Celebrity Chow with DJs Melody Chen and Desiree Lai

Fare for the day was gluten-free food at organic and raw food eatery The Living Cafe.

And the diet-friendly meal got ONE FM 91.3 radio DJs Desiree Lai and Melody Chen recalling their most health-conscious moments.

"I've tried counting my calories using this fitness tracker that I wore like a wristband," said Lai, 33.

"It counts the number of steps I take and I had to key in the amount of food I ate. I had to log on to the Internet to find out how many calories were in one char siew pau.

"After a couple of weeks, I gave up."

Chen, 37, has attempted the juice fast, as well as diets where she "had to cut out all her carbs". But like Lai's calorie-counting misadventure, "those diets never lasted very long".

"I'm almost 60kg, though I might not look like it," she deadpanned.

"Growing up in the media has been extremely stressful, as everyone scrutinises your weight. I've done modelling and people have asked me: 'Why are you so heavy?'

"I've kind of given up on checking my weight. As long as I eat right and feel good about myself, it's okay."

Lai and Chen crossed over from sister station Kiss92 to the newly-rebranded ONE FM 91.3 last month. Lai hosts the weekday 10am to 1pm show, and Chen takes over for the 1pm to 4pm slot.

These dishes - Rawoasted Broccoli Mushroom Pizza, Indiana Chicken Wholemeal Pizza and Quinoa Burger - are creative.

Lai: When you think of raw and organic food, you think of salads. The food here overturns preconceived expectations you have about eating healthy. This wholemeal pizza is really good.

Do you have sinful indulgences?

Lai: My No. 1 weakness is Lay's barbecue potato chips. I can stay off it for half a year then all of a sudden, I would have this massive craving, like a pregnant woman. Once I pop one chip into my mouth, I can't stop. I'll finish the whole bag.

Chen: Occasionally, I crave for truffle chips and the hideously unhealthy luncheon meat fries. I also love local food. Give me kiam chye (salted vegetables) soup and I can have three bowls!

Favourite local hawker haunts?

Lai: I grew up in Tiong Bahru, so the chwee kueh at Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre is, hands down, the best.

Chen: I scour the entire island for local food, so I don't have any particular favourites. Off the top of my head, for really good liver mee sua, there's this place near Kembangan MRT Station.

Where would you go for a nice meal with your family?

Lai: For special occasions, it's Chinese restaurants. Paradise Inn, Crystal Jade - those that serve dim sum and xiao long bao (Chinese pork dumplings).

Chen: We would usually go to seafood restaurants like Seafood Paradise and New Ubin Seafood. If my dad is in the mood for Western food, we would go to Jack's Place.

Where do you and your partners go for a romantic dinner date?

Lai: My musician boyfriend works near Bugis, so we would usually go to Ma Maison at Bugis Junction. It's kind of dim, has a nice ambience and the food is great. I'd always order the Japanese curry and pork cutlet.

Chen: We live in Marine Parade, so Randall (husband actor-host Randall Tan) and I sometimes go to Parkway Parade to eat.

If you're talking about planned dinner dates, Teppei Japanese Restaurant at Orchid Hotel is at the top of our list. But for that, we've got to make reservations three to four months in advance, as it seats only 20 per night.

Do you cook?

Lai: I took Food & Nutrition and scored A2 for my O levels. I was even offered a Food & Nutrition teacher job. Now, I don't cook and find it a chore. But I do enjoy baking.

Chen: I cook to survive. Randall is Peranakan, and is better than I am at cooking. You can't beat a Baba in the kitchen.

He prepares everything and the dishes are exceptional. Even when I'm ready to impress, the minute he throws in a plate of his chap chye, I'm like, 'You know what, just throw mine away.'


This article was first published on Feb 11 2015.
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