POH LING YEOW Part 1
Reporter:Jo Phan 潘在恩/South Australai Chinese Weekly
It’s a Thursday Night, I sitting in the office going over my questions I have for my interview. I look at the clock and it’s 9:12pm. Only 3 more minutes until I can called Poh Ling Yeow. And I’ll admit I’m quite excited.
To be honest I actually was aware of Poh before she made her debut on television on the famous reality TV show, Masterchef, a television show where people compete against each other using their cooking skills. The first time I came across Poh was actually in an interview she had done for a local Adelaide magazine. She was being interviewed about her favourite restaurant in Chinatown. I recalled this interview distinctively because the restaurant and dish she chose was a personal favourite of my own as well and underneath her name was her occupation… an artist. However, these days there are so many other titles along with artist. Poh is also a well-known television chef, an author of a successful recipe cookbook, an actress and runner-up for Masterchef Season 1. From my point of view, this is just the beginning.
Growing up in Australia as an Asian-Australian there aren’t many Asian role models that you can look up to and admire. In regard to finding an Asian woman on television that one could admire and aspire to be, we were limited. I remember when watching Poh on Masterchef, her bubbly personality, creativity and determination were the three main traits, which stood out for me. And when speaking to her on the phone, she does not disappoint me.
Poh, when she auditioned for Masterchef had already established herself as an artist in the industry. However, she always had a passion for the food industry and wanted to write recipes and be a published author of recipe books. Poh passed the first round, but she did not attend the second round of auditions. Not until the producers called her up asking her the reason why she was reluctant to attend and kept requesting her to attend the second audition. After talking to the producers over the phone she changed her mind, attended the auditions and succeeded into the third round.
“You have to understand because it was the first season, we didn’t really know much about the show. We didn’t know what the prizes were, we didn’t know much. We kind of just walked into the competition blindly. The concept of lock down seemed like an intimating concept but it was a friend of mine who suggested that I enter into the competition.”
One of Poh’s main concerns was the reality TV show aspect of this now successful franchise about what kind of light and how she would be portrayed to the audience watching at home. Also her concerns were what if the show tarnished her already established career as an artist. Even after all of these concerns she had about her career and her portrayal on television, the shows gruelling challenges, she took whatever was thrown her way one day at a time and focussed on the task at hand. She reached the final 2 but was defeated by Julie Goodwin, who is the winner of Masterchef Season 1 but that moment should not be consider as a moment of disappointment because the opportunities after the success of Masterchef opened multiple doors to Poh.
“To be honest I never thought I’d get that far in the competition, I just took it one day at a time and focused on the task at hand. I remember the experience but I was severely sleep deprived.”