It's about time I learnt mum's recipes: Zoe

SINGAPORE - After veteran home-grown actress Zoe Tay played a character in a recent telemovie who mastered her mother's secret curry recipe, the actress was inspired to learn from her own 76-year-old mother.

After a press conference for the 45-minute telemovie Recipe, which was commissioned by the Health Promotion Board, the Caldecott queen told My Paper: "My mother is a fantastic cook. Everyone is always raving about her belachan (dried fermented shrimp paste). I've been eating it since I was young.

"After working on (Recipe), I realised that it's about time I started learning her recipes, so that others and her grandchildren can taste it in future."

Tay, 45, added that her mother still lives with her and her family.

Though the actress - a mother of three boys who is married to a pilot - admits that she's no masterchef, she had no qualms about playing one for her latest role in Recipe, which airs here next week.

The show revolves around Tay's character, Grace, who must step up to the challenge of taking care of her dementia-stricken mother (actress Li Ying Zhu).

Through the moving mother- daughter story, HPB hopes to promote awareness about the increasingly prevalent disease.

Dementia is an illness that leads to the decline of the brain, with symptoms like forgetfulness and difficulty in carrying out daily tasks, such as taking a bath.

Asked why he decided to incorporate the element of food into the story, home-grown director Eric Khoo, who helmed the movie, said: "Dementia is a hard topic. If you go straight into the illness, people may get a little resistant.

(But) all Singaporeans can relate to food. I love a lot of dishes from my childhood. It's about memories."

In fact, the 48-year-old said that the curry dish featured in the movie is based on a personal favourite of his - the No Name Hainanese Curry Rice at Beo Crescent in Tiong Bahru.

Eagle-eyed customers of the famed stall will spot it in the telemovie.

Rattling on about the dish with much zest, Khoo said: "You have the chicken curry, sotong curry, assam curry, pork curry. When you mix the gravies, it's so delicious.

"I go (to the shop) to eat it twice a month. Sometimes, when I think about the curry, I cannot sleep."

Recipe marks the first partnership between Tay and Khoo, an opportunity both showbiz stalwarts said they had been looking forward to for ages.

On why the pair didn't have the chance to work together previously, Khoo joked: "All our budgets (for past films) were so small, she would (probably have) cost us our entire film.

"Now that we've worked together, I'm going to coerce her to join my next film."

To this, Tay quipped laughingly: "(I'll charge you) a 'friendship price'."

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