Lai See

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 June, 2010, 12:00am

TV visionary cooking up new venture

After 46 years of unparalleled broadcasting experience, TV visionary Robert Chua Wah Peng has decided to embark on his most audacious new venture yet - trading satellite dishes for cookware and serving dishes.

Chua, one of Asia's leading broadcasting pioneers and entrepreneurs, has paired up with businessman Justin Hung, also known as Dr Cookware, to launch a line of white nano-ceramic frying pans and woks - Blanc Cookware.

Why such drastic business crossover?

'I have been very disappointed with the quality of today's TV content. That's why I created the Health & Lifestyle Channel, a cross-media interactive television programme simulcast on TV, the internet and mobile phones, utilising various media technologies.

'While running the health channel, I came across a lot of information on how people unknowingly got poisoned by toxic cookware,' Chua explains.

Blanc Cookware's are developed from Korean nano-ceramic technology and inspired by the art of French cooking, he says.

We suppose it makes a lot of sense. We all try to eat healthier and even though we know many pots and pans are made with inferior materials that can emit potentially toxic fumes, we don't seem to give a hoot about using non-toxic alternatives.

Chua, who revolutionised local TV entertainment in the 1960s, seems determined to shift that expertise and passion into transforming our cookware industry from the signature Teflon black to pristine white coating, and from toxic to non-toxic. White is not just a colour, he says. It's a marketing acronym that stands for well-being, hygiene, identity, time-saving and eco-friendly.

What a marvellous brand and marketing strategist! We salute you, Robert.

Banking on healthy food

Speaking of healthy eating, we hear that the best staff canteen in Hong Kong is to be found at the headquarters of Hang Seng Bank in Central.

The bank's sustainability and corporate social responsibility business concept goes beyond the boardroom and is taken seriously in the kitchen.

We hear rave reviews about its Penthouse restaurant, which caters for 13,000 customers a year. It serves not only great food but also complies with sustainability guidelines, banning shark's fin from its menu seven years ago.

'We have since extended this policy to include endangered reef fish species and black moss. Our Penthouse also serves fair trade coffee,' says Walter Cheung, assistant general manager of corporate communications.

Heads up on mainland

The latest findings of the Hudson Quarterly Report on hiring trends in Asia show that almost two-thirds of mainland employers anticipate head-count growth at levels not seen since the beginning of 2006, while in Hong Kong, 65 per cent of bosses are also planning to take on more staff.

This positive sentiment is also shared by companies in Singapore where head-count growth is expected to be the highest since 2001. While most employers in all three markets are willing to increase salaries to retain good people, mainland companies are said to be the most generous in offering increments.

One interesting finding is that local employers are less likely to be rejected by job candidates when making final offers as compared to those in other markets such as the mainland and Singapore.

We wonder if that means Hong Kong people are less fussy when it comes to choosing jobs. Contentment is certainly a virtue, but this way of behaving can also be interpreted as some sort of self-realisation that beggars can't be choosers.

Island to call your own

With creditors still banging on its door, Greece is searching for feasible solutions to its debt crisis.

Now, it is considering the highly unpalatable move of selling or offering long-term leases on some of its 6,000 islands to pay off its debt. In what were seen in May as cynical suggestions by a couple of German politicians for solving the debt crisis, it now seems Greece may now allow the world's rich and famous to fulfil their dreams of owning a small piece of paradise.