Celeb foodie: Marc Nelson

Posted at 10/07/10 11:46 AM

MANILA, Philippines – It may be easier to find a needle in a haystack than to look for a woman in the country who doesn’t adore Marc Nelson.

This Burmese-Australian TV host and model (who can actually pass as a Filipino) may not appear as often in television compared to other local celebrities, but he has gained a huge following in the Philippines, particularly from bar-hopping, beach-going 20-somethings.

His longtime program at ABS-CBN with Dyan Castillejo, Sports Unlimited, has been an avenue to display Nelson’s stunning good looks, perfect physique, athleticism and witty humor.

While doing commercials on the side, he eventually became more popular in other countries after he and TV host Rovilson Fernandez represented Team Philippines in The Amazing Race Asia 2 and finished in third place.

"This country's (Philippines) been so good to me. It gave me the best job and the greatest friends," he told abs-cbnNEWS.com.

As a way of thanking the Philippines for all of his successes, Nelson makes it a point to take part in advocacy work in the country, from World Vision to Kythe.

Recently, he voiced his support for the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) “I Click, I Save” campaign, which aims to raise funds for the rehabilitation and protection of several marine sites in the Philippines.

By going online and donating at least P17 a day, Nelson said Filipinos can help save the country’s marine biodiversity.


Marc Nelson makes an online donation to WWF's "I Click, I Save" campaign to help save the country's marine biodiversity. Credit: Karen Flores, abs-cbnNEWS.com


“I want to do more for others. I want to help the Philippines," he said.

In between all these, Nelson said he still manages to squeeze in some R&R mainly in the form of eating with friends -- whether at home or at a restaurant in Manila.

So what does this hunk like to eat? Here are Nelson’s answers to questions posed by abs-cbnNEWS.com:

Describe yourself as a foodie.

I’d like to say that I’m adventurous, but that would be lying. I’m a picky eater, but not because I want to. I’m allergic to all seafood except oysters and mussels. Patis (fish sauce) is the only thing that makes those things edible to me.

I’m also not a fan of spicy food. But I’m fine with the rest.

Give us 5 things that we’ll always see in your fridge and/or kitchen.

Soy milk--I’m a bit lactose intolerant, boiled camote (sweet potato) because I love it and it's healthy. You just put it in the microwave, add a bit of nutmeg, and it’s the best camote mash ever.

You can add it to grilled chicken breast, so that’s the third one (laughs).

There’s also whole wheat bread, and fruits, like apples.

Based on your answers and your figure, it seems that you’re quite into healthy food. But do you still eat junk food once in a while?

Right now, I’m really into healthy food. I’m happy with a good salad. But to be honest, I actually grew up not liking vegetables. I just eventually realized that I need to look after my health.

I still like junk food though, like pizza, fries, and all sorts of crunchy stuff. It’s all about moderation.

What’s your ultimate comfort food?

Meat pies! Frozen meat pies from Australia. Really feels like home. But I only eat it once in a while.

What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever eaten?

I know it’s cliché, but balut. I had to eat 4 balut at The Amazing Race Asia 2, and after that, I swore I’d never eat it again.

What’s one thing that you’ll never ever eat?

Seafood, or a panda steak (laughs). But seriously, I’d never eat endangered species.

If I had to try more exotic food, I will. I’m okay with grasshoppers, crickets, frogs, kangaroo and rabbit. But if I can avoid it, why not?

Do you cook?

Yes, my mother taught me how to cook. My favorite dish cooked by my mom is a dish that’s similar to laksa (a Peranakan spicy noodle soup).

I make a good bolognese, stroganoff, and I’m great at the barbecue. My friends like my cooking. But I’m not a chef, my plating is horrible. For me, it’s all about flavor and taste.

Have you considered going to a culinary school to hone your cooking skills?

Sure, for curiosity. I like to learn things, but I also like to experiment.

If you can compare yourself to one ingredient or food item, what would it be?

I really can’t think of anything, but they say you’ll know a guy depending on how he cooks his steak, so I’ll start there.

I like my steak like I like my life – simple, not overdone, lightly seasoned, and a little bit dark. Tender in the middle, and not too spicy.


Filipino restaurant?

Abe at The Fort.

American restaurant?

Hmm…Kenny Rogers (laughs).

Japanese restaurant?

Shinjuku at Little Tokyo. Although there’s also a good Japanese restaurant along Pasay Road. I just forgot what it’s called.

Italian restaurant?

I can’t answer that yet since I’m planning to go to this Italian restaurant with my friends. But when I go to an Italian restaurant, I usually check their bolognese. I hate sweet bolognese.

Mediterranean restaurant?


Chinese restaurant?

It’s actually in Australia. My brother’s restaurant, Canton Restaurant, serves really good Chinese food.

But here in Manila, I usually go to North Park.

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