TAIPEI - Local master chef Cheng Yen-chi, better known as Ah-chi-shih, yesterday admitted to having hugged and kissed a fan after being caught visiting motels twice with the same woman by paparazzi.
The chef made the remarks in a postponed press conference yesterday, after Next Magazine published its recent issue, showing photos of Cheng and a middle-aged lady going to different motels in Taipei City.
The two visits were dated in late November and early December, each lasting roughly half an hour. Cheng was seen leaving Fullon Hotel, where he is employed, on his scooter and getting in the woman's car on another street without taking off his helmet. Once back on his scooter, Cheng was still wearing the helmet.
The photos shocked many of his supporters and fans, as Cheng was well-known for his loving relationship with his wife of 34 years, often discussing the hardships they endured together throughout their marriage and previous financial shortages.
Following the filming of a show on Tuesday, Cheng informed questioning reporters that he was merely soothing a distressed relative who came to him to borrow some money.
However, Cheng's manager stated that the chef was meeting with a manufacturer earlier, when the media was unable to reach Cheng in person, yet the claim proved false when Cheng himself came forward in the afternoon for an explanation.
No Longer just a Fan: Cheng
In the press conference, Cheng said the woman, surnamed Chen, was a fan who has admired him for many years.
"After getting acquainted for some time, our feelings have sublimated and I have been concerned and tolerant toward her," said Cheng, who also admitted that he no longer feels Chen is simply a fan.
According to Cheng, the woman often confides in him tearfully about her family issues. "As a chef, I will not reject my customers randomly ... I often try to help her in self-realisation, which is based on the spirit of 'good service.'"
The chef also revealed that Chen has called him "dear hubby" in her text messages, saying that she would not argue with "big sister" (supposedly Cheng's wife), and that she was willing to serve him for a lifetime. Instead of losing his patience, Cheng stated that he often accepted her gifts and fitted chef uniforms, also lending the woman several thousand dollars at times.
Cheng then admitted having visited motels with the woman, adding that they hugged and were engaged in "mouth-to-mouth" actions, which he explained were "international etiquette" and "giving her some warmth."
"We did not French kiss, and I could only keep still even when my mouth was numb; my mind was open and there were no evil or erotic thoughts," said Cheng. Yet despite stating that he has told his wife of the text messages and his past admirers, as "chefs are often popular among the opposite sex," Cheng admitted that his wife did not know about the motel visits.
"I have been stupid, absent-minded and troubled, but I do not feel that I have been caught in some 'badger game,' and my wife and daughter have been supportive since the photos were published," said Cheng.