Dressed in their baju kurung, the four Muslim girls from The New Paper New Face 2012 went from models to wannabe cooks.
The quartet were sent to the kitchen at Furama Riverfront to try their hand at making traditional Hari Raya treats.
Nathasha Rahmat, Syirin Jamil, Nadia Bodestyne and Nadiah Sapuan were excited at the chance to learn from a pro.
When Chef Kaler of Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant announced that they would be learning to make ondeh ondeh - a traditional Malay dessert of glutinous rice balls filled with liquid palm sugar and rolled in coconut flakes - a look of relief washed across their faces.
Nadiah, a 19-year-old sports management student from ITE College East, said: "I thought it was going to be something more difficult and I was relieved that it was easy."
After seeing Chef Kaler's demonstration, the girls got to work, mixing the flour and water to make the dough and kneading it together with the food colouring.
But Nathasha, 21, added too much water and her dough became wet and mushy.
Still, despite not having cooked before, she managed to keep her cool.
The freelance model said: "Mixing the dough was a challenge, but I didn't freak out because I knew how to remedy the situation.
"However, I did feel like I was the worst among the four girls."
Nathasha said she won't be cooking for this year's Hari Raya because her parents usually do it, and they refuse her offer to help.
She said with a laugh: "I think they know I'm a bad cook so they don't want me to help out."
While the other girls struggled, Nadia kneaded the dough with ease - much to the envy of the rest, who said she would make a great housewife.
The 21-year-old flight stewardess said sheepishly: "I bake when I'm bored, but it's just normal stuff like cupcakes.
"Though I've never made ondeh ondeh before, it wasn't difficult to knead the dough."
Under Chef Kaler's watchful eye, the girls worked in silence, focused on kneading and moulding before cooking the rice balls in a pot of boiling water.
As soon as the balls floated to the surface - a sign that they were cooked - the girls excitedly fished them out and added the grated coconut as a finishing touch.
Syirin, 22, who studies accounting at Singapore Accountancy Academy, exclaimed: "Normally, I don't do anything on my own where food is concerned, so this is a refreshing experience."
We can cook
She added: "I can't begin to describe the satisfaction of making something on my own from scratch."
This is her first time cooking alone in the kitchen without her mother.
Nathasha added: "It's surreal to see how the dough transforms into something edible. I feel good about myself.
"This is an affirmation that I can cook."
Two other New Face 2012 finalists, Katie Kang and Sharin Keong, came down to the restaurant to sample the finished products.
And the verdict?
Sharin, a 20-year-old early childhood education student from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, exclaimed with a cheeky grin: "It's surprisingly good. Our girls can cook."
Katie nodded her head in agreement.
The 23-year-old, who is studying psychology, added: "It's an explosion of flavours on your palate.
"I especially like the grated coconut as it balances out the sweet gula melaka (palm sugar)."
The fashion spreads for New Face 2012 starts on Monday. Look out for the special Top 20 finalists' poster in tomorrow's The New Paper on Sunday.
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