White truffle shock - guess who's not coming to dinner
It would have been a perfect dinner - in an elegant dining room of the Grand Lisboa, feasting on a giant white truffle from Tuscany prepared by two Michelin-star chefs. But host Stanley Ho Hung-sun was conspicuously absent.
On Tuesday, more than 200 guests were invited to Don Alfonso for the white truffle weighing in at 1.487 kg, for which King Stanley paid a record US$330,000 at a charity auction five days ago.
Unfortunately, Mr Ho, who just turned 86, was indisposed. (His feeling poorly is understandable, with so many parties before, on and after November 25 to celebrate his birthday.)
His fourth wife Angela played host instead.
Lai See could almost smell the delicious truffle dishes just from reading the menu.
Dinner started with amuses-bouche, followed by potato and red prawn truffle soup, scampi and saffron risotto, beef tenderloin with goose liver sauce and white truffle as the main course, rounding off with pear tart in wine sauce and white truffle.
Incidentally, there's no stopping Mr Ho when it comes to charity.
This Sunday, he will host Macau's Community Chest Walkathon.
Something in the water
Our congratulations to Mr Ho's right-hand man Frank McFadden, who, at the sprightly age of 50, became a father again two weeks ago. Coincidentally, his baby son arrived on Mr Ho's birthday.
'There must be something in the water at SJM', warned Mr McFadden, who had perfect contraception with double-knee reconstruction.
So when first told of the pregnancy, he exclaimed, 'What, with my knees?'
His baby is already confused: young Patrick McFadden was born in Hong Kong, is living in Macau and holds an Austrian passport. More importantly, he already has more hair than his bald daddy.
Old taipans flock together
Pacific Basin Shipping has reinvented itself as a base for former taipans.
Following its recruitment of former Cathay Pacific Airways chief executive David Turnbull as non-executive chairman, the firm yesterday appointed former Jardine Matheson group managing director Alasdair Morrison as independent non-executive director.
Mr Morrison, who was chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia from 2000 to 2007 will replace the Earl of Cromer, a former group managing director of Inchcape Pacific.
Parting words of wisdom
Speaking of taipans, what is the secret of staying on top of the banking world?
Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong)'s retiring chief executive Peter Sullivan let us in on a concern.
He said he was scared of the Hong Kong media after his predecessor and now chairman Mervyn Davies told him to be prepared.
'You must work hard on 'prime Hibor spread'; it is something Hong Kong reporters ask about all the time,' Mr Sullivan recalled Mr Davies as saying. As he spoke, he picked up a copy of the South China Morning Post to search for the technical term.
In his three-and-a-half years in this city, Mr Sullivan picked up Hong Kong culture and made friends with the media.
As a token of friendship, he gave away a small poinsettia to each reporter.
Yesterday, the departing banker said: 'I do have one regret: I should have come to Hong Kong earlier.'
Upon retiring early next year, he will return to London and spend more time with his family.
When will Credit Suisse top Morgan Stanley in the investment banking world? Answer: by mid-year next, at the latest.
Yesterday, the Swiss bank signed a lease with Sun Hung Kai Properties' International Commerce Centre to take 10 floors from the 87th floor up, way above Morgan Stanley, which also took up 10 floors earlier.
Credit Suisse will set up its reception on the 88th floor, obviously for the numeral's auspicious significance.
The floor will feature a directors' dining room and meeting facilities. The new office will be 40 per cent bigger than the existing premises in Central.
At present, Credit Suisse's staff of more than 1,000 are spread between Exchange Square Two and Three. Supporting staff will be the first to move to Kowloon in the second half of next year.