The W.T.F. awards 2020 by HARi
Mis à jour : 5 déc. 2020
It seems to be the "Awards" season everywhere this month.
That is why we have decided to launch also the W.T.F. Awards 2020 by HARi.
W.T.F. awards as Write The Future.
No expansive prices, no Champagne and Caviar celebration party.
Just some time and space in our HARi network to celebrate awe-inspiring talents, and introduce them to our network.
At HARi, we embrace entrepreneurship, hard work, and attention to detail.
We want to honor them for their achievement: people who conquer the world every day from behind the scenes, people who shine in the shadow, the ones that have failed but never gave up, and the ones who think outside of the box.
The ones who are determined to change the rules of the game, whatever happens.
We strongly believe in people who cleverly create, change, build, and not follow the codes.
They inspire us every day. In recognition of their talent and your achievement, the HARi team decided to award them, and in a way, thank them for their participation in making our life better.
We have selected these persons with our heart. They all have some common points: humility, mastering of their work, real generosity, and human values. And we think that they deserve to be known and rewarded by us for what they deliver.
None of them started with a silver spoon in the mouth, and what they built today is the fruit of intense hours, days, months, and years of hard work (and sometimes mistakes) and commitment to excellence.
They are our source of inspiration, our F**king winners of 2020.
[get to know more about them and the reasons for our choices below the pictures.]
The Bios about them below!
F**king young leader of the year -
Laura & Alexis Offe Meraki group
Laura & Alexis founded Meraki Group in 2018 in Hong Kong.
This lady and her brother are born and raised in Asia, growing up between Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, in a "Hospitality" family.
Discrets, hard-workers, detail-oriented, they represent today the kind of people we would have loved to work with when we were younger. We have always been impressed by their energy and workforce to achieve their objective for their group, Meraki Hospitality group. Today, Meraki has four restaurants in the world (3 in Hong Kong & 1 in Paris). Meraki's concepts reflect conviviality, sharing, and open-mindedness through the prism of creativity and a love of cuisine and culinary traditions.
Young, Talented & succesful, congratulations again!
Pierre's note: I have the chance of knowing them for a few years already. What impresses me the most is clearly the determination and energy. I see a fantastic career for both of them in the industry. And their path and achievement can clearly but inspirational for a more youthful generation. They deserve this award and even more. And we feel very proud to have the chance to see them blooming and developing their Empire one stone after the other.
An imaginary discussion that I could hear from them:
Their Father, J.M.O: " There is no elevator for business kids. You have to take the stairs! "
Laura's reply, " Go go go, The first up, wins!"
And Alexis to reply," Hell, Yeahhhhhh."
F**king French Ambassador of the year
Jerome Spitzer & Olivier Caisson / Pastis Group
Jérôme Spitzer and Olivier Caisson, founders of the Pastis group, have brought authentic French cuisine to Hong Kong since 2009.
In the early 2010s, there were not many French venues in Hong Kong. The offer was limited, and the " bistro-style" offers not an option. After trying to enter the market by replying to job offers unsuccessfully, they decide to take the risk and open their first venue Pastis, creating the most iconic french bistro in HONG KONG SINCE THEN.
Soon after went to several more fantastic venues, always taking the angle of authenticity, conviviality, friendship, and excellent quality.
Thanks to their hospitality industry expertise and their working commitment, they've opened 11 venues with partners to share the French culture and gastronomic experience with Hongkongers.
[ And we can guess that they also inspired for sure a number of entrepreneurs afterward to start a french style hospitality experience in this market since then.]
These guys made my Hong Kong life less lonely and our distance to France closer. They are perfectly complementary at work and valuable friends with real human values. In Hong Kong, a venue that lasts the first two years is likely to close due to the market pressure. These crazy French make them last 3, 5, 7 years without compromising the quality and the service. On top of that, they are truly loyal in friendship and real "Ambassadeurs de l'Art de Vivre à la Francaise". Chapeaux messieurs et Bravo.
An imaginary sentence from Olivier & Jerome on a Friday Night at Pastis, 7pm:
"Olivier: Pierre, tu viens à l'apéro?
Moi: Mais vous n'etes pas complet?
Olivier et Jérome: T'inquiete, quand il y en a pour 2, yen a pour toi!"
An imaginary sentence from Olivier & Jerome on a Friday Night at Pastis, 7 pm:
F**king Music Guru - Hallex M
Hallex M began his career as a DJ in 1996, gracing the underground scene in Bordeaux (France), where he also became an event organizer in 1998.
He has since organized events around the globe (in Bordeaux, Paris, Miami, New York, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Bali, and Mexico to name a few). He is evolving his event organization career by creating unique concepts, theme-based events, and the main attraction, bringing international musical artists worldwide.
