Food and Family

The Roche family makes ravioli. Our Top Chef, Joe, is on the left.

With my busy schedule, I don’t often get an opportunity to watch TV, but I haven’t missed any episodes of Top Chef this season since my nephew, Joe Flamm, is one of the competing chefs. It’s been exciting for our entire family to watch Joe’s progress, and now he’s one of the final two contestants!

For those of you who have not seen the show, Top Chef is an American reality TV competition in which experienced chefs from across the country compete in culinary challenges and are judged by a panel of professional chefs. Watching Joe compete week after week in such high-pressure situations, I’ve been reminded of the work ethic that I was taught from a young age.  The road to the finals was certainly not a direct path for Joe. Mid-season, he was eliminated and had to regroup, refocus, and fight his way back on the show through a second chance “twist” the show created.  It makes me even more proud of what he was able to accomplish.

Joe has had the opportunity to share stories about the influence my mother, Mary, and father, Ed, played on his cooking. He frequently mentions that his love of cooking came from spending time in his grandmother’s kitchen making homemade pasta. My mother actually appeared in a recent episode. She cooked up our family-famous rigatoni and meatballs, and Joe’s challenge was to elevate the dish. Seeing Joe with my mother made it very clear that she has positively influenced not only her children, but also her grandchildren.

Joe and my mom, Mary.

Long before his Top Chef fame, I was proud of Joe’s work ethic. In addition to elevating my mom’s pasta dishes, Joe has risen to her high standards. She always passed along the advice of her own mother and taught  us all to, “Make work your hobby, and have fun.” I have certainly built my career around that wisdom, as has my nephew. Joe has absolutely embraced his professional endeavors, and his “fun” seamlessly blends into his work.

I will be cheering Joe on when the finale airs on Thursday. However, win or lose, the outcome will not impact his future success. His work ethic, integrity, and unflappable nature will take him far, and just as I’ve been excited to watch his adventures on the show each week, I am equally excited to witness what’s next for Joe because the next phase of his adventure is just beginning.

I hope you’ll tune in for the exciting finale on Thursday!


Celebrating the Year of the Dog

chinese-new-year-2018-greeting-card-year-of-yellow-dog-Download-Royalty-free-Vector-File-EPS-350605Next week, nearly a sixth of the world’s population will celebrate Chinese New Year and welcome in the Year of the Dog. China’s most celebrated holiday will begin on Friday, February 16, and continue for more than two weeks. Like many businesses in China and around the world, a number of Roche Enterprises companies view the Chinese New Year holiday as an opportunity to showcase their brands. And, the economic windfall from the holiday is one small example of China’s vigorous economy and its impact across the globe.

While Cachet Hospitality Group’s (CHG) properties have expanded beyond China into other continents, Chinese New Year is still significant to its consumer market.  In recent years, evolving traditions find Chinese consumers and families travelling over the holiday.  This travel rush, referred to as the “Spring Movement,” will see more than 400 million Chinese travelling over the weeks around the holiday, representing a 30 percent increase in travel-related sales.

This year, CHG launched its first global Chinese New Year campaign in hopes of bringing its clientele across borders to experience and enjoy the many different facets of Cachet’s unique hospitality. Chinese New Year promotions include a Chinese New Year tea at Cachet Boutique New York’s EDEN Local, a Chinese New Year Family Dinner at Cachet Boutique Kunming Artime’s Porterhouse by Laris, a mystery gift from Cachet Boutique Shanghai, deluxe food and beverage offerings at Cachet Boutique Zhejiang Circuit, and a massage for two at URBN Boutique Shanghai.

Grocery and food & beverage sectors also see significant sales increases during the holiday weeks. The days leading up to Chinese New Year are some of the busiest for Shanghai-based IS Seafood, an industry-leading importer and distributor of high quality seafood from Iceland.  IS Seafood delivers responsibly sourced seafood to over 800 leading hotels, restaurants, and catering companies throughout mainland China. And, with many Chinese businesses hosting holiday parties, these customers are ordering large quantities of seafood. The company has served over 100,000 portions of their top six selling items in the 30 days leading up to the New Year. To help spur sales, IS Seafood is offering customers a discount off their seafood order that can be used for their internal staff parties, and the promotion appears to be working!

The Chinese New Year holiday presents a tremendous opportunity to showcase our brands and build relationships with our customers. I’m pleased to see our businesses engaging in effective marketing to help ring in the Year of the Dog.

Wishing you happiness and prosperity in the New Year!




