Friday, August 28, 2009

Why a baking show?

"Alamak, why a baking show??"
This has been one variation of the many interesting remarks from well-meaning friends when they hear about my latest TV food adventures.

VANILA (series 1) would be the 5th food series I'm doing so far,
- KALAU DAPUR TAK BERASAP (2 seasons; 13 x half-hr each; 1997-8)
- SOO LAZAT (seasons 1-2; 15 episodes in total, half-hr each; 2006-7), "Best magazine programme" @ Pesta Perdana 2007
- CELEBRITI CHEF (13 x 1 hr; 2007)
VANILA (series 1, 6 x half-hr, premieres 1 October 2009 @ 9pm on MediaCorp's SURIA channel)

Just when I thought I'd get away from another cooking show here comes another. However I must say that I had come to enjoy doing food shows tremendously. It's easy to trivialize the kitchen but not many people realise that a food programme when done properly is also giving the very food we eat it's deserved place - pure respect for something that gives the body much nourishment.

Why so serious ...lah?

Why won't I just stick to doing drama (film and television)?

Food is drama ...lah! You should have been behind-the-scenes in my cooking show. I don't know about other food sets but there is so much laughter, stories (aka latest 'updates' ...haha) while waiting idly for each food process to develop. What would you do for 45 mins while waiting for the dough to rise?

And yes there is also the FOOD! YUM! Watching how food is being made at every process is a rush!

After doing so many food shows, each experience is a new one. Doing television programmes presents me with the means to present food gloriously and in ways that I would not have the chance to do everyday. I've met and made friends with so many chefs (and enjoy meeting new ones). From them, I realise that presenting food is an art too. It takes instinctive skill and a certain refined 'taste' to make food appetizing!

The competitive-factual programme, Celebrity Chef, highlighted to me that chefs are artistes too! It's delightful observing chefs orchestrate the kitchen to concoct a dish.

I'm glad that the series "So Lazat" was so well-received critically and commercially that it has become a benchmark to many info-magazine programmes after it, I was told. Honestly it was something I had not deliberately set to do when I was tasked to do the programme. I'm humbled.

The truth is that I had wanted to do comedy!!! Not slapstick comedy but comedy that is derived from life's lessons.

Well I may not be doing another comedy with VANILA. But I think VANILA offers the viewer life-learning pointers apart from the food baking ones and I hope this new baking show would be inspiring to the viewer as much as I had been inspired directing it, especially by the cook herself - Siti Mastura. She's one lady that's so full of life-lessons. Her personal story to get where she is today is something I think many people would relate to. She's not only pretty but she is also sincere with her ways. I feel so honoured to have the chance to work with her. Her pastries, cakes and advise never fail to provide the (sugar) rush that I need day-to-day.

Being scrutinised everyday is not the life I seek when I decide to be in this industry, but meeting souls like Siti brings hope and reminds me of life's purpose.

Food, glorious food!

VANILA - the new baking show with Siti Mastura, premiered on 1 October 2009 @ 9pm, on MediaCorp's Suria channel, Singapore.

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