Daniel Desbaillets (right) and his son, Adrien, in business together
In the last few years, I have seen several hoteliers retire.
Some disappear quietly, some leave whimpering, some leave fighting and then return to a similar job, still others leave and return, re-energised and taking on a new form.
Take Daniel Desbaillets, the man who was president of InterContinental Hotels Group in the 90s and who then went on to work with owner hotel groups including Millennium & Copthorne and TLC Group of Thailand.
has teamed up with his Cornell-educated son, Adrien, to start a group of salad bars in Singapore called SALADSTOP!
Daniel was his usual hospitable self - he's a second generation hotelier, he was born in a hotel room after all - and kept bringing us item after item to taste.
Knowing my penchant for Thai salads, Daniel
offered me the Thai noodle salad (yum woon sen) - very tasty, the right tanginess - and the Thai papaya salad - very good as well, crunchy and flavoursome.
So how does it feel to be an entrepreneur after such a long time in the corporate world, I asked Daniel
, after I had eaten more than I should.
"Wonderful, it's so fulfilling to work with my son," said Daniel
eyes glowing with pride.
The father and son do make a good team.
Where Dad is bouncing with energy, Son is pretty cool - greeting customers and explaining what's on offer in a low-key manner.
and Adrien decided on a salad bar concept because they felt there were not enough places in Singapore offering a good choice of salads.
Food & beverage is not new to Daniel
opened a few restaurants within hotels in his
The processes and disciplines are similar, he
says, just that now he's
doing it on his
own and the money, well, it's his
"That makes things very different, of course," he
"But it's exciting and challenging and," looking over at his