As Washington Fights about Budgets, Immigration Presents Opportunity for Common Ground

As Congress and the White House look for ways to pass a new budget and avoid yet another government shutdown, leaders in both parties are searching for common ground. They should start with providing permanent protection for Dreamers and finish by modernizing our antiquated immigration rules.

Late last year, I was proud to join more than 800 CEOs from the tech, manufacturing, financial services, and other industries across the country in calling on President Trump to leave DACA in place. The President unfortunately announced he would end the program, which allows individuals, who are undocumented, came here as children, and do not have a criminal record, to legally work and study in the United States.

The moral case for protecting these children and young adults, known as “Dreamers,” is not up for debate – we shouldn’t punish people who find themselves living in the United States undocumented at no fault of their own. And the economic case for immigration reform, including legislation to allow Dreamers to stay in the U.S., is also clear.

A new analysis out last month from the Center for American Progress (CAP) finds that passing the Dream Act would add nearly $23 billion per year to the U.S. GDP. These gains would grow over time as Dreamers gain more education or skills, a requirement of the program, and others age into the program.

After decades in the hotel industry, I have experienced firsthand how our antiquated immigration system stifles business. According to CAP’s analysis, passing immigration reform that provides legal status to Dreamers would bring certainty to nearly 3 percent of the workforce in the hospitality industry. This would help relieve workforce shortages, improve customer experience, and bring certainty to both employees and hotels.

Immigration reform also needs to improve our system for admitting the more than 77.5 million foreign travelers who come to experience our great country and spend $245 billion on hotels, dining, and attractions. Tourism represents about 11% of America’s exports.

I operate hotels across the country and around the world. Here in the United States, we regularly hear about potential customers who are hoping to stay with us, but have had difficulties obtaining a visa.

While it may seem fairly simple to travel internationally as an American, the U.S. makes it challenging for foreigners from many countries to travel here. In some cases, a visitor must apply for the visa months in advance. Then, she must make an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate for an interview, which might take weeks to schedule. At that interview she must bring a variety of documents, but not just a passport; the interviewer is looking for proof of “compelling ties” in the home country, such as letters from family, employers, or even proof of owning a car.

With this high barrier, it is no wonder foreigners looking to travel abroad may be more likely to choose one of the many countries with more efficient visa procedures. Improving our system would make a big difference. Progress made during the Obama Administration demonstrates that reducing visa waiting time directly increases the number of international visitors who travel to the United States.

Attracting more visitors would have ripple effects throughout our national economy; one in eight private sector jobs is supported by travel. According to the U.S. Travel Association, international travelers support 1.1 million U.S. travel jobs. From housekeepers to waiters, from front desk clerks to landscapers, workers in the travel industry depend on international visitors.

Humanizing how we treat Dreamers and modernizing the Visa Waiver Program as part of comprehensive immigration would boost our economy and create more jobs. Efforts to do this have received bipartisan support in the past and should again now. Immigration reform is an instant jobs bill and an example of the kind of common-sense fixes policymakers should make the focus of their work.

Cachet Opens Dewa Phuket Resort in Thailand

Cachet Hospitality Group recently hosted a grand opening of its new lifestyle resort,  Cachet Resort Dewa Phuket. Located on the tranquil shores of Nai Yang Beach, one of the most idyllic beaches in Phuket, the resort offers well-appointed amenities, 108812_16060110510042976530global culinary experiences, and exquisite interiors. The sprawling property features Cachet Hospitality Group (CHG)’s signature offerings, including a premium sleep experience, rejuvenating bath amenities, and a breathtaking arrival area.

The Resort boasts indoor and outdoor special event space and restaurants and bars that appeal to the globally well-travelled as well as local residents. The restaurants offer both Thai and international cuisine from talented local and international chefs, including The Aleta Seafood Bar and Grill; Stonehaus, California’s renowned wine bar; and Cachet Pool Club, featuring international DJs and local artists.

Ideally located within a 7-minute drive from Phuket International Airport and a 50-minute drive from historic Phuket, Cachet Resort Dewa Phuket is surrounded by beautiful blue waters and the lush green forest of Sirinat National Park. This stunning new hotel is Cachet’s second resort property and adds to our expanding portfolio in Southeast Asia.

When your travels bring you to Thailand, I encourage you to check out Cachet Resort Dewa Phuket!



