Heartthrob Nathan Hartono's greatest joy: Cooking
Handsome, tanned, athletic and armed with a set of mesmerising sexy pipes, Nathan Hartono makes many girls go weak at the knees.
The 23-year-old Singapore-born singer-actor - his parents are Indonesian-Chinese - boasts some really strong culinary chops as well, possibly making him the ultimate dreamboat.
M dined with Hartono last Friday. The venue was the Cajun-style seafood restaurant Dancing Crab at The Grandstand on Turf Club Road. It is managed by Hartono's elder brother. Food is a big deal for Hartano and he loves whipping up meals for himself and friends.
"One of the greatest joys in life is to cook for other people," said Hartono, a third-year music production and engineering undergraduate at Boston's Berklee College of Music.
"I won't say I'm an amazing cook, but I'm definitely beyond the Maggi mee stage," he said with a laugh.
"In general, pasta is a no-brainer. I make a decent pasta vongole (pasta with clams). Also, back in Boston, I'd make big pots of Japanese and Indonesian curry for my friends."
On a one-year break from school to explore new opportunities in music, Hartono is one of the performers at the upcoming My Singapore 2014: Moments of Love, a ticketed charity concert on Aug 12, 7.30pm at The Star Theatre. Proceeds go to the President's Challenge.
"To be part of this show is nostalgic. I started my career doing a lot of community shows. Many were organised by CCs (community centres and clubs)," he said, as he tucked into a dish of Sri Lankan crabs, mussels and prawns.
"It's just cool to see so many youngsters involved in this project, from primary school kids to JC students."
You've been based in Boston for a couple of years. Any good eats in the city you'd recommend?
Honestly, the food in Boston is not great. (Laughs) Whenever I'm in Boston, the Number One thing I miss is Singapore food, as there's really nothing else like it on earth.
In Singapore, you don't have to pay a lot for a nice meal in a restaurant, but in Boston, you have to. It's expensive. If not, you have to settle for fast food. So, I end up cooking very often when I'm (there).
I have only one go-to place there, which is South End Buttery. It's a solid eatery for brunch.
What are your favourite local hawker dishes and haunts?
Bak chor mee is right up there for me. It's comfort food, my version of a simple bowl of pasta. The best stall in Singapore would be Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles at Crawford Lane.
I also love roti prata, carrot cake and orh luak (fried oyster omelette).
As for hawker haunts, I'm a regular at Adam Road Food Centre and East Coast Lagoon Food Centre.
Does your family have any favourite restaurants?
My family likes venturing out and trying different places. For special occasions such as birthdays, we'd go to Ristorante Da Valentino at The Grandstand. It's a lovely Italian family-owned restaurant, with personal service and really good food.
Are you romantic? Where would you go for a dinner date?
Yes, I would like to think I am! PS.Cafe at Dempsey is lovely, secluded, and surrounded by night lights.
Another place I like is Blu Kouzina, a Greek restaurant located along Bukit Timah Road. Greek cuisine is not common in Singapore, so the food itself is already interesting.
My idea of a good date includes good conversation. If a food court is quiet and has a fantastic view, that would be perfect too.
Would you say you are a foodie? How do you keep this hot bod of yours?
I eat A LOT and I need to exercise intensively to counter-balance all the things I consume. (Laughs) I don't restrict myself in what I eat, but I make sure I work it off. I exercise every single day. If I'm not running, I'll hit the gym or do push-ups at home.