Pirata Group | Co-founder
Pirata Group | Co-founder and CEO
Pirata Group co-founder Manuel Palacio has a deep rooted passion for quality service. He began his career in hospitality at age 13 in his native Madrid before travelling to both England and the United States to develop his skills at a number of noteworthy establishments. Throughout his service tenure, Manuel has worked at some of the most coveted international hot spots in London, New York, Ibiza and Hong Kong including Floridita and Armani Aqua.
Whilst working in Hong Kong, Manuel noticed a gap in the market in terms of service – Western dining, including Italian cuisine, had become almost an intimidating experience for Hong Kong diners due to impersonal and unapproachable service. Committed to providing a deeply personal yet approachable hospitality experience, Manuel decided to open his own concept with a focus on exceptional service and traditional values. Thus Pirata Group was born.
Pirata Group | Chief Operating Officer
Michael brings to the Pirata family over three decades of experience building and developing high performance teams across Australia, South East Asia, Japan and the Middle East, with Hong Kong becoming his fourteenth international posting and one that he proudly now calls his second home.
A native of Queensland in Australia, he is a proud father of three children himself, now sharing his passion for leadership with the 350 pirates in Pirata Group. He takes pride in helping them to care for each other, so that they can then truly care for our guests. Responsible ultimately for creating and delivering extraordinary memorable guest experiences, you will see Michael passionately engaging with our team members and our guests in our restaurants each and every day. He is the one to call if you have an experience that wasn’t truly memorable.
When not moving from restaurant to restaurant, you may see Michael running along the Morning Trial, soaking up a little sun with a good book or seeking out vintage wine to add to his collection.
Pirata Group | Chief People Officer
Originally from Australia, Rob is a highly seasoned HR professional with extensive global experience, particularly in the areas of Employee Relations, Learning and Development and high volume Recruitment. Having worked for multinational hospitality groups in Singapore, Vietnam and afar for decades, Rob’s other professional strengths include introducing HR “Best Practice” into organisations, from online recruitment platforms, online induction and compliance, and workforce management systems, which all focus on improving company profitability. A down to earth, flexible and commercially focused HR professional who balances the practical with ‘big picture’ strategies , Rob brings tremendous value to Pirata Group through a straightforward, honest approach to Human Resources issues, balancing the goals of the company with the needs of its pirates.
Pirata Group | Director of Marketing & Communications
James drives Pirata Group’s high-performing Marketing team. Launching head-turning, responsive and high impact campaigns through some of the most challenging times for the F&B industry has cemented Pirata Group’s presence as an innovator and champion of unconditional hospitality.
James is a seasoned Digital Marketer, having launched award-winning apps in his previous roles with South China Morning Post and global lifestyle perks brand, The ENTERTAINER. In 2012 he nabbed a Gourmand World Cookbook Award for ‘Multisensory Mixology,’ co-authored with Antonio Lai.
Pirata Group | Chief Financial Officer
Ludivine Barre is the Chief Financial Officer of Pirata Group, where she oversees the financial, legal and administrative department for the group. A global finance leader with decades’ experience across APAC and Europe in retail, luxury, fmcg, travel and tech sectors, Ludivine brings her hands-on expertise across all areas of financial management and change transformation to the Group.
Pirata Group | Japanese Corporate Chef
Dan Segall has helped set the stage for some of the most respected restaurants in Asia. In 2006 he was tapped to open Rainer Becker’s London-based Zuma in Hong Kong, widely acclaimed as one of the best restaurants in Asia. Then in 2008, Segall went back to China to open M1NT Shanghai, a modern day members club, which instantly topped the charts as one of Shanghai elite’s favorite eateries. From there, Dan ventured to Singapore to open KU DE TA and then to serve as Group Executive Chef for Refinery Concepts, overseeing 6 brands, 10 outlets and 70 chefs, before becoming the International Development Chef of Pizza Express across Asia. Throughout his distinguished career, he has received a countless string of accolades from landing himself on Conde Nast Traveler’s coveted Hot List to San Pellegrino’s prestigious “50 Best Restaurants in the World”
A creative chef with a keen understanding of restaurant financials and a talent for successful new openings. With a career spanning three decades, Dan brings a wealth and variety of experience to the Pirata Group as he guides the Japanese culinary offerings.
Pirata Group | Corporate Chef
Andrea’s love for cooking began in Turin at a very young age with a passionate love for the nature of fresh ingredients. Shunning traditional culinary school in favour of real-life experience, Andrea began his professional career cooking in and around Turin at the age of sixteen, focusing predominantly on cuisine from the Piedmont region.