Since then, Hallex has been playing more than 700 gigs all around the world from L.A. to Tokyo, including Paris and London at the Legendary Ministry Of Sound. Nothing was given to him, and every step has been taken the hard way. He never stops working 24h if needed to achieve his objectives. Since his arrival in Hong Kong, he has been music director of some of the most prestigious F&B groups, including Aqua restaurant group, Le Comptoir, and now BULLDOZER Group. Not to mention the hundreds of his music productions available on Traxsource and iTunes and the international DJ bookings done together. His a reference for a successful Djing and music production career management, without compromising his human values and respect of his pairs.
Hallex has always impressed me since I saw him behind the Dj booth of the "Paris - Pekin" bar in Bordeaux in 2001. A rare sensibility to music and understanding of what a crowd wants on a dancefloor. It's a gift.
He was not supposed to become DJ when he dropped school at 16 and went to a hairdresser school. And he was already deeply committed to succeeding in his passion, Djing. Moving by public Bus his MK2 + Vinyl's discs for a late gig and returning home early morning without complaining nights after nights in his hometown near Bordeaux. He is an inspiration for lazy guys like me, a human ass-kicker.
A particular big up for few events to remember: the Sound Walker party at Ozone / Hong Kong featuring Osunlade, The "Naughty By Nature / Claptone & Basement Jaxx " Concert at Repulse Bay, the Disko Afrika party in Bali with Dj Fudge ( another crazy MF.. :-) and my Wedding's party in Puynormand / France ;-).
An imaginary quote that could fit him:
"IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS JACK AND JACK HAD A GROOVE.
And from this groove came the groove of all grooves. And while one day viciously throwing down on his box, Jack boldly declared: "Let there be HOUSE!".
Actually, It was not jack. It was Hallex. :-)
F**king Wine Magician of the year - Wallace Lo
Wallace Lo is Group Sommelier at HAKU
and having been Head Sommelier at few beautiful places since the beginning of his career a while ago.
His execution qualities and his choice of wines have earned him the respect of his peers in the world of sommeliers in Asia. Fantastic achievements in such a little time. Best sommelier of Hong Kong in 2013, Top 25 best sommelier of Hong kong by The Drink World Asia Magazine in 2015 and 2016, first at the Best Sommelier of Greater China 2015, and Judge at The Decanter Asia Wine Awards in 2019. Young, talented, and motivated, he is on the path to becoming a Wine Legend in this part of the world. A fantastic talent and a very gentle person that deserves to be known by any wine lovers in town.
The first time I met Wallace, it was at the opening of Bibo, the iconic french Bistro on Hollywood road. Atypical style, fresh, and with a knowledge in Wine that was truly remarkable. Arranging the wine pairings like no one, proposing always a bottle of wine with a great story and experience. I'm coming from Bordeau. And he always found great pleasure in losing me with unexpected and fantastic wines from all around the globe.
Found of SkateBoard (like me), and Street Art, this young and complex person deserve all our respect for this Humility and his expertise in wine at his age. " Chapeau Bas, Wallace"
Imaginary quote from Wallace in an interview:
" Wine is the answer! What was the question?"
Mentor of the year -
Managing Director of Classic Fine Foods Hong Kong, Jacques Boissier is one of the founding members of Classic Fine food company, one of the leading Fine Foods importing and distribution companies in the region, now part of the Metro Group, and one of the pillars of the French business community in Hong Kong.
He has been also chairs of the Hong Kong section of the Foreign Trade Advisors of France (CEC) for years.
Today, HARi is celebrating a more unknown part of Jacques, his dedication to his community, to those looking for advice, for help, for contact, or only for experience sharing during the time of turbulences. Jacques has always been natural support for them and always been around to support those asking for assistance.
So, it's our turn to very modestly paying tribute to him today!
Pierre's note: There are not many people that we met in life today that force respect not by what they say, but by what they do. They lead by the example and respect of their humans' values. Mr. Boissier is one of them. When I arrived in 2011, fresh of the boat, from Bordeaux, I had the contact of a person I met in my home town mentioning " if you go to Hong Kong, you have to meet Jacques" And this is what happened, around a casual lunch at Aqua, One Pekin road.
Since then, he kindly took me under his wings and helped me to pass the multiples storms with wise advice and respect. Once HARi started, he was the first to believe in us and became our first client. Always jovial, generous in friendship and culinary delicacies, he is an example for us and a precious godfather for our HARi family.
May your Life belong and receive all the fruits of your friendship, comrade.
Few quotes that could come from Jacques:
" Do or do not, there is no try" Yoda Master, Star Wars.
and " Life is too short to drink bad wine and smoke poor cigars" Don Johnson, Miami Vice
F**king Culinary Artist -
In HARi, we love the underdogs, the outliers, the trailblazers.
