Back in Manila for the Asian tour of The Kitchen Musical, singer-actress-host Karylle reveals to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) that initially, she had qualms about how Filipinos would receive the musical TV drama series.
"Kinakabahan ako in the sense na, 'Sana yung response dito kasing init dun sa ibang bansa.'
"Kasi siyempre, home court, kumbaga," says Karylle, who was cast as the lead actress in the multi-million dollar Singaporean production.
"Nakaka-proud lang there are so many Filipinos in the cast."
The Kitchen Musical features a multi-cultural cast of theater and screen actors, as well as dancers.
The Pan-Asian TV musical also boasts of four Filipinos in the cast that include Karylle, balladeer Christian Bautista, promising local talent Thou Reyes, and New York-based stage actor Arthur Acuña.
Karylle's doubts subsided when the cast and production team were warmly welcomed to the country. There were so many positive tweets and congratulatory messages.
"Nakakatuwa lang talaga yung papuri, yung encouragement ng mga kapwa Pilipino.
"[They say,] 'Gusto namin yung show, keep up the good work.' Little things like that really mean a lot to us."
INDONESIA. Asked to describe the reception in Malaysia and Indonesia, Karylle says: "Nakakagulat na kilala ka ng ibang tao!"
During the tour, fans called her Maddie, her character's name, instead of K or Karylle.
Meanwhile, her co-actor, Christian Bautista, is already quite famous in Indonesia.
Christian, who plays Daniel Ray in The Kitchen Musical, has just launched his international album, Outbound, featuring his various collaborations with artists and producers from Singapore, Japan, and Indonesia.
"Sa Indonesia, I've always been curious about how famous Christian is," Karylle says.
"Talaga namang pagtungtong namin sa airport... Naglalakad kami, may tumatakbo sa side!
"Yung mga girls humahabol—girls and guys!
"Yung mga bagets, idol na idol siya!
"Sabi ko kay Christian, 'Isa ka pa lang prinsipe dito!'
"Nakakatuwa. They really watch the show!"
Does Karylle want to become as famous as Christian?
"Hindi ko siya masyado iniisip. Ang iniisip ko lang ngayon is I'm really just so happy."
"Whatever comes out of this, siyempre tatanggapin ko.
"For now I'm just enjoying this moment. Lalasapin ko na muna!"
FOODIE. Airing on Studio 23 and AXN every week since October, The Kitchen Musical features drama with pre-recorded popular songs, dance numbers, and scrumptious recipes.
The drama series is set in a five-star restaurant called The Avilon.
Karylle plays Maddie, sous chef and daughter of the retaurant owner.
Along with the rest of the cast, she underwent four weeks of dancing and acting rehearsals, and a culinary boot camp.
The singer-actress has made the most out of this gastronomic experience. She has been reading cookbooks, researching recipes, and going on "food trips" around Singapore.
She has also started a food blog, "Mad About Food," and maintains another blog, "Digestive Sisters," which she co-writes with her Australia-based sister, Nicole.
What does she consider her toughest challenge in the show?
Karylle chuckles and says, "Parati akong gutom!"
"Mahirap [rin] kasi siyempre, you're talking about food. You're researching about food.
"I'm not a culinary student. I really had to learn all the terms. Lalo na yung mga French [terms].
"Hindi simpleng pagkain ang French food. It's meticulous so [I had to learn the] accent, lahat!
"Ang dami kong kailangang aralin. So yung pag-aaral ang [mahirap]."
However, she says she loved every bit of studying and learning about food.
"Dream ko talaga kasi maging nerd, so nagpaka-diligent student ako habang nandun.
"More than that, I was really always hungry on the set kasi yung pagkain andiyan lang—naaamoy mo, ang bango.
Tapos, snack na naman. Maya-maya, parang kailangan ko mag-jogging.
"Kailangan ko mag-extra jogging. So yun yung pinaka-biggest challenge."
A recent dish featured in The Kitchen Musical is the confit, which Karylle has described in her recent blog entry as "Max's fried chicken."
She has tried her hand at cooking while in Singapore.
"Nag-e-experiment ako. Minsan palpak, minsan success."
"Yung character ko, sobra siyang experimental sa food. She's very creative.
"May times na palpak din siya."
DREAM FULFILLED. Karylle has been working with CheeK, the Singaporean creator and writer of the show.
At the gala dinner of The Kitchen Musical at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati last Friday, November 18, it was announced that an American version is underway.
It will be picked up by Emmy Award-winning producer Ben Silverman, the man behind the American adaptation of drama series Ugly Betty and The Office.
"Hopefully, matuloy yun! And that's a real honor kasi I've worked on this project with CheeK from the very, very beginning, nung pilot pa lang siya, nung idea pa lang siya.
"To see it go this far, parang ang daming napupuntahan, nakakagulat talaga.
"Talagang napansin nila kami.
"I mean, just the fact that they're interested in the show—it means a lot to us kasi, idea lang ito na biglang naging katotohanan."
On a personal level, Karylle says this latest acting and singing stint, is the fulfillment of a dream.
"This has been a dream of mine for a very long time.
"So for this to come true, yun yung biggest thing for me."
LIVING THE DREAM. Now that The Kitchen Musical will have a second season, is Karylle leaving the ABS-CBN morning program, Showtime?
"Direk Bobet [Vidanes] was kind enough to be supportive," she says.
"Yung unang sinabi niya sa akin is, 'You can come back anytime. We want you to do well there.'
"Hindi niya ginawang mahirap."
Even Karylle's co-hosts have been encouraging.
"Yung mga kasama kong mga hosts, lahat sila talagang, 'Sige! Kaya mo yan! Just go and do that!'"
If anything, Showtime has taught her a thing or two about pursuing her dreams.
"Kasi sa Showtime, I've seen so many people live their dreams.
"Hindi ko maintindihan nung una, bakit sila umiiyak? Experiencing that [with] mga contestants, nakaka-inspire talaga.
"Kasi di ba? 'Bakit ganun sila ka-emotional?'
"Tapos sabi ko, 'Oo nga pala. Ganito nga pala yung feeling na mangarap.'"