Before long, he opened his own place – part restaurant, part bookshop. After a successful and exciting experience in Italy, he felt the pull of opportunities and unexplored lands. In 2014, he moved to Hong Kong to help Pirata Group launch a new pasta bar concept. Bringing his vast experience to Pici, The Pizza Project and Italian concepts, Andrea lights up the kitchen with his fresh approach and warm energy.
Pirata Group | Peruvian Culinary Director
Hailing from Peru, Chef Arturo’s love of cooking began at an early age when he spent his days with his Grandmother helping her around the kitchen.
With a passion for the complexities and multiculturalism of Peruvian cuisine, Arturo was eager to bring the country’s unique recipes, flavours and culture to the world.His travels have brought him to South Africa, Hong Hong, Singapore and finally back to Hong Kong again where he has helmed the kitchen at TokyoLima since March 2017. In 2019, he was made Peruvian Culinary Director at Pirata Group and has since implemented a new dynamic menu at Chifa.
Arturo respects the traditional techniques and history behind each recipe, adding his own personal flair for food that makes each dish unforgettable.
Pirata Group | Executive Chef
Destined for life in the kitchen, Davide spent much of his childhood in a family-run restaurant in his hometown, Treviso, Italy. His passion for Italian food grew alongside his dedication to bring his country’s delicious flavours to the rest of the world. Davide respects traditional techniques and the history behind each dish he creates, as he adds his own spin to keep guests coming back for more.
Having graduated from the Culinary and Hospitality Institute ‘Giuseppe Maffioli’, Davide worked in multiple restaurants in Italy and Dubai before moving to Hong Kong for his next adventure. His role at Pici and The Pizza Project ensures Davide can showcase the culinary fundamentals that he gleaned from his international experience, enabling him to cook with the integrity and honesty that has been passed on through generations.
Chaiwala | Executive Chef
Chef Prabir Banerjee was born and raised in India with a passion for food instilled in him following years of exploring new flavours and ingredients. With more than 18 years of experience in the culinary arts, Chef Prabir is a veteran chef with a unique perspective on food.
Through experience gained at celebrated establishments in Bangalore and formal training from the Vidyasagar Institute of Hotel Management in West Bengal, Chef Prabir has spent immense effort and time honing his craft. He possesses top-notch skills in managing talented teams, sourcing top-quality produce and ensuring smooth operations within the kitchen. With a flair for experimentation and innovation, Chef Prabir never fails to impress with delectable dishes plated beautifully. Specializing in Indian cuisine, Chef Prabir has also had a hand in crafting menus showcasing dishes from various global cuisine types. As a part of the Pirata Group team, Chef Prabir injects a creative ingenuity into the dishes at Chaiwala, a modern Indian restaurant located in the heart of Central.
Pirata | Executive Chef
Hailing originally from Piedmont, Northern Italy, Chef Emanuele Canuto’s genuine passion for cuisine was sparked from a young age, influenced by his family and particularly his grandmother.
Chef Canuto began his international culinary career from the age of 17 and has spent over 15 years honing his craft across a number of Michelin starred restaurants in England, Italy, Australian and Switzerland before settling in Hangzhou, China as the Head Instructor of the Chefinary International Culinary School in 2017. With deep experience and a traditional philosophy of using the freshest market-ready ingredients, Emanuele now brings his Italian culinary passion to Pirata.
A keen traveler and action sports fan, when Emanuele is not cooking up Italian delights and leading the team in the kitchen, you can find him snowboarding, scuba diving or more likely just cruising around on his motorbike.
Honjo | Executive Chef
Leading the culinary team at modern Japanese restaurant Honjo, Stephan is a chef with more than 10 years experience in high end kitchens across both international, Asian and Peruvian cuisines. A creative in the kitchen, Stephan is constantly creating new and exciting dishes using local products, putting his unique twist and interpretation on contemporary dishes. A South African who relishes new challenges and high pressure environments, Stephan brings out the best in his team in delivering extraordianry memorable experiences. For him, food is love.
Pici | Executive Chef
Hailing originally from Venice, Italy, Tommaso is an experienced executive chef with 14 years of culinary experience in banqueting, menu development, and back of house management with strong leadership and team-building capabilities. Integral to the ongoing success of Pici in Hong Kong, Tommaso is enthusiastic and eager to contribute to team’s success through hard work, attention to detail and excellent organisation skills. Having worked for a Michelin 2-star restaurant in Milan, Italy at the start of his culinary career before moving to Asia to lead kitchens at some quality establishments in Hong Kong has contributed to Tomasso’s extensive background in designing and implementing Italian gastronomy through menu items in fast-paced, high-pressured environments. Key for Pici, Tomasso delivers exceptional performance working under pressure without compromising quality of the dishes for the guest.