Cachet Boutique NYC, the U.S. flagship property of Cachet Hospitality Group, opened yesterday in Manhattan’s bustling Midtown West neighborhood. With six properties in operation and five more in the pipeline, we are excited to add this new U.S. flagship destination to our growing global portfolio. The 105-room contemporary and Asian-inspired New York hotel provides an immersive cultural experience for guests in search of a haven to relax and reset.

CachetBoutiqueNYC-451x320Cachet Boutique NYC offers signature rooms and suites that feature custom-crafted furnishings by designer Jay Godfrey, and reflect the hotel’s mission to creatively inspire guests through culinary, art, fashion and design. The spacious Bocce Club Suite, is named after the hotel’s first-of-its kind Bocce court which is part of one of three outdoor spaces that will offer seasonal programming. The heated sky deck is at the heart of the outdoor experience, featuring city views and contemporary décor. The outdoor space encompasses the relaxed vibe sought after by today’s travelers.

With a selection from Steven Kasher Gallery, curated by Director Cassandra Johnson, Cachet Boutique NYC’s sleek lobby showcases a fine art photography exhibition highlighting the work of established and upcoming artists. The exhibit includes pieces from celebrated photographers such as Daido Moriyama, Roxanne Lowit, and Miles Aldridge. Cachet Boutique’s art program will change regularly to explore various topics relevant to the thriving and vibrant New York art scene.

Cachet Boutique NYC will boast two of the West Side’s trendiest dining destinations spearheaded by internationally acclaimed and award-winning restauranteur Chef David Laris. The restaurants’ culinary concepts and décor reflect Chef Laris’s forward-thinking vision. EDEN Local, which opened last week to rave reviews, offers locally-sourced ingredients, an exciting cocktail list and a lively indoor-outdoor bar scene. The Bellbrook, scheduled to open in 2018, re-imagines classic Asian food in a cavernous dining room.

Guests can also indulge in a high-end retail experience by visiting Jay Kos’s boutique store at the hotel lobby. Adjacent to the store, the famous Playboy Club will return to New York decades after the original was first built. Playboy Club NYC will offer guests and members a sophisticated experience. Under Chef Laris’s direction, the Playboy Club will provide crafted cocktails accompanied by a selection of gourmet bites and desserts reflective of an era revived.

The New York property follows the successful opening of several hotels in Asia and Mexico. Our global portfolio continues to expand, with additional openings in North America and Asia planned throughout 2018. We are excited about our entry into the U.S. market with our Cachet Boutique NYC!

US-China Strong Welcomes Its New CEO

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 10.22.34 PMUS-China Strong is thrilled to welcome its new CEO, John Holden. Mr. Holden officially began his tenure with US-China Strong on October 1st, 2017. As the newly appointed CEO, Holden will work to expand US-China Strong’s presence, programs and mission to create more productive relations between future American leaders and their Chinese peers.

Before joining US-China Strong, Mr. Holden served as the president of the National Committee on US-China Relations and worked as the Associate Dean at Peking University. In his time at Peking University, Holden helped to launch and manage the university’s Yenching Academy – a center for select college graduates pursuing Master’s degrees in China Studies. He also served as Professor of Management Practice at the University’s Guanghua School of Management.  

John Holden recently received the highest award for foreign experts, the China’s Friendship Award, for making “outstanding contributions to the country’s economic and social progress.”

How Can We Put the Immigration System to Work for a 21st Century Economy?

Robert Roche wrote an op-ed discussing the fundamental issues of the United States’ immigration system. Roche noted that the current processes discourage entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers from pursuing employment in the United States at a time when our economy needs them most. The employment processes immigrants endure are contributing to our country’s economic struggles.

Roche stated, “I’ve seen this policy debate unfold from a unique perspective and understand what foreign talent can mean to a country. Thirty years ago I moved to Japan and then later to China where I started several companies that helped to create jobs and expand economic opportunities. The U.S. could benefit from being more open to foreign entrepreneurs who are eager to create similar opportunities here.”

Roche mentions that the United States relies on temporary visas in lieu of employment-based green cards. In fact, the temporary work visa to green card ratio in the United States was 3-1 in 2016. The temporary visa, also knowns as the H-1B, isn’t designed to maximize the economic impact of each visa awarded, or contribute to the advancement of America’s long-term competitiveness.

H-1B workers aren’t innovating or launching new ventures and are in fact prevented from doing so due to the fact that companies, not the immigrants themselves, “own” the visas.  Therefore, H-1B workers can’t leave their employers to pursue other endeavors without losing their right to stay in the country.

Click here to read Robert Roche’s full piece.