NEW YORK—You might know him as the bad guy from The Karate Kid Part III, or for his more recent work on The Young and the Restless, but actor and producer Sean Kanan has a different project up his sleeve lately—writing. His first book, “The Modern Gentleman,” was released on Sept. 13, yet Kanan is not a newcomer to the art of writing.
“I’ve actually written for longer than I have acted,” Kanan said in a recent interview with NTD Television on Wednesday, Sept. 14, in New York. “Writing is really the first endeavor into the arts that I ever participated in.”
Combining his writing with his love for cooking, Kanan has written a cookbook specifically with the male audience in mind (but also inviting women for a look into the male mind). “The Modern Gentleman” will help guys through not only the basics of preparing a kitchen and cooking simple meals but also more impressive dishes. The recipes range from simple mac ‘n’ cheese to roasted pork loin stuffed with goat cheese, with the intention of helping any man go from clueless to culinary genius.
However, “The Modern Gentleman” isn’t just a cookbook. “The book also deals with the lost art of being a gentleman in today’s sometimes confusing social landscape,” Kanan explains. According to him, and surely many other men out there, balancing the roles of being a man is hard.
“Guys were left a little confused: Am I supposed to be the alpha male who is a problem solver, or am I supposed to be the guy that is sensitive and a really great listener? For my money, the reality is that it’s a little of both, and it’s somewhere in between.”
This balancing act is brought up many times in his book. Kanan humorously talks about relationships and about “connecting with her with honesty and integrity without being dismissed as ‘the nice guy.’” Basically, it’s how to be the strong alpha male type but without acting like a cave man. To achieve this, etiquette is required, and such etiquette is the main theme of many chapters in “The Modern Gentleman.”
Becoming a gentleman, however, is not just an education for confused or bad-mannered adults. Being a gentleman is all about being a man who “exhibits strength and compassion towards others, a man who treats others with tolerance and dignity,” all according to the book.
So, wouldn’t that be a great thing to teach children? That’s what Kanan’s girlfriend Michele thought, when she pointed out to him that young boys who learn how to act like gentlemen earlier on will take that lesson with them in life and avoid becoming bullies.
Kanan himself has had quite an experience when it comes to bullying. As a self-proclaimed “chubby and awkward kid,” he was often the victim of bullying. This led the young Kanan to take up martial arts, leading to his breakout acting role. His experience with bullying caused him to become a member of the Anti-Defamation League, helping in the fight against bullying.
With his new book, Kanan takes preventing bullying to a new level, reasoning that kids who know how to be gentlemen will bring compassion and tolerance into their everyday life, and stop bullying.
The book’s focus is on the art of being a gentleman in the kitchen. There is a chapter about the utensils and ingredients you will need to keep home, another one on the subject of different wines and liquors, and two chapters celebrating Italian cuisine.
But don’t worry, the book takes on how to be a gentleman outside of your kitchen, too. This includes how to take women out on dates, how to entertain a group, and even advice on flower arranging, balanced out with a chapter about defending yourself like a man.Kanan concludes this cooking-meets-self-help book with tips on how to buy the perfect engagement ring, hopefully showing how far being a gentleman can get you.
So just like the book’s tagline reads, don’t just set the table. Set the mood.
With reporting by NTD Television