Posted: 25 Nov 2011 02:10 AM PST
The Kitchen Musical is one uniquely garnished musical that teases the palette.
THERE is a lot of Cheek in The Kitchen Musical. No, not that sort of cheek, we mean CheeK, creator and director of the food-musical amalgam that has taken South-East Asia television by storm.
According to the 40-something CheeK (real name Cheah Chee Kong), there are a lot of his own interests and personality in the show.
"Someone once asked me what sort of woman I like and I told him to take a look at all the female characters in the show and combine them all together!" he said with a laugh.
If The Kitchen Musical (TKM) were a dish, its ingredients would comprise all the lessons CheeK has learnt throughout his life. "It's as though everything I learnt in the past was preparing me for this. It has acting, directing, music, stage, interior designing elements, graphic design… everything I've done before in the past. And I just love food!" said the Penang-born producer/director, who is also the executive vice-president and creative director of Singaporean production house The Group Entertainment.
TKM truly is an ambitious project, mixing the gleeful exuberance of musicals with the meticulous structure of cooking shows into one unique "food musical" pot which is then garnished with a good amount of gripping soap opera-ish drama and suspense.
At the centre of the show is young Maddie Avilon (Karylle Tatlonghari), a fresh graduate of a Parisian culinary school who starts working for The Avilon, a prestigious French food restaurant owned by her father. Her colleagues include head chef Alex Marcus (Stephen Rahman Hughes), sous chef and Maddie's best friend Daniel Ray (Filipino singer/actor Christian Bautista), sexy sommelier Selena (Hong Kong model Rosemary Vandenbroucke) and general manager Harry Shaw (New York-based Filipino actor Arthur Acuna).
Spanning a total of 13 episodes, CheeK reckoned that TKM is the hardest project that he has ever undertaken. For one, he had to direct all the 13 episodes because it was so hard to find a director who could not only understand his vision, but also juggle the different elements of the show at the same time.
"When I was looking for directors, none of them had any idea what I was looking for, because something like this had never been done before. Someone who is good at music videos may not be good with directing actors, others who know how to direct actors, but they can't do music. So in the end I had to direct it myself!," he said during an interview in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Fortunately, CheeK is no stranger to tough challenges. Despite studying arts, political science and sociology in university, his first job in the IT industry was as a systems analyst with IBM in Singapore. Thirteen months into the job, he realised it wasn't the path he wanted to take and left IBM in 1991 for the Television Corporation of Singapore.
"I wanted to change the world and be a journalist, so I did a lot of documentaries and current affairs programmes at that time, but I eventually gravitated towards music and entertainment," he recalled.
CheeK eventually joined MTV Asia in 1995, and was instrumental in the success of the music channel around the region, setting up offices in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia as well as making household names of the channel's VJs, which include Denise Keller, Donita Rose and Nadya Hutagalung.
He later produced the station's first MTV dramatic series, Rouge. As the former senior vice president of creative and content for MTV Japan, he organised and produced the MTV Video Music Awards Japan, the largest of such awards outside of the United States.
And that's not all. CheeK is also the award-winning film director of Singaporean film Chicken Rice Wars back in 2000, which went on to win the Discovery Award at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival and Best Adaptation of a Classic at the Buenos Aires International Film Festival.
CheeK reckoned that making TKM was only possible today because he has paid his dues and picked up so many different skills along the way.
"I've had the idea for TKM for a long time now, but never got around to doing it. I think the reason why it took me such a long time was because I was unconsciously building up my own capability to handle it," he said. "In terms of skills needed, I now know exactly what I am capable of. I'm more in control of my craft now – I understand what happens if I push something this way or talk to an actor that way… and that is a very nice and comfortable position to be in."
That doesn't mean that making TKM was as easy as frying an egg though. "I always wondered why no one had ever thought of doing something like this in the past. Now I know why – it's just so hard to execute properly!" he said. "TKM had so many moving parts that needed to be assembled and delivered on time; we ended up working 18-hour days just to make sure it all comes together."
