From rivals to life partners
NEITHER Mr Jonah Wong nor Ms Phoebe Fong expected that they would take home the biggest prize from the MyPaper Executive search in 2012 - a life partner.
"That had to be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life," said Ms Fong, 30, an assistant marketing manager. "I won myself a boyfriend turned fiance and now husband!"
The happy couple, who met during the three-month competition in 2012, tied the knot on Feb 8 this year.
Mr Wong, 29, said her "dazzling smile" was what caught his eye initially and that he was also attracted to her "winsome" personality.
Ms Fong, who is a food blogger, fell for her husband's "sense of humour and tenacity for food adventures".
"He's also a really good conversationalist," she added.
The couple said that during the competition they were very supportive of each other despite the fact that each of them was vying for the $10,000 grand prize.
"We would share tips and viewpoints about the activities and other contestants over dinner and drinks," Mr Wong said. "We took turns to buy each other dinner and drinks," he added.
Mr Wong finished in the top five at the finals while Ms Fong was among the 16 finalists.
Mr Wong, a distribution marketing manager, revealed that after the first few dates, they were texting each other "hundreds of times a day".
The couple, who share a love for good food, spend many weekends checking out new restaurants, watering holes and hawker centres, depending on the theme of their "food trail" for the month.
During these "trails", they go around Singapore trying all the raved-about dishes that suit their theme. Most recently, the couple visited different cafes to suss out the best Eggs Benedict and coffee.
"Food connects us," said Mr Wong. "We often check out new places together or go to food tastings because Phoebe is a food blogger."
The couple even did a food tour of Rome and ate non-stop for four hours.
Nowadays, they are on the hunt for Singapore's best laksa - one of their favourite dishes.
Expectations were high for the food served at their wedding, but the couple managed to exceed them.
"For the church wedding, the guests loved the food so much that none of it was left for us," Mr Wong said of the menu, which included a croquembouche tower, which is a French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls piled to form an inverted cone and bound with threads of caramel.
"We also created our own candy table, complete with our favourite sweets."
Management consultant and fellow finalist Goh Xin Lei, 26, said that the couple did not let the cat out of the bag during the competition. "There was no hint (of their mutual attraction), at least for me, although they were often teased for being an item because they were partners (during the competition)," she said.
Ms Goh said of their wedding: "It was clear that this couple shared a beautiful love story."