Crazy Rich Asian author Kevin Kwan was in Cebu over the weekend on a hectic media and book signing visit for his third book, Rich People Problems.
Zee Lifestyle had the privilege of sitting down with Kevin at the 5-course dinner at Cowrie Cove prepared by their amazing chef, Daniel Quintero who did several Michelin restaurant stints in Europe before joining Shangrila Mactan.
Rene Egle, the resort’s General Manager, and Communications Director Cassandra Cuevas were on hand to make sure everyone was comfortable. Colette Bing would have approved of the menu.
Here’s an excerpt from Kevins first book for the uninitiated:
Traveling to Paris Colette Bing–style was like entering an alternate universe. I never thought I’d eat the best Peking duck of my life at an altitude of 40,000 feet in a dining room more lavish than Empress Cixi’s Summer Palace, or get to see Man of Steel in the plane’s IMAX-designed screening room (it just opened in the U.S., but Adele Deng’s family owns one of the biggest cinema chains in the world, so she gets advance screeners of everything). I never imagined I’d witness the sight of six extremely sloshed Chinese girls doing a rendition of “Call Me Maybe” off-key in Mandarin in the plane’s karaoke lounge, which had marble walls embedded with pulsating LED lights. Before we knew it, we had landed at Le Bourget Airport, and it was all so civilized—no lines, no customs, no fuss, just three officials who came aboard to stamp our passports and a fleet of black Range Rovers waiting on the tarmac. And, oh yeah, six bodyguards who all looked like Alain Delon in his prime. Colette hired this security detail of ex–French Foreign Legionnaires to follow us around 24/7. “It’ll be a fun sight gag,” she said. The gleaming black cars whisked us to the city in no time at all and deposited us at the Shangri-La Hotel, where Colette bought out all the rooms on the two top floors. The whole place had the feel of a private residence, precisely because it used to be the palace of Prince Louis Bonaparte, Napoleon’s grandson.
Kevin is an easy interview – he is articulate and concise, very generous with his time and experiences. On knowing that some dinner guests were off to Los Angeles, he said, “check out my favorite Italian restaurant in downtown – Drago Centro.”
Check out our video on how to get as close as you can to be a Crazy Rich Asian.
We asked him where is home these days, where does he keep his favorite toothbrush? “I have many toothbrushes, mostly found in hotels.
I’m off to Sydney next, at the Shang Sydney, after Cebu. But yes, home is still New York for me. Although Los Angeles is close as we are developing a TV series and this brings me a lot to LA, and I have lots of friends there”. Travelling with Kevin on this trip were 2 friends from LA, David, his friend from way back when he wasn’t famous, and Aaron, both from Hollywood’s TV industry.
“Hitting Asia, we spent the first few days in Palawan, and that’s the best way to get over a jetlag”, they told us.
So which Crazy Asian are you? The uber cool Astrid Leong or Mrs Bing, the uber rich matriarch who brought her own instant noodles to eat at their Shangrila Paris suite, and collected everybody’s complimentary Bulgari bath gel, shampoo, conditioner and even shower caps. Or, “Mrs. Shi, who earlier today bought an antique clock for €4.2 million at the Kraemer Gallery after looking at it for less than three minutes, exclaimed, “We tried going there (Shang Palace chinese restaurant at the hotel) after that awful French dinner, but all the dishes were so expensive we walked out! Twenty-five euros for fried rice?”