Pirata Group | Director of Operations
Passionate about hospitality since a young age, General Manager Antonino Assenzo is keen to develop and offer new exceptional dining experience to all of Pirata Group’s guests. Born and raised in Sicily, he started travelling around Italy soon after his Catering and Tourism vocational school graduation to gain experience in hotels and restaurants. He later moved to the UK to expand his knowledge and skills at international level.
In London, Antonino built his career working for the restaurants at renowned art galleries and cultural hubs, such as the Tate Modern and the National Gallery. Over a 10-year long experience, he had the opportunity to learn about British and worldwide cuisines, F&B UK regulations, and to understand the key ways to provide the best customer service to local Londoners and tourists. He developed his strong leadership and people skills at work, as well as during his Hospitality Management Degree studies at University of West London.
Antonino’s desire to take on new challenges and explore into the industry led him to experience the fine dining world whilst working at the Hakkasan Group. His last adventure before moving to Hong Kong was at a Brazilian Nikkei restaurant. Antonino he is super excited to lead three Pirata Group brands to success, always with passion, a bit of fun, and high professionalism.
Pirata Group | Development Director
Originally from France, Gil started his career in the food & beverage industry in London at the age of 20 years old. He developed his craft through experiencing some of London’s top hot spots such as Momo by Mourad Mazouz (Sketch). Gil worked his way into management within the D&D group, looking after Floridita, a 250 seater vibrant live music venue in Soho. Throughout his time with D&D, Gil was also entrusted with the opening of Floridita Madrid (Spain).
Gil diversified his skills through integrating the events team at the 5stars Soho Hotel (Firmdale) and specialised in luxury events design & production for several years with prestigious boutique events specialist Bespoke London. Creative by nature, Gil also established Unico UK & Cyprus in 2018, specialising in modern marketing tools for the hospitality, tourism & property development sector.
Gil joined Pirata Group in HK in 2019 focusing primarily on the flagship outlet Pirata as well as the group’s second restaurant The Optimist, and now he heads of development of all new future restaurants, both in Hong Kong and abroad.
Pirata Group | Director of Operations
With 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Paul Franklin excels in leading restaurant and bar teams. Through meaningful staff training, Paul focuses on equipping his team for success. Under his mentorship, each team member’s personal skills are identified, established and fully utilised, ensuring the success of the outlet.
Throughout his illustrious career, Paul has gained experience at celebrated establishments and restaurant groups in London – All Star Lanes, Peyote Restaurants, Rail House Café and Yosma London to name a few. He spearheaded restaurant launches and showed his expertise in operations through path implementation, site recruitment, goal measurement, and design and execution of operating procedures.
A motivational and engaging individual, Paul has led numerous teams of excellent staff who not only work tirelessly towards building the restaurant brand, but who do so with a smile on their faces.
Paul was brought to Hong Kong in 2019 to helm the capable restaurant teams at Honjo and TMK, two of Pirata Group’s Japanese inspired establishments in Sheung Wan. Constantly up to tackle any challenge that comes his way, Paul took both restaurants’ launches in stride with astute observations, creative solutions and a positive approach towards handling each and every situation.
As Multi-Site Director of Operations for Pirata Group, Paul works with his team to display fierce dedication towards providing unparalleled hospitality to guests at all new Pirata Group reservation concept venues.
Pirata Group | Finance Manager
Pirata Group | Director of Operations
Justin’s life motto is #maximumeffort. He is an enthusiastic Hongkongee who injects his positive vibes into everyone he meets. After studying Screen Acting for Film, Justin decided to swap the stage for the hospitality industry. Moving his way his way up, he spent years with an international restaurant brand opening branches in both Hong Kong & Taiwan.
Touched by a fantastic dining experience as a guest at Pirata, Justin proceeded to enter the world of Pirata Group, joining the force as a Training Manager before becoming the Multi-Site General Manager for all Pici Pasta Bar restaurants on the Kowloon side. Bouncing around with a big smile, Justin can be found infusing the team with energy to work towards legendary hospitality.
Paul van Rotterdam
Pirata Group | L&D Manager
Living most of his life in Amsterdam, Paul made the move to Hong Kong in January 2017. With a background in education, training and sales, combined with a passion for cooking and beer, the move to the F&B industry was a comfortable pick.
Being the opening manager of a restaurant in Hong Kong gave him a lot of experience and insights into how the industry works in Hong Kong.
Having had the pleasure to try some Pirata Group venues and thoroughly enjoying the overall experiences, it was clear that he wanted to join the team.
