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Even though she's a vegetarian, Yeoh doesn't let that stand in the way of enjoying nutritious, delicious food.

Even though she’s a vegetarian, Yeoh doesn’t let that stand in the way of enjoying nutritious, delicious food.

Annabelle Yeoh, 29, works as an online marketing executive for a stock photography company. Day after day she is bombarded with thousands of stock images, from the strange to the mundane. A lot of those images are food related.

“Out of the millions of stock photos we have and are still accruing today, food photos comprise almost half of the amount,” she said.

Over time, she started using those images as inspiration and references for her own culinary concoctions, progressively spending more and more time in the kitchen developing her gastronomic masterpieces.

“While I love what I do, there’s still a nagging feeling that I should be kneading dough rather than typing away on my laptop,” she confessed. “What spurs me on is knowing that I am working so I can build the finances for what I truly enjoy doing.”

The petite woman may not look it, but she is an ex-athlete as well as a vegetarian. Yeoh said if she won the R.AGE Food Fight grand prize money of RM10,000, she would use some of it to get a Health Coach certificate.

The R.AGE Food Fight is R.AGE’s search for Malaysia’s next food celebrity – someone who can stand up next to the likes of Chef Wan or Martin Yan in front of the camera. The grand prize winner will get the chance to be our new food columnist and video host, plus win the sweet, sweet prize of RM10,000 cash!

Siew's favorite celebrity chef is Gordon Ramsay because of his knowledge of Asian cuisine.

Siew’s favorite celebrity chef is Gordon Ramsay because of his knowledge of Asian cuisine.

Kelly Siew’s story is a little of the opposite. She started out as a doctor after graduating with a medical degree and completing her internship and residency several years ago.

It was only a few years later that the 31-year-old decided to take the plunge and work full-time in music. Brewing underneath that, however, was a passion for cooking and sharing her love of food, which led to her food blog kellysiewcooks.com where she shares her recipes and occasionally, her dining experiences.

Siew was drawn to Food Fight by the chance to become our next food columnist and video host as well as win the grand prize of RM10,000.

“My dream is to have a food business of my own,” she said.

In the future, she plans on opening a restaurant of her own, fitted with an extra space for cooking classes.

There were many other Food Fight contestants who became “accidental chefs” by stumbling upon their love for food.

Nurilkarim and his mother both own and operate Jawi House Cafe Gallery where they serve heritage foods of Penang inspired by their Jawi Peranakan culture.

Nurilkarim and his mother both own and operate Jawi House Cafe Gallery where they serve heritage foods of Penang inspired by their Jawi Peranakan culture.

Nurilkarim Mohd Razha, 26, who co-owns Jawi café gallery in Penang, is one of them.

He originally studied pre-law, before dropping the course in favour of culinary arts.

“Initially it was very hard to convince my parents, who are academics, that I wanted to be a chef,” he said.

After graduating, he went on to work as a commis chef for a few years before eventually helping his parents run Jawi café gallery, a traditional Peranakan-influenced eatery.

There were also a few other contestants who started out as commis chefs before eventually opening their own humble establishments.

Hong previously joined the second season of Masterchef Malaysia but was eliminated.

Hong previously joined the second season of Masterchef Malaysia but was eliminated.

Ngui Yeang Hong, 32, worked as a commis chef for years before finally being able to afford enough money to open Grub, a food outlet in a hospital food court.

“Working as a cook humbled me, dismantled my ego and humiliated me to tears,” he said. “Many a time I almost gave up, but somehow, every time I failed I came back stronger.
“When it’s time to pay the bills, it’s like hell. The members of the F&B family are mainly loonies to do this job.”

Loonies or not, there’s something about food and cooking that keeps drawing people from all walks of life to it.

Whether it’s pride in creating something out of the bare essentials, or getting to eat something you’ve made, we’re not sure.

But Hong summed it up best: “It’s a 16-hour daily grind, but when I catch a glimpse of a satisfied customer, it’s okay.
“When I’m inspired to create, it’s like art. And when the roast comes out moist, it’s bliss.”

 

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Previous intern Clarissa likes a lot of things. Ice cream, books, her colleagues, Welcome to Nightvale. Writing about herself is not one of those things.

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