IT’S an unusual recipe for Hollywood success – a law degree and a love of jam.
But Edinburgh lawyer-turned-actress Shuiken Chan has landed her big break in a major film and will star alongside Harvey Keitel and Toni Collette in Madame by LGM & Studio Canal.
Despite spending the last month shooting in Paris, Shuiken has still managed to find time to experiment with exotic jam flavours, and even managed to squeeze one of her creations into the movie. The 38-year-old, who is the owner of My Jam – her own brand – originally studied law after leaving Gracemount High School around 20 years ago.
But the food fanatic soon discovered she was more suited to a creative career, and decided to pursue her dream of becoming an actress.
Shuiken, also known as Sue, said: “I came to a point in my life where I wanted to explore a more creative side of myself.
“After deliberating for some time, I finally plucked up the courage to hand in my notice, pack my bags and go exploring. I went backpacking for about eight months and did some volunteering in Thailand and Nepal. I then headed off to New York City in the summer of 2010 to pursue acting.”
She added: “I didn’t want to be lying on my deathbed one day regretting that I didn’t do the things I wish I had done.”
The jam genius spent five years in New York, where she studied acting at HB Studio, before returning to Edinburgh last year.
During a brief visit to the Capital in 2012 the actress began her jam business, specialising in “delicious fruit spreads with no added sugar”.
She said: “My family and friends loved these fruit spreads.
“At that time I thought it would be amazing to be able to make them available to everyone one day.
“I think my mixed Asian background has very much contributed to the fusion of different types of foods I cook. My Jam very much reflects this.
“When I moved back to Edinburgh at the end of 2015 I finally got the opportunity to start turning my dream into a reality.”
She added: “I saw a tray on the kitchen table with tea and toast to be used in a particular scene while I was filming in Paris and I decided to be bold at the last moment and asked the director if I could put my jams out on the tray for the scene.
“Usually the set designer plans this some time ahead, so I thought the chances of the director agreeing to this would be slim. Surprisingly the director said yes.”
The role of Mandy is Shuiken’s first supporting role in a major film.
Her My Jam range is available at ten stores across the Capital including Jan De Vries and Crombies of Edinburgh. Her current flavours are Sweet Tang Burst made with strawberries, goji berries and ginger, and Hot Blue Jamboree made with blueberries, coconut and chilli.