TV: AFC – The Big Break

I don’t usually write about TV but The Big Break really had me. The challenges of poverty and a lack of education have always been a prevailing issue faced by disadvantaged youths in Asia. With so few opportunities available to those in need, many children grow up unable to reach their full potential. In this exciting AFC Original Production produced in partnership with Resorts World™ Sentosa, 12 underprivileged youths from six different countries in Asia are offered an opportunity to transform their lives by learning invaluable skills needed in the kitchen.

We’re onto episode 12 and 13 now! And it was nice being able to meet some of the contestants today at the press conference in Sentosa. I was almost in tears by the end of the session today when I witness all the camaraderie and emotions between these youth whom over the course of the competition had built really strong friendships (and not to mention character).

It struck me too that Chef Alan Orreal, is such an encouraging person. He’s really grounded despite his own success and they way he dishes out advice and motivates those around him really strikes a chord in my heart and made me all emotional.


On Wednesday, 30 January 2013 at 10pm, foodies and AFC fans from across eleven territories in Asia will finally have the long-anticipated answer to their question: Which of the twelve brave youths finally got their “big break”? Asian Food Channel (AFC) will unveil the winner in a one-hour finale on StarHub.

The highlight: Getting a peak into the famous

Joël Robuchon kitchen!


Following eleven weeks of exciting challenges, the original twelve contestants have been whittled down. Only three remain to compete in this final episode – Nico from Singapore, Lawrence from the Philippines and Eli from Malaysia, who will battle for a grand prize of a scholarship worth over S$30,000 at At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy in Singapore, co- sponsored by RWS.

Because each of the contestants have their own real poignant stories to tell, each elimination becomes  a heartbreak not only for the losing contestant but to the other contestants and judges as well.  It is a good thing that nobody really loses since those sent home brings with him/her a S$2,000 Bursary and a wealth of experience which would not have been possible if they did not become part of the show.  The money is to be used to further their education back home to pursue their craft in the culinary arts. This was what drew me into the show, and made a huge impact on me. For these young adults to juggle the stresses of the competition, heartbreak, the pressure in the kitchen, with a camera watching their every move, it breaks you down inside. I really admire their courage, fearlessness, and their unique stories – and ultimately their never day die attitude.  The show is a challenge for the contestants to empower themselves by realizing what they are capable of doing.  Win or not, each have already been given their respective big break.
After winning the Oriental challenge in episode 11, Lawrence received an unprecedented advantage of moving straight into the finals, raising the stakes and stress levels for the other two remaining contestants, Eli and Nico. In the one-hour finale, they will have to compete at the Joël Robuchon Restaurant at RWS for a place at the finals. There, they will learn the intricacies of fine dining, and Executive Chef Tomonori Danzaki will issue them a daunting challenge of creating French haute cuisine in the signature Joël Robuchon style. (I personally think these young talents are super courageous to have gone thru this!)

Find out who will be crowned the winner of The Big Break as the two finalists battle it out in the biggest and most challenging task of the entire competition – to prepare a fine dining meal for 150 of RWS’s VIP guests at its latest attraction, the S.E.A Aquarium.

Chef Alan Orreal, Judge of The Big Break and Executive Chef of RWS has this to say:
“All the contestants have come a long way, and especially so for Nico, Lawrence and Eli. I’m so proud of what they have achieved and how far they have progressed since episode one. It’s been an inspiring journey for me as well, watching how all of the participants helped each other during the filming, sharing tips and exchanging notes, despite it being a competition.”
“The show has fulfilled its objective of inspiring these youths to achieve their dreams of becoming a chef. Most of the contestants started off with very little knowledge of cooking and they were shy and quiet at first. However, as the show progressed, you could see that each contestant blossomed in their own way in terms of appreciation of food, their culinary skills and personal growth. Many of them are now pursuing culinary courses back in their home country and we are heartened that the show has enriched and inspired them,” he continued.
Ms. Maria Brown, co-founder and CEO of the Asian Food Channel, says she is delighted with the entire series. “The Big Break has been such an exciting and worthwhile project to spearhead. Watching the young contestants grow under the guidance, and tutelage of the talented AFC and RWS chef’s has been a heartwarming experience and I can’t wait to see how their lives unfold in the future.”
She added, “This partnership has been a perfect fit for both RWS and AFC. The Big Break not only aligned with RWS’s current CSR programme, the aRWSome apprenticeship, it also complemented AFC’s own internal objectives – it gave us the opportunity to not only promote local Asian talent to the world, but also to go one step further, to find and nurture such budding
talent and to tell their stories on TV! Helping to give these youths a second chance has been a dream and I would like to thank Resorts World Sentosa for their excellent partnership in this project.”
Catch the finale episode of The Big Break exclusively on the Asian Food Channel or visit for the latest information about contestants as well as summaries and highlights from each episode.