Celebrity Chow with Benjamin Kheng
Benjamin Kheng is trying to watch his weight.
But that does not mean the local singer-songwriter and actor cannot have cheat days.
The frontman of local band The Sam Willows is undertaking a fitness challenge with local singer-actor Taufik Batisah and actor Fauzie Laily, friends from his recently concluded Home Team Show and Festival.
Kheng said: "Our goal is to get fit. For me, I am cutting down on processed food.
"And because I used to be a competitive swimmer, I hope to be able to get back to a decent level of fitness by August."
We met Kheng at Philly Shack in Clarke Quay. It is home to Singapore's first authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak.
The trim 26-year-old ordered the restaurant's signature dish, The Fully Loaded cheesesteak, The Philly Shack Burger, chicken wings slathered in a spicy housemade habanero sauce, sweet potato fries and a strawberry milkshake.
It was obvious that the cheesesteak was the FLY Entertainment artist's favourite dish - he returned to it bite after bite.
"You know, a father cannot pick his favourite child, but if I were a parent, this (the cheesesteak) will be my favourite son.
"It really stands out because the cheese is sloppy, which is the most awesome and important thing for a cheesesteak."
Kheng, whose band released the music video for Keep Me Jealous - their latest single - last week, is looking forward to his big-screen debut in Wonder Boy, where he plays the younger self of local composer and performer Dick Lee.
The movie opens here Aug 3.
What do you avoid eating when you are preparing for a gig?
It depends on what I am singing for.
If I am doing stage work or a musical that requires a lot more form, I avoid fried food and spicy food and eat stuff that is either clean or soupy.
I also drink a lot of (Chinese herbal cough syrup) Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa, honey lemon and manuka honey. Those are the tricks.
But if I am with the band, I drink lots of water before a show. I will also try to avoid fried food.
Who is the better cook, you or your sister and bandmate Narelle?
I cook excellent Maggi mee... Apart from that, no.
Narelle does not cook, but she orders McDonald's very well - she is quick to call, and she knows exactly what she wants. That is the extent of our kitchen prowess (laughs).
Where do The Sam Willows usually head to for meals?
Whenever we are on tour, we are always at an Asian restaurant.
It does not matter where we are, in Scandinavia or something, and even if it is the worst Asian restaurant. It is comfort food. We can only do other cuisines so much.
Do you have any diet restrictions?
Some of us (from the Home Team Show and Festival) have an ongoing bet to see who can become the fittest by National Day.
Everyone is posting photos of their healthy food on our WhatsApp chat group.
Our goal is not to look good, but to get fit. My goal used to be weight-oriented, but it is now more fitness-oriented.
I used to swim a lot, and I want to do it again.
My goal is to swim about 1.5km non-stop.