As part of the promotional activities for upcoming local film 1965, director Randy Ang and lead actor Qi Yuwu put on the chef’s hat to whip up dishes for 60 elderly folks at the Soup Restaurant (Suntec City Mall) last Saturday.
An avid fan of cooking, Yuwu arrived at the restaurant early in the morning to concoct his home-style “Guangzhou-style Six Combination Soup”, a dish that he personally enjoys and is most confident about.
Speaking to Toggle, the actor said that soup dishes are an essential part of the menu to people who are from Guangzhou, including himself.
“Whenever I drink soup, I think of my home. 1965 is a movie about family and country, thus I hope these elderly folks would feel the same way [as I do] when they drink the soup,” he added.
Under the guidance of head chef Huang Xiang Xing, Yuwu also prepared Chinese steamed egg with minced meat for the guests. The task of preparing a meal for 60 people did not daunt him. “Cooking is my hobby. It allows me to focus on doing a single thing and that way, it distracts me from other issues. For example, I will cook when something is bothering me. It is my stress reliever,” the 38-year-old let on.
While Yuwu was busy serving the dishes, his wife Joanne Peh made a surprise appearance to his delight – his joy was evident from the way he immediately gave her a big hug.
When asked to rate Yuwu’s culinary skills, Joanne replied with a look of bliss: “He’d [be the one who] helms the kitchen whenever he is free. There are many times when I don’t know the names of his dishes, but I just eat them anyway (laughs).”
As for her favourite dish cooked by Yuwu, the mum-to-be answered without hesitation: “I love his oxtail stew!”
Although she appreciates home-cooked food, Joanne, who prefers baking to cooking, has not picked up any tips from her husband. “The dishes that he makes are very complicated. There are a lot of ingredients and the wok is heavy, so I can’t lift it now,” explained the eight months pregnant actress.
Despite words of compliments from his wife, Yuwu humbly thinks that his skills are “just okay”. Unbeknownst to many, the actor had, in fact, sought lessons from a cooking teacher four years ago. “For about one and a half years, I learned some basic techniques and started formulating my own dishes,” he shared. “I get a huge sense of achievement each time I complete a dish.”
Endorsement deal is in the bag
With their first child due in August, Yuwu divulged that an endorsement deal has knocked on his door. However, the actor declined to reveal if the baby or the family of three will be involved in the advertisement. “You guys will know when the time comes,” he teased.
During an interview last month, Joanne claimed that she would be more selective when choosing work assignments in future to spend more time with her baby.
On the other hand, Yuwu, who is managed by Enlight Media Group in China, will not intentionally cut down on his overseas projects as “good opportunities do not come by easily”.
At the same time, the acclaimed thespian is not about to give up his career in Singapore. “Even though the market in China is enormous, I started [my career] here. Since I was young, my parents have taught me to never forget my origins and to be grateful,” he emphasised.
“I still want to work hard for the local fans. I may not take on consecutive jobs like in the past, but I guarantee that I would still be involved in several projects – good ones – every year.”
Co-distributed by blue3 Pictures, mm2 Entertainment and Shaw Organisation, 1965 opens in cinemas on July 30.
This interview is translated by Dang Hui Ling.
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