With a title like Patisserie Fighting, one would expect a fair bit of tension and conflict between the web drama's leads, Kit Chan and Chris Lee. But in real life, that could not be further from the truth.
During a press conference at a commercial cooking studio in Singapore recently, the two stars could not stop gushing about each other. One could even say they looked quite sweet together!
Patisserie Fighting is an eight-episode Mandarin web drama about the joys of pastry-making and how it helps two people discover each other.
The made-in-Singapore show is set to air twice a week and each episode is 15 minutes long. Its first episode premiered on dimsum on April 17 and the second one will be simulcast on April 21.
Chan plays See Yu Tin, a biomedical researcher who quits her job to pursue her dream of being a pastry chef. Taiwanese actor Lee, 35, plays Wu Wen Di or Hsiao D, the gifted yet reclusive pastry chef from Taiwan whom See seeks an apprenticeship with.
It has been 15 years since Chan’s last drama series, the 2002 Hong Kong-Singapore co-production Cash Is King. The Singaporean singer-actress said one of the main reasons she took on the project was her love for baking and savouring desserts.
“I like to bake. It’s very therapeutic for me. For a few hours, it’s completely my time. I can forget about everything else and focus on baking. I usually like to make biscuits and cookies, as those are easier to share with others,” said Chan, 44. Chan has been staging concerts and performing in musicals like Snow.Wolf.Lake (1997 in Cantonese and 2005 in Mandarin) and Forbidden City: Portrait Of An Empress (English; 2002, 2003, 2006).
“I was overjoyed to hear that we had to undergo some training before we began. Coincidentally, the course was conducted where I had always wanted to study baking. It was very short but I had baking experience so it was easy. But I could tell that Chris was clueless, so I had to help translate and fill him in,” said Chan. She added that she felt like a big sister to Lee.
Unlike Chan, Lee doesn’t bake at all, so he was very appreciative of the crash course in baking.
“At the very least, I learnt how to sprinkle flour convincingly, and learnt how to handle some of the utensils to make my character look like a genuine pastry chef,” he recalled.
“I still don’t have the patience for baking, but at least I now look like I know what I’m doing!”
Lee said Patisserie Fighting was a fun and delightful project to be in. “I don’t often get to play light-hearted roles like this. Because of the way I look, I usually get cast as rich heirs or cultured professionals in mostly romantic dramas,” said Lee, whose previous Singaporean web drama Trapped Minds is also available on dimsum.
He was also amazed by Chan’s ability to memorise her lines quickly. “It’s easy for me since I’ve been doing it regularly for quite some time. On the other hand, she had been on hiatus for so long and yet she picked it up effortlessly.
“I’m pretty sure it’s because she’s a singer, which requires her to remember lots of lyrics,” he said.
Chef vs chef
In keeping with the title Patisserie Fighting, Lee says his character Hsiao D tries to hide his true feelings when he deals with See. “When she succeeds in baking a nice pastry, he dismisses her efforts and undermines her abilities.
“He also annoys and teases her by making faces or pulling her hair ... you know, like how it is in school when a boy likes a girl!” he said.
Chan had an enjoyable time working with her handsome co-star.
“He plays an aloof character, and I really like how he interprets it by disguising his anxiety with a flippant attitude. Even when he is surprised or excited, he will pretend that it does not matter,” she recalled. She added that she was the one who suggested to the director that her character wore spectacles.
“He told me that it was initially in the script, but was later omitted as he was worried I might get offended by the idea,” she recalled.
“He was quite surprised that I looked so natural scouring through recipe books while peering over my glasses.”
According to Chan, the idea came to her naturally, as she also wears prescription lenses for presbyopia, or farsightedness.
“I’m lucky, as I only got it after turning 40. Some of my friends had already developed presbyopia much earlier, in their mid-30s,” laughed Chan, who released a new album last year titled The Edge Of Paradise.
The top cake
Since Patisserie Fighting is about desserts, both stars were asked to name the dish that satisfies their sweet tooth.
Chan’s favourite is pound cake, which she likes to bake as well.
“It’s simple and it’s common, but it feels homely and is comfort food for me. If I can only choose one cake, then it will have to be pound cake for me,” mused the singer.
Lee’s favourite dessert is coincidentally one that was recently hailed by CNN as the top cake from Malaysia and Singapore.
“I don’t bake and I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I don’t usually go for desserts.
“But there is one cake I always buy for my mother, when I fly to Singapore. It’s pandan cake, and I really like it, too,” said Lee, who will next be seen in the China-made movie The Post Office Of Love.
New episodes of Patisserie Fighting premiere every Monday and Friday. Download the dimsum app from Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or stream directly at dimsum.my. The service also supports Chromecast and Airplay for streaming shows on TV.
All new subscribers are entitled to a free 30-day trial. For more information, go to dimsum official Facebook and Instagram (@dimsum.my).