[INSIGHTS] The Big Break: A journey to find the contestants

Asian Food Channel's The Big Break at RWS - auditions
Janice (in dark blue) in Kuala Lumpur beside fellow RWS volunteer Lynn Lee (in yellow) distributing gifts to children in an urban-poor community.

The Big Break hits the screens on 14 November 2012. Amid the hype, we go back to the basics and take a look at the stories behind the production. Our colleague Janice Ang was in the thick of the selection process. She gives a small peek into the world of reality TV with heart.

“Working behind the scenes of The Big Break as a representative of Resorts World Sentosa is definitely one surreal experience. I’ve watched many reality TV programmes and never has it crossed my mind that I would be working on one someday.

This project is part of our efforts under the “Children” arm of RWS CARES. The objective of this project is to inspire less privileged youths in the region and for it to be a life changer for the contestants. With The Big Break, I had the chance to travel to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Manila to select the finalists, and be one of their chaperons during their stay in Singapore.

Selecting the contestants was no easy task. During the audition trips, we travelled from one Voluntary Welfare Organization to another in many different countries, interviewed every potential candidate and set up cooking challenges for the shortlisted youths before finally picking the 12 finalists for The Big Break.

Asian Food Channel's The Big Break at RWS - auditions
Janice (right) with audition hopefuls in Manila.

The candidates we met did not make things easy for us either. Each of them had a poignant life story to tell and if I could, I would extend this life-changing opportunity to all. One boy from Manila left a deep impression on me.

Abandoned by his father when he was very young, he grew up on the streets and had to ask passers-by for money to survive. Learning how to cook has proven to be useful, first for survival, and now giving him a goal in life as he strives to become an international chef.

On the same trips, we also brought gifts to the homes in the hopes of making the residents’ lives a little better. The old clothes that our RWS Team Members generously donated were well received by the excited recipients, who were appreciative of the gesture.

Asian Food Channel's The Big Break at RWS - auditions

In a temple in Bangkok, I saw how most of the children there slept on the wooden floor without any pillows. That night, we bought them items on their wish list, including new pillows, cushions and comforters.

Asian Food Channel's The Big Break at RWS - auditions
A few Thai children all smiles after receiving gifts.


Asian Food Channel's The Big Break at RWS - auditions

The shrieks of joy and wide smiles on their faces when they received the gifts made us feel so delighted that the aches from lugging everything around the night before didn’t matter anymore. It made me wonder about the simple joys in life and how items we take for granted can sometimes be luxuries to others.

The Big Break strives to be a life-changer to these youths. Hopefully, it has taken them a step closer to their life goals. During the course of working on this project, it has in its own way, changed my perspective towards life too.”

– Janice Ang


What is The Big Break? A project by the RWS Corporate Social Responsibility team, in partnership with Asian Food Channel (AFC), The Big Break is a reality TV series featuring 12 less privileged youths from Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Mongolia, Thailand and the Philippines in a culinary competition for a scholarship at Singapore’s top culinary academy – At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy. Read more about it in our introductory post.

The Big Break will air on these channels:

Astro Channel 703 (Malaysia and Brunei)
StarHub Channel 435 (Singapore)
First Media Digital 1 Channel 76 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
TelkomVision Channel 116 or Channel 401 (Groovia TV) (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Indovision Channel 240 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Aora TV Channel 318 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Nexmedia 210 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Centrin TV Channel 515 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Topas TV Channel 302 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
now TV Channel 527 (Hong Kong)
Skycable Channel 22 (Philippines)
Dream Satellite Channel 27 (Philippines)
Cignal Channel 30 (Philippines)
Univision Channel 84 (Mongolia)
PPCTV Channel 22 (Wireless) or Channel 7 (Digital) (Cambodia)
C-Skynet Channel 59 (China)
CTH (Thailand)
TV-ing (Korea)

More information on The Asian Food Channel.

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