Like Hyunju, Hallex, and Wallace, Mutaro was not born in the ideal environment to become Executive Chef in a Michelin Star group. From his Natal Guinea in west Africa to The Cuisine management of Le Comptoir group, passing by Pierre Gagnaire in Paris and Joel Robuchon in London, his journey is everything but luck.
He has over 15 years of work experience in one, two, and three Michelin Star Restaurants.
He has been working for some of the world's most respected Chefs. And his cuisine is prepared with a high level of technique, exceptional ingredients, and a desire to offer culinary perfection.
Born in Guinea Conakry in the 80s and raised in France during Teenagerhood in an environment that was everywhere but close to a gastronomic restaurant kitchen, Mutaro is more live example of the life philosophy of no limits to those who have a dream and decide who transform it into reality, whatever it takes.
Pierre's note: This handsome hard-working Chef, with the most life balance I know (no alcohol, no late parties, and a lot of sport), is one of the most talented chefs in his generation's French cuisine; I had the honor to experience in Hong Kong. His creations are just a poem, delicate, authentic, and perfectly balanced, always selecting unique ingredients and truly innovative pairing. When I remember some of his dishes such as " L'asperge de Printemps," l'Oeuf cocotte" or "le pigeon," I can still remember precisely the sensations it provided me (Not to mention " la Cote de Boeuf with Pommes Dauphines à la truffe du Périgord"). I could wait for months for another diner prepared by Mutaro.
Mutaro, you are a fantastic example of Modern Culinary Ambassador of the Cuisine Française. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Quote from Nelson Mandela that could have been said by Mutaro:
"I never lose. Either I win, or I learn."
F**king Pastry guru - Hyunju Michele
Hyunju is born in Korea, studied in France, mastered her culinary art in japan, where she learns to speak Japanese to translate the recipes of a very famous Pastry Chef to her Japanese team. She speaks four languages, is gorgeous, and always in a sunny mood.
But more than everything, she prepares dessert like no one. She is transforming a Seasonal Fraise Gariguette dessert into a tricky and addictive experience.
Michele is a passionate pastry chef who started her passion late, around her late 20s, passed by probably the best french pastry houses globally. She is now a Pastry consultant for big groups worldwide. She has multiple experiences as a pastry chef with a demonstrated history of working in the food & beverage industry. Her colorful cakes and pastries will make the most gourmands travel.
I remember having been troubled for days after my first dessert experience with Hyunju. Her chocolate trio recipe was proposing more complexity in the taste that I ever could experience, making my favorite child-hood pastry shop in my little village becoming tasteless. She is the first who make us realize that sugar was not an obligation, and begging for a second round of their mignardises chasing her up to the cuisine myself. If her desserts were music, they could be " Hymne a la Joie" from Beethoven.
An imaginary quote that could match with Hyunju:
"Life is too short. Start with dessert."
F**king PR Master -
Paul is a legend amongst the Media and Hospitality industry in Asia. In Star Wars, he would have reached the grade of Grand Jedi Master.
Starting his career in the 80s for RTHK, Paul built his reputation. Then, He made his way in the media and communication industry until 1998, when he founded the Eponymous PR agency GHC Asia with his partner in crime, the legendary Lynn Grebstad. The team has been building one of the most successful PR success stories in Asia with Hospitality, Real Estate, Lifestyle, and Luxury. A legend, yet very polite and discreet gentleman, always finds ways to help his clients get the best from any situation and save their reputations thousands of times.
If Paul Hicks decided to write a book about his career, that would be fantastic for most of us ( but some might start to worry too. )
Pierre's Note: When I started in HK in 2011, I met Paul as an official PR agency for my previous company. I have to admit that working with him made me learn about communication, media, and PR relation more than anything I have known before.
Always present for the extraordinary and challenging situations of my career in Hong Kong, Paul has always shown, by example, the meaning of friendship. In this digital era where everything is counted in digital relations, a number of followers, and likes, I still believe that if you haven't yet the chance to meet him, you miss an important lesson of what " Public Relations" means in business.
I repeat a true Legend of PR!
An imaginary quote that could match with Paul:
" I'm a Public Relations Consultant. Because freaking Miracle Worker is not an official Job title."
F**king General Manager - Simon McKinless:
For us in Hong Kong, it feels as if Simon McKinless has always been in place, with his tailor-made Jacket, Hollywood star smile, and hypnotic blue eyes.
For years, Simon was a Master Mind behind the development of the Aqua Group, including piloting the flagship at One Pekin Road, helping the group to gain the international reputation that they are enjoying today.
Then Simon went to the southside of Hong Kong, managing the opening of superb projects in Repulse Bay, to finish with the most beautiful venue of LKF, CELAVI.
The venues make their reputation on the men who manage them.
