Leopold GADDI [1910-1963]

Submitted by eurasian_david on Fri, 02/11/2022 - 22:22
Birthplace (town, state)
Medels in Rheinwald, Graubünden
Birthplace (country)

Pre-war chef of the Hongkong Hotel and former Hotel Manager of the Palace Hotel in Shanghai and the Peninsula, Kowloon, Hong Kong 

“Summoned for causing an obstruction with his car No. 1689, opposite the Radio Office on February 10, Mr. L. Gaddi was fined $5 by Mr. E.I. Wynne-Jones at the Central Magistracy this morning.”

Source: The China Mail, page 10, 15th February 1935

Photos that show this Person


Swiss Overseas Emigration

Departure 2 April 1931 from Switzerland Departed 3 April 1931 from Marseilles aboard Katori Maru. Destination Hong Kong.

List of Alien Passengers for US 11 January 1948 Passengers sailing from Shanghai

Mr. Leopold Gaddi 38 Hotel Manager.

And of course, Gaddi's restaurant at the Peninsula was named after Mr. Gaddi.  Which means there is quite a bit more detail about him: 

It was in 1931 that Leopold Leo Gaddi jumped-ship to join the staff of the Hongkong andShanghai Hotels Limited (now known as The Peninsula Group). He worked as a chef in Shanghai, Peking and then Hong Kong. He became manager of The Peninsula in 1952 and lived there until he retired in 1961. He became great friends with all the airlines and theirboisterous personnel. We remember him through Gaddi’s. He launched his internationallyfamous restaurant at Christmas 1953.

Leo was a repository of local historical anecdotes. He declared that he owned car registered number two. He stated that the first automobile arrived in Hong Kong inOctober 1910. The automobile proved unpopular and by the early twenties they were still a rarity. He revealed Governor Sir Henry May became a car user more from necessity than enthusiasm. In July 1912, a failed assassination attack prompted a shift from sedan-chair to motorised transport. Leo thought these cars operated before the introduction of formal registration. About 1930, the authorities issued the first plate to an American domiciled on the Island. This was Dr J. W. Noble, a dental surgeon, who housed it in a small green shed next to the Lower Peak Tram Terminus. Besides a profitable professional income he was the main share-holderof the South China Morning Post.

Source: http://www.chingchic.com/a-p-p-e-n-d-i-x-8-the-peninsula-hotel--leopold… 

It was good to read of Leo's early life, his wife Frankie was a Red Cross colleague & friend of my mother's, they worked together immediately post WW2 at Roseary Hill orphanage. Later in 1948 Leo became my godfather so I can fill you in with more details & correct one important one. He was actually the owner/manager of the Peninsular hotel during the Japanese occupation, probably also the Shanghai one too. As hotel chef and a Swiss national he was sold the hotel for a dollar when invasion was imminent on the understanding that he would sell it back to the previous owners post war, which he did. I have fond memories of my mother taking me to see Leo & Frankie for tea at the Peninsular, flaming Baked Alaska for Christmas visits & a chocolate tractor at Easter.

Sadly he did not live long in retirement to Switzerland, there were a lot of stresses with builders over his new dream house construction near Zurich. Frequent supervision was required & in the winter his car stuck in the snow over a railway "level crossing". Trying to push it out he suffered a fatal heart attack.

It is great that the Penisular keeps his memorry alive with Gaddi's restarant, they owe a lot to his successful efforts to protect the hotel from malicious damage / toatal devastation  during the occupation.

Chris Goodfellow