THERE is always a fascinating love story behind successful businesses.
Golden Prince Hotel’s VP, 29-year-old Aaron Que, proudly introduced his grandmother, Alicia Yap Que as the “Honorary Hotel CEO” who still “runs” the place with her firm style. His grandma looks every inch an executive with her platinum mane of bob-cut hair and composed bearing. This spunky lady was born in January 30, 1941 to Chinese parents who migrated to Cebu from Xiamen, a city in Southeastern Fujian, China. As is customary in Chinese tradition, Alicia or “Le Hua” was ready for the “Kai Xiao” where eligible singles are paired off either for marriage or business, Fresh from high school, Alicia obligingly went to the house of her cousin at the appointed time to be introduced to Ramon Que.
It was not “love at first sight” for Alicia. So Ramon had to borrow an expensive car from a rich cousin to make an impression on their first date. Alicia, however admired Ramon’s athletic stance who excelled in badminton and bowling. They eventually married in 1960. And since then, the couple has been inseparable and partners in all their business undertakings.
The hardworking couple engaged in buy and sell business. Through hard work, they established their “Golden” brand businesses that started with Golden Charm, a jewelry and pawnshop in 1980 along Juan Luna close to the Basilica. Their Golden brand expanded to hotels, downtown Golden Valley in 1994 and the Golden Prince Hotel & Suites along Acacia street corner Arch. Reyes Avenue in 2006. Aaron claims his “ama” (grandma in Chinese) is a savvy matriarchal figure and a disciplinarian. His “Angkong” (grandpa) is a perfect match and complement each other.
Golden Prince Hotel’s Le’Mon Restaurant, so named after his grandparents, is known for its all-day Buffet offering an eclectic menu. As VP for Operations, Aaron admits he still gets directives from his “Ama”. He missed the January hospitality course schedule at the prestigious Cornell University in Ithaca, New york but it can be re-scheduled. He works closely with his Executive Chef Marlou Almasco on the culinary offerings of the hotel. Chef Marlou hails from Tacloban City and has an extensive culinary experience in Manila and Cebu. He has mastered dimsum and noodles, too, when he started his culinary career in Manila’s Taipan Tea House.
It was a Tuesday Brunch as we sat down to enjoy the buffet spread. I started with Cream of Broccoli Soup, passing the tempting Noodle Soup station with Laksa and Mami, lest I get filled up. Over selected appetizers of Ebi Tempura, Breaded Finger Chilis, Pickled Beets and Tofu Salad; Aaron shared the food highlights for the upcoming Valentine Celebration — Rib Eye and Peking Duck for the Carving Station. Of course, the ubiquitous Lechon, which is a regular feature will share the spotlight. So many choices and so little tummy, as I carefully made my selections.
Chef Marlou recommended the Fried Mutton, actually a young goat marinated in herbs and spices, braised and deep-fried for a golden finish. I also enjoyed the Anis-Smothered Pork Leg, Dried Eggplant with minced pork cooked Fujian style, and his Beef Salpicao. Aaron suggested I try the native delicacies for dessert: Maja Mais, Cuchinta, Ube Puto, which I delightfully paired with freshly brewed coffee. Here’s to a scrumptious Valentine