Charity gala raises HK$2 million for PolyU

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 October, 2012, 4:01am

Big names in the fields of business, hospitality and politics crowded into Hotel Icon's ballroom on Tuesday evening.

Some came for the food, a multicourse banquet organised by Italian three-Michelin-starred chef Annie Feolde. Some came for the Italian wine; 11 Grand Cru lots hand-picked by experts were auctioned off over the course of the evening. Others came for the entertainment, with iconic Italian songs belted out with aplomb by Elia Astorino, accompanied by classical pianist Stefano Rover, who was spotted warming his hands over hot plates of risotto before taking the stage.

No matter their reasons for attending the Star of Renaissance Gala, everyone - from the Italian ambassador to Beijing, Attilio Massimo Iannucci, to former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and his wife Lisa Kuo Yu-chin - were united in their desire to support a good cause: funding travelling scholarships for students of Polytechnic University's School of Hotel and Tourism Management.

In his opening speech, dean Professor Kaye Chon Kye-sung expressed his pride in how far his school had come, from its humble beginnings in 1979 to being ranked as the second-finest hospitality school internationally.

"There might have been scepticism at the beginning about our vision and what we wanted to achieve," said Chon.

"But we at the school shared the same dream. We worked hard to realise it. Now, many have come to recognise our efforts."

Judging from the more than HK$2 million raised at the gala, many among Hong Kong's elite believe in the dream as well.