Simon is one of a few persons in Hong Kong who have made it possible for hundreds of couples to have unforgettable romantic dinners, families to experience priceless moments together, business people to sign contracts through after-dinner discussions, or groups of friends to feel at home and make that moment last forever.
He is one of those for whom nothing is impossible to delight the customers. Coming from a family in the hospitality business, Simon has managed to combine the timeless elegance of legendary British hospitality with the vitality of the 21st century.
If Simon ever decided to speak, half of Hong Kong would tremble (Including me). It would take several nights and a lot of drinks to be able to recount all the most extraordinary experiences I have had with this man, with a heart perhaps as big as "the Tsing Ma Bridge." A strong character, energy to spare, a love for people that makes him irresistible. I will share just three "memorable" memories: my first work meeting as a young marketing director with him when I arrived in Hong Kong 12 years ago, quite a moment... My mother's 68th birthday with my father at Aqua, who still has tears in his eyes as he remembers it so much he took care of her. And a "difficult" working lunch when I was at Pernod Ricard with him and his CELAVI launch team which ended at 7:30 pm. hard... tough.....
Thank you my English fellow for everything.
An imaginary quote that could match with Simon:
"Simon is EXTRA. Because that's the difference between ordinary and extraordinary."
F**king Clubbing Master - Gilbert Yeung:
Who the hell on earth has never heard about the legendary Dragon I, and is the eponymous boss who could make the "Bohemian Rhapsody" movie look like an episode of The Teletubbies.
This man by his madness and energy literally invented the term Clubbing in Hong Kong and this part of Asia. In 15 years, they all came to him: Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dog, Jamiroquai, Bruno Mars, and so on...
Fashions change, styles change, but this man remains and will remain for us at HARi the absolute reference in terms of business Clubbing. We could not present our W.T.F awards are paid tribute to this great gentleman. Thank you GY for making our lives a little more fun. And may the years to come be even crazier than the last ones.
I had the chance to meet and work with him a long time ago when I was a young champagne salesman for Pernod Ricard. And since then, our friendship has never failed. One could easily imagine that a man of the night with such a large network and such a reputation would be unattainable. But Gilberte has always been there. Whether it's our three crazy days in Miami for the WMC, his Birthday parties where he metaphors his club, or our simple Dim Sum lunches at Dragon I when I'm in Hong Kong, he's always there, true to himself.
Imaginary chat that could match with Gilbert:
- His event organiser asking: "Boss, how big do you want this party?"
- Gilbert to reply: "Yes!"
The rest is history.
F**king Press Queen -
There is as much chance that you once heard of Gilbert, as there is chance that you never heard of Ann.
This lady who arrived many years ago worked in television from her native Scotland but never left Hong Kong.
With one of the most extraordinary backgrounds we know, she deserves a standing ovation for her resilience, her eternal determination, and her keen sense of refinement.
The 2-day interview with Michael Jackson during his stay in the 80s in Hong Kong, the extraordinary shootings for Hermès, Dom Perignom and hundreds of luxury brands, the creation, editing, and production of Peninsula Magazine, which has been distributed in all the palaces of the world by this legendary hotel chain for years. It is her!
The first meeting was based on a misunderstanding. It was not the best way to start a relationship. It was when she found out who was the creator and director of Kee Magazine, the magazine of the late Kee Club, that everything changed. In the same way that the talent of some people is revealed behind the kitchen counter or a DJ Booth, Anne's talent as well as her madness and genius is discovered when she gives you access to her productions. This is followed by a knockout for a few days and gives you a lesson in humility in the face of the relative difficulty of our small daily projects.
The first meeting was based on a misunderstanding. It was not the best way to start a relationship. It was when she found out who was the creator and director of Kee Magazine, the magazine of the late Kee Club, that everything changed. In the same way that the talent of some people is revealed behind the kitchen counter or a DJ Booth, Anne's talent, as well as her madness and genius, is discovered when she gives you access to her productions. This is followed by a knockout for a few days and gives you a lesson in humility in the face of the relative difficulty of our small daily projects.
Always equal to herself, discreet, full of love for my daughters when they have just messed up her studio while she is in the middle of a magazine closing. She is a woman who deserves a medal. That's why at HARi we are giving her the title of F**king Press Queen of 2020.
Ann, never change. Because that's how we love you (even when you discreetly bring your little dog in your bag to dine with us in our friends' restaurants ;-).
Quote, that could match with Ann:
"Luxury is a matter of money. Elegance is a matter of education." famous anonymous.
To all the W.T.F. Awards winners, Thanks for all the times your acts help us to believe in our dream, to support our company, and our motivation to fight our challenges.
Long life to all of you and keep W(riting) T(he) F(uture) loud !
Pierre and the W.T.F. Crew.