For veteran broadcaster Robert Chua, time is of the essence for his new culinary endeavours
It is obvious to those who meet Robert Chua that he's passionate about what he does. While the legendary broadcaster and businessman spends most of his time based at his latest venture, A La Bakery, he also finds time to make television programmes such as the reality series Someone Who Cares, which aired on TVB.
Chua says he "creates programmes that are socially responsible".
"I am creating another one right now. This programme will have two single-child families, where one weekend a child will stay over at one family's home, and then the next weekend the other child will stay at the other family's home. [Today] it's not like when we were kids, and we had siblings to have fun with and talk to before sleeping. So that's how this came about - each child will share two weekends and two nights of togetherness, the parents can be 'godparents' to the kids, and the families can help each other."
But Chua admits that the success of a programme is dependent on the time slot. "The second season of Someone Who Cares would be totally up to TVB. The timing of its success depends on the scheduling. [The first season] was on at 5.30pm on a Saturday. Maybe it shouldn't be on prime time, but I would have liked it on at 7.30pm or 10.30pm.
In addition to his TV work, Chua also finds time to indulge in the food business, calling A La Bakery "my office". At the bakery in Central, he always has time to greet customers and friends who pop in, and he doesn't miss a beat when promoting his product. "Our bakery is the only GMO-free bakery in Hong Kong," he says. "We have organic teas, coffees and the widest selection of macarons in Hong Kong."
Chua's wife Peggy works alongside him, and they also travel together. "We travel at least once a month. We go to our restaurant openings, or we take a break sometimes to Phuket for a holiday," he says. "On Sundays, I stay home in my room. I have breakfast, lunch and dinner there, but I am still working."
The bakery is only a stone's throw away from the Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan, which Chua and his brother own the franchise to outside of Hong Kong. He makes time to travel to the opening of each outlet. "I go to all the official openings of Tim Ho Wan across Asia, and we opened in Sydney recently too. Our next markets are in Japan and Melbourne," he says.
He has similar plans for Kam's Roast Goose, another venture with his brother in Asia. "We will open in Singapore in the first quarter of next year, and it will go to all the other countries following in the success of Tim Ho Wan."
Chua says of his busy schedule: "I work 24/7. I love what I do, and I don't draw a line between work and leisure. What I do is my passion." TF
"I have had it for a long time. It’s very reliable; it’s from around the 1980s. I collect pocket watches and antique watches."
"It's by a smart young designer, Dreyfus Koo. He is a lawyer by profession, and a very talented young man. I love it, it’s very reliable. This one is a limited edition. There are only 1,000 [pieces]."