I’m totally showing my age here by saying I grew up watching Nicholas Tse. Or that I watched him grew up… one or the other. Having famous parents might’ve brought him many criticisms early in his career, (and I was probably one of the doubters who saw him as just another ‘2nd generation star’, much like those rich chaebols in dramas) but over the past 18 years he has proven himself as a serious actor, musician and even entrepreneur. His company – Post Production Office Group is the biggest special effects / post production company in Hong Kong with offices in China as well. It started with 10 staff in 2003 to now over 170. It is reported the company grosses over $1 billion HK dollars each year. His speech at the HKUST (in English) as part of their Asian Leadership Series gives you a glimpse of a different side of him.
OK, so that sums up the reasons why I’m interested in his new reality / travel / cooking show Chef Nic (12道鋒味) which premiered on Zhejiang Satellite TV three weeks ago. There are 12 episodes in total and for each episode, Nic will focus on one dish, with a special guest in a different country. JayneStars had previously reported upcoming episodes include visiting a French winery with Vicki Zhao, visiting Singapore with Gwei Lun Mei, dining in Macau with Angelababy, travelling to Spain with Charlene Choi and eating on the streets of Mong Kok (Hong Kong) with Eason Chan! I can’t wait to see it!
Episode 1 – Nic’s introduction
This kind of life I’ve lived for 16 years. It’s pretty good. But now I’m already 34 years old. 34 years old! How can I be 34? I used to be very arrogant because I was young. When I was working, I was always being spoiled. Now the pace of my work is becoming very fast. Actually, I’m afraid I’ll miss the little details in life, whether it’s family, love or friendship. Those are very important. Because everyday you work like this, your views will become very narrow. Your heart will become very closed. So I dared to take 8 months holiday and do what I want to do. To search for Nicholas Tse.
(Keep in mind though didn’t he get paid a 8 figure sum to film this show? Not really a ‘holiday’ right?!)
The first episode was a mixture of Fan Bing Bing x Paris x soufflé. Although it was more of a ‘dating show’? The hashtag (they had this for weibo!) for this episode was ‘’#youaremysouffle – in his mind, just like girls, soufflés are difficult to cook and can be temperamental.
So we go back to a month ago, where Nic wants to learn how to make the perfect soufflé. He flies to Paris to learn from the best. He also explains how cooking became a refuge after his divorce, as a method of healing.
In fakexreality show style, he sees Fan Bing Bing’s billboard on the streets of Paris and decides to call her. She is of course, in Paris for fashion week and they decide to meet up.
It’s hard for two famous people to beat through the crowds but they finally managed to find each other. Even though the producers decided to use some cheesy ‘romantic’ music singing – “You are my destiny~~~~” but when Nic calls her “Mei Mei” (little sister) when he sees her, that kills the romantic vibe they’re trying to set up.
Nic: Want to grab something to eat?
FBB: What’s good to eat?
Nic: Why don’t we buy a pizza?
FBB: (Turns to leave, Nic pulls her back) What pizza? Come here to eat pizza?
FBB: Too fattening! It’s fashion week!
Nic: I saw a sushi place in the corner which looks okay.
FBB: Can’t eat such ‘cold’ stuff today, not convenient.
LOOOOOOL Why do guys get so squirmy when girls mention their periods? (You’re not supposed to eat ‘cold’ stuff during *that time of the month*, eg. soft drink, sushi, watermelon…) Normally, I would’ve thought this is oversharing but Nic’s reaction was funny.
We don’t get to see what they ended up eating! Instead, they’re now at the Eiffel Tower, just taking a stroll as FBB declares she wants to heal Nic of his ‘fear of love’. Nic protests but she explains how even though they’ve known each other for years, everytime he sees her he still has his head down, blushes and doesn’t talk.
So Bing Bing decides that to teach him more about women, she will be his girlfriend for the day. (?!?! Logic? I can’t see it! Oh that’s a cheesy gag producers!)
After asking him to chase a duck (for no reason at all), they just kept strolling until FBB wants a special nickname as his ‘girlfriend’. He suggests ‘Dear’ but she thinks it’s too common. You can call anybody that!
She suggests ‘Baby’ (can’t you use that for anyone too?) but he doesn’t think it suits her. After some back and forth (including suggestions of Sweetheart, Honey, Fung Fung, Honey Fung looooool) she declares he’s too boring because his star sign is Virgo.
In what seemed like a very long walk, she asks him to hold her hand… (she’s taking all the initiative!) They’re probably the most unconvincing couple ever!
Even when they’re at the Pont des Arts (the famous love locks bridge), with some obligatory selfies and each placing a lock on the bridge, they still look like just best friends.
Eventually, they stopped at a cafe as her feet are getting too tired from walking in high heels. She even put her feet on his knee so he could massage it… and dared him to eat from the same biscuit as hers…
This is all a bit awkward!!!
Bing Bing mentioned that every couple has their ‘anniversary’. She decides that will be today. So Nic has to think of a gift for her…
Oh so now we get to some cooking related parts as Nic plans to make Bing Bing a hot pot dinner in the middle of Paris. Not a simple task as the ingredients are difficult to source!
First stop – he calls his MUM to ask how he can make the soup base. LOL.
The funny moments always come from fellow Chinese folks. He asks the rose seller whether the flower will wilt by tomorrow (in English) but the Chinese seller had no idea. Eventually, the seller asks him whether he speaks Mandarin…
In Chinatown, quite a few people stopped him for photos. But at the shop he finally found Coriander. (what? The French don’t eat this?) Since we’re at a shop, that’s an opportunity for product placement. The producers just put that bottle of sauce there so he can take it off the shelf! If you look at the price tags below it, they’re for something else. Oh you fakexreality show!!!
More random selfies at the Chinese supermarket, where this lady comments – “You’re so handsome!” HAHAHA. Nic claims another victim as the check-out girl can’t look him in the eye and goes all shy as he asks her whether there’re any hot pot places in Paris.
At the hot pot place, he asks if he can learn more about how they make their soup base. He tries the super hot one and claims he doesn’t think it’s intolerably hot. Hrm… really? He takes a glass of water probably because he’s thirsty. 😛
The final ‘ingredient’ is… the pot itself! For 170 Euros? What? Seriously?
Finally, Nic gets to reveal his gift – with the Eiffel Tower as the backdrop they’re having hotpot? FBB declares it to be super chocolate (it means sweet apparently) and of course, loves the gift. So what does she get him in return?
Usually, other people ask me to dance. I’ll ask you to dance this time.
What? That’s it?
On the next day, they’re at the kitchen of a 3 Michelin star restaurant sharing a souffle…
That was the end of FBB’s segment but episode 1 also has an intro to the next guest – Nick Cheung Ka Fai. But I’ll put that in the next post to make things more coherent. (But then, the parts with Nick were the more enjoyable moments of ep 1 for me…!!!)
And yes since this is a (kinda) cooking related show, right at the very end Nic shows us how to make a souffle. Of course he makes it look so easy!
I think it’s slightly disappointing for a show that supposedly focuses on cooking most of it was some kind of fakexreality dating show. However, even though this is probably all (loosely?) scripted and edited you can still see some of Nic’s personality shining through. Since he doesn’t even have weibo (his Facebook page was just set up a couple of months ago for the show) I guess this show presents a little window into what he’s like as a person.
On the night of Chef Nic’s premiere, he posted this pic on his Facebook page… well, turns out not only was he spending this time with good friend Jaycee Chan, Kai Ko was also there along with Bolin Chen! This could be a new boy(man)band right?