Asian ‘Spice Girls’ compete in My Kitchen Rules

Singapore/Malaysia duo competes in Season 6 of Australia's popular cooking competition My Kitchen Rules.

Words by Imagine TV Network

Self-proclaimed 'Spice Girls' Debra Ch'ng and Eva Lean are one of the 18 pairs of contestants competing in the sixth season of the reality cooking competition, My Kitchen Rules. In this latest season, the first two groups, comprising of six teams each, were not told that they were also competing against another third group of six teams.

Image credit: DIVA

Based in Perth, Western Australia, the duo, who are marketing colleagues, say they watch the show every year and call themselves big fans of the reality genre. Ch'ng shares that as a fan of reality shows, the experience of being on one is crazy and says, "It is one of the things on the bucket list." Lean adds that they never thought they would get onto the show even though they thought they have a chance to do better than everyone else.

One of their strengths, they believe, lie in their strong Asian roots. Ch'ng has both Singaporean and Malaysian heritage whereas Lean is of Singaporean and Indian descent.

Image credit: DIVA

Asked about how they had incorporated an Asian twist to the Western menu, Ch'ng names their pandan crème brûlée as an example. "Eva and I felt it would be smart adding pandan because we love pandan flavor," she recalls. However, she says they forgot that it was a French dessert and did not get the technique right. She remarks that they were out of their depth and adds, "The difficulty... is trying to stay true to what you should be doing instead of reinventing them."

Though they are food lovers, Lean says cooking on a reality cooking competition is not anything like cooking for friends and family. In the Instant Restaurant round, where home kitchens are turned into themed restaurants, they filmed for 12 hours straight. "Not only do you have to cook and talk at the same time, and rate what you're cooking... It is a very tiring process and it's a lot harder than what it looks like," she says.

Ch'ng shares candidly that although they got along well with Ash and Camilia, they were intimidated by them. "They have not put a foot wrong in this competition and they are just very ballsy," she says.

Lean remarked that when it comes to competition dishes, they only cooked food they like. "I don't like dishes that have too much pork fat in [them] so we don't cook those dishes. We don't like tofu so we don't cook tofu dishes."

This rule of only cooking what they like to eat was one of the rules they made up as they go along. A pretty big fight off-camera was the catalyst, she says. "We are such good friends. We didn't want to ruin the relationship... So we kind of regrouped and set rules."

She explains that spending over 24 hours with each other in a small and intense environment triggered the fight but in retrospect, she felt that the rule-setting was one of reason they were able to do well in the show. Since the filming for the show began, their friendship deepened and they now consider themselves to be like sisters

 My Kitchen Rules broadcasts every Monday to Wednesday on DIVA (StarHub Ch. 513 and Singtel TV Ch. 303) at 9.25pm.

 

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