Anthony Blair Sweet, chef-owner of Anthony’s Ranch who has died, was a quick-witted, funny, likeable man who was respected by his staff, according to his former boss. “That’s why the whole thing is so tragic,” said Michael Nardozza, ex-chief executive of the Dan Ryan’s group.
Blair was different, Mike said. “We used to call him the Man from Planet Blair. People took to him immediately. He was real. What you saw was what you got.” Blair was gregarious, always with humour. When he had to chastise a staff member, he would do it with jokes. Mike said staff respected him and were eager to learn from him.
The Dan Ryan’s group recruited Blair in Los Angeles about 25 years ago. He moved to Hong Kong to become chef at the Ocean Terminal Dan Ryan’s. “He was a character. He kept fit, riding his bike from Sai Kung to Ocean Terminal. He liked the outdoors. One day a customer came in with a camping tent. Blair showed him how to set it up — in the middle of the dining room!”
Mike said Blair left the Dan’s group to start his own business. He set up a Lan Kwai Fong health food restaurant. That lasted about two years after which he went to Planet Hollywood as executive chef. Then he moved to Sai Kung and started Anthony’s Catch on Po Tung Rd. It became renowned for weekend champagne brunches where Blair would hold court. He met Candy, married and they produced a son, Skylar, who is now 10. Long-term friend Ron Moss said, “Candy was Number One in his life. They were one. She was the be all and end all for Blair.” After Candy he had eyes only for his son, Sky.
Anthony’s Ranch was his latest venture in Sai Kung. It developed a loyal customer base because of the quality of the food. Blair was only 56 when he suddenly died. His passing has led to much grief and praise:
NURY VITTACHI: “He was a good man, kind and thoughtful, and a complex soul, full of passions and enthusiasms.”
JAKE TRUJILLO: “I love you, Bro. You were always there to offer me the most crazy advice that was usually spot on.”
RON MOSS: “To say we have had mega life experiences together from our marriages, births of our children, etc. is an understatement.”
MIKE BENNETT: “I am shocked and saddened upon learning that no longer shall the world be blessed with the presence of someone I am honoured to have called a good friend.”