All that hard work has paid off, as the runaway success of TKM has drawn attention from all over the world, with growing interest from countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, the United States and Italy to produce local versions of the show. There is also a stage version of TKM lined up for next year, to be produced by the Singapore Repertory Theatre.
CheeK, however, is looking forward to handing over the reins to a new director for the second season of the show, so he can concentrate on other projects.
"I'm hyper active… I can't do just one thing! I am very curious about what the next phase of entertainment is going to be, and my next project will probably be another high concept project," he said. "One of the key mantras of The Group Entertainment is that we want to increase people's happiness quotient. I want to do something that can entertain and make people's lives better."
One thing is for sure, whatever he decides to do in the future, you can be certain there will be a healthy dose of cheek in it.
The Kitchen Musical airs on Ntv7 (Tuesdays at 8.30pm) and AXN (Astro Ch 701 on Saturdays at 8pm).Full content generated by Get Full RSS.
Posted: 24 Nov 2011 11:39 PM PST
The station offers you easy cash!
IT'S nerve-racking, mind-numbing yet highly rewarding and that pile of cash could be yours in a flash if you get the correct answers to Red FM's Blankety Blank and Red FM's What's The Movie contests.
Designed to get your mornings going, the Red FM's Breakfast Show With Rudy And Jeremy (Monday to Friday, 6am-10am) serves a platter of Today's Best Music, entertaining features and exciting contests. And one contest that can start the day off right is Red FM's Blankety Blank where you stand a chance to win a generous cash prize. All you have to do is guess the missing word from a sentence given out by the lively duo. For example, "She went to the *blank*."
If you haven't been able to figure out the missing word, you have another shot at sweeping up the prize money on the Red FM's Drive Show With Terry (Monday to Friday, 3pm-7pm).
Have a fun-filled journey as you make your way back to home sweet home. Put your passion for the movies to the test with Red FM's What's The Movie.
A short sound clip from a movie will be played, just correctly identify the clip and win the money that's up for grabs.
With the prize money for each contest snowballing if no one gets it right, it will get you cracking to find the answers.
Check out Red FM's website at www.red.fm as all the wrong answers are put up to help increase your chances of guessing the right word or movie.
You can also log on to the website for terms and conditions. Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/redfm.my) and follow them on Twitter (@iloveredfm) for the latest updates of the contest.
Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.
Red FM's station frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1 FM; George Town and Seberang Prai: 107.6 FM; Ipoh: 106.4 FM; Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and Tapah: 104.9 FM; Kuantan: 91.6 FM; Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9 FM; Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8 FM.Full content generated by Get Full RSS.
Posted: 24 Nov 2011 11:40 PM PST
THIS Christmas, local Chinese radio station 988 wants to spread more Christmas cheer around town.
The station's deejays Anson, Hau Min, Yi Hui and Nick bring you a brand new Christmas song entitled It's Merry Xmas Now to celebrate the festive season.
It's Merry Xmas Now is produced with great dedication, from the concept, songwriting to music and music video production. The song is written by Dickson Chai. DJ Anson, one of the singers, said: "For once, this year, we're having a new Christmas song instead of the classic Christmas collections. Hence, we're very determined to make it as awesome as possible."
When asked about their desired Christmas gifts, the four deejays humorously wished for romantic interests so that they do not have to spend the festive season alone. However, they were quick to add that they would most probably be celebrating with friends.
During the festive season, 988 remembers the less unfortunate – the flood victims in Thailand.
In conjunction with a fund-raising charity concert to be held this Sunday at Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur, from noon till 5pm, 988 is donating 500 copies of the CD single for sale and all proceeds will be channelled to the flood victims.
The song, sung in Mandarin and peppered with English, is now played exclusively on 988 so try to catch it on air. For more information, visit www.988.com.my. 988 is owned and operated by The Star.Full content generated by Get Full RSS.
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