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When Huang Biren signed on to play the no-nonsense matriarch of an F&B empire in Mediacorp long-form drama Recipe of Life, she expected her onscreen children to be played by, say, fresh faces from among the Star Search 2019 finalists, whom she mentored. Then, when she read the script, she realised that the parts called for more experienced actors due to some complex and emotional scenes, which might be too advanced for a newbie to handle.

However, she certainly wasn’t expecting the roles of her sons to go to Shaun Chen, who turns 42 on November 3, and Cavin Soh, whose 49th birthday falls on November 17. Biren, by the way, is only 51, which makes her just nine years older than Shaun and a little over two years older than Cavin. Say what?

“I thought I heard [their names] wrongly at first,” she chuckled during our WhatsApp call last Tuesday (Oct 27), one of her days off from filming the 130-episode serial. But instead of being weirded out by the age gap (or lack thereof, rather), Biren was quickly able to accept the production team’s decision to cast these very grown-up actors, and she believes that with the right styling and delivery, they will be able to convince the audience to look past it as well.

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