Fly Entertainment artist Magdalene See has loved baking since she was a child.
So it is apt that she is hosting the finals of this year's SCS Star Baker Challenge. The inaugural contest, organised by local dairy brand SCS, has been going on for three months and culminates in the finals on Sunday at the APS Lifestyle Gallery.
See, 33, recalls: "As a kid, baking cookies at my grandmother's house was such a thrill. It was so pleasant, touching and tasting the dough, and forming it into cookies."
As a teenager, she would bake brownies as she loved eating them. When she lived in Vancouver from 2009 to 2012 while her husband was doing his master's degree there, she completed a six-month diploma in bread and pastry with the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver, and graduated top of her class.
In her last year in Vancouver, she worked in pastry chef Thierry Busset's patisserie, Thierry. The Frenchman has worked as a pastry chef at three Michelin starred restaurants in London, namely Le Gavroche and Marco Pierre White.
At the end of her stint, he gave her chef and restaurateur Michel Roux's book, Pastry, which she has been referring to for baking tips ever since.
"It was a joy working at Thierry as the staff were very willing to guide me," See says.
She considered setting up a baking business upon returning to Singapore, but put it on hold after speaking to friends in the food and beverage industry.
She says: "They shared that factory rents are high and it's tough to hire people. I still want to have a business but only if I can find the right partners, investors and location."
Now, she bakes the bread and desserts when she and her husband, a 36-year-old pastor, host dinner parties. She says her custom-made cakes - which look like Minions from the movie Despicable Me and buses, for instance - are her signature creations.
Last year, while on a trip with her church, she taught the women in the Lorega slum community in Cebu in the Philippines to make pastries such as steamed banana cakes.
Asked if she has any role models in baking, See, who has a recipe blog, www.faitmaisonblog.com, names Israeli pastry chef Ron-Ben Israel, known for his edible showpieces, and French pastry chef Pierre Herme.
The host, who has been in show business for 10 years, will appear next month on My Food Story, a series by local food channel Food For Life TV, where she speaks to celebrities about their favourite dishes.
Eventually, See hopes to combine her love for hosting and baking by having her own baking show. She wants to become "a local Giada", referring to Italian celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, who hosts Giada At Home on the Food Network Channel.
8 THINGS IN HER BAG
1. ZUMBARONS BY ADRIANO ZUMBO
My friend, who has just returned from Australia, gave me this book a few months ago and it's my latest read. There are really wacky macaron flavours inside, such as wasabi and pickled ginger. I first watched Zumbo on a cable channel and was fascinated by how he released his macaron flavours like fashion collections, with spring/summer and fall/winter seasons.
2. DAISO FOLDABLE CLOTH BAG
I am quite big on environmental friendliness, so I carry this for the unexpected grocery shopping trip. I use it when shopping for clothes too. It's lightweight, sleek and the polka dots are cute.
3. MINI LINT ROLLER FROM ROMAN
I have three cats, so I attempt to keep my clothes cat hair-free with this.
4. KIEHL'S INTENSIVE TREATMENT AND MOISTURISER
As I bake, I have to wash my hands a lot, but that makes them really dry - so this is essential.
5. VALORE POWERBANK
During breaks on set, I go on Instagram and surf the Internet a lot to kill time, so this keeps my phone battery alive.
6. ECLIPSE PEPPERMINT MINTS
I don't really like mints, but it's a necessity especially when you are in close proximity with people when acting. This flavour is not too spicy.
7. HOMEMADE TRAILMIX
This is made with almonds and walnuts that I toasted in the oven, as well as cranberries, raisins and chocolate chips, as I am quite a chocoholic.
8. TOM FORD SANDRA SHADES
My mother and I were looking at sunglasses while shopping on my birthday in March, so she bought this for me as a birthday present.
This article was first published on Aug 15, 2014.
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