where I truly belong. When asked who I am, I usually respond with the fact that I am a dreamer. It’s all incredibly cheesy but I truly believe life has no limits, you get what you make of it. My career has taught me this time and time again. By profession I am a producer, presenter and actor, and I currently run 24 Frames, an avant-garde production house based in Hong Kong.
The idea for this show actually came from an inspirational conversation with my first guest, Debbie Wong. We met up for a coffee after which I decided that I wanted to make this show and wanted her to be my first guest. Upon making this decision I rang Bradley (director of Off the Cuff, business partner at 24 Frames, and best bud) who then convinced me that if we were going to do it, it had to be done on a moving tram! I mean how else would we make a bold statement?!
Read more: That Girl, Wok and Gong’s Debbie Wong
We love picking people’s brains – got any good finds you’d like to share with us?
Relaxation is a term that unfortunately doesn’t exist in my dictionary, I am a complete and utter workaholic, I am always either travelling or on a shoot. When I do get the odd chance to relax I’d say my favourite bar in town has to be Foxglove, it’s the kind of place Frank Sinatra would have frequented if he was alive and in Hong Kong. I am also a big fan of La Paloma, such a relaxed atmosphere with the best paella I’ve had outside of Spain. Riki, the manager, is an absolute legend and a close friend, so I get to sample a lot of interesting off-menu dishes.
I hear you’re a foodie and like to cook. Where are your favourite places to eat in Hong Kong and why? And where do you like to shop for food?
I am a massive foodie and without a shadow of a doubt one of Hong Kong’s best home cooks, if Master Chef ever comes to town, I’ll be more than happy to prove this statement!
I love shopping at Oliver’s and City Super. For me, food shopping before I cook is a religious ritual. I have to make sure I am getting the best ingredients available to mankind!
There are so many restaurants to pick from, so I am only going to name my top three places. In no particular order I’d say: Mott 32, for incredible dim sum and Peking duck – enough said! Big, big fan of Chef Pino Lavarra and Tosca. I have a real soft spot for Italian food and he just does it right. Last is Under Bridge Spicy Crab, some of the best crab I’ve ever had, it’s so simple but extraordinary all at the same time.
I also love dumplings. Having grown up in Hong Kong, Chinese food has always been what I consider ‘home food.’ I can eat dumplings all night and day! My favourite little secret place to get the best dumplings is in the cooked food centre in Sheung Wan. Definitely not the most glamorous address, but if you are looking for some of the best dumplings in town they’ve got you sorted. I don’t actually know the english name of the place but the Chinese name is – 老北方餃子館 (Old North Dumpling House).
What’s your idea of a great date in Hong Kong (either night or day)?
I think Hong Kong is one of the most versatile cities in the world – the options are endless! You can do [a simple] dinner and a movie, or a 9-course Michelin star dinner and a movie in a private cinema.
I like things that are slightly unconventional. My favourite date idea would be to take a private boat from Sai Kung Ferry pier to Tai Long Wan and hike up to the rock pools. After jumping off the waterfalls with this mystery lady, I’d love to head back into the town and enjoy a seafood feast with an exquisite bottle of wine.