Pirata Group | General Manager
Passionate about hospitality from a young age, General Manager Daniel Piccoli is keen to develop and offer exceptional new dining experience to all Pirata guests. Born and raised in Piemonte, he started travelling soon after his graduation from The Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland to gain experience in hotels and restaurants around the world.
Daniel’s career has included working with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts across four countries from North America to Asia, and has included serving alongside renowned Michelin stars chefs through which he has had the opportunity to learn a melting pot of new cuisines and cultures. His passion on take new challenges and explore the industry led him to experience the fine dining world whilst opening restaurants in Vietnam with the 3 star Michelin chefs Pourcel brothers. His last adventure before moving to Hong Kong was in Bali working for the Jumeriah Group and Hotel. Daniel he is super excited to lead the Pirata Group Flagship brands to success, always with passion, a bit of fun, and a high level of professionalism.
Pane e Latte | General Manager
A highly experienced general manager and hospitality professional with over 20 years time spent running hotels, restaurants and more across the UK, Andrew now guides the team at Pirata Group’s standout bakery concept: Pane e Latte. Bringing his positive attitude and diligence for detail and team-building to the fore everyday, Andrew makes the thousands of guests coming to Stanley every week feel truly well taken care of.
Pici | Director of Operations
Serving as a Director of Operations for Pici’s Kowloon-side outlets at present, Daphne is a highly experienced multi-site manager with a demonstrated history of working in the hospitality industry across the United Kingdom, ranging from Italian to American cuisine. Hailing from Italy originally, Daphne began her career as a professional volleyball player before graduating with a First Class Honors degree in Business Psychology from the University of Greenwich. From there Daphne became passionate about Food & Beverage and delivering exceptional guest experience with business resolve, overcoming challenges and driving her teams to succeed to the highest standard to this very day.
The Sixteenth | General Manager
A highly experienced general manager serving exciting hotel and restaurant projects across Europe and Asia, Charles now manages the front of house teams for Pirata Group’s largest venue to date, the multi-site concept, The Sixteenth in Taikoo Place.
Pirata Group | Restaurant Manager
Originally from Germany, Robert grew up in a small village next to Dresden in Saxony, the smallest wine region in the country. His passion for hospitality started at the age of 14 when he began helping his Dad in a local hotel, serving breakfast and lunch on the weekends. After deciding to pursue a career in the food and beverage industry, he furthered his education to hone in on his craft at the Westin Dresden. This was followed by a move to London where he spent four and a half years working in a French restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental.
Working for the Mandarin Oriental sparked his interest and curiosity of Asian culture. Therefore, his next career move was an obvious choice and he was determined to transition into the F&B industry in Asia. In 2015 he moved to Hong Kong and was part of the opening team for The Fat Pig, followed by a two and a half year long stint in the small but well established 22 Ships.
Having had experience working with both French and Spanish cuisines, he wanted to challenge himself and explore a different area so he came on board at Pirata in January of 2020. He brings to Pirata his expertise in handling both larger sized restaurants and fast paced environments, making him a great asset to the group.
Pici | General Manager
From Venice, Italy, Leonardo’s dream as a typical Italian kid was to become a professional football player. At one point Leonardo was very close to making it a permanent career, however after high school he decided to leave Italy for London. His aim was to learn English so he began working in a coffee shop. It was then that he realised how much he enjoyed the hospitality industry and that he should pursue a career in that direction. He then had the opportunity to join a high-end restaurant, Quaglino’s, and work with excellent professionals with years of experience.
After 4 years in London, Leonardo decided to move to Ibiza in Spain to join the famous Nikki Beach, one of the best known hospitality groups in the world. He spent 3 years with them training and improving his skills in managing restaurants in Ibiza, Dubai and Barcelona.
After his last summer in Ibiza, Leonardo decided to go back to London where he rejoined the team at Quaglino’s. Looking to broaden his F&B horizons, Leonardo made the decision to move to Asia for more opportunities after meeting Manuel Palacio in London, as he believed it would be a great platform for learning and to develop a deeper focus on “people”, one of Pirata Group’s core values. Leonardo is now leading Tsim Sha Tsui team as the restaurant manager and hoping to give more memorable experiences to his beloved guests.
Pirata Group | Reservations & Events Manager
Angeline is an experienced and diligent hospitality profession who has lead receptions and events teams for 5-star hotels and restaurants across China and Hong Kong. Now guiding the reservation and large event bookings for Pirata Group, principally for The Sixteenth in Quarry Bay, Angie delights guests from the first point of contact through to event execution with her sterling service standard, attention to detail, and positive and uplifting personality.
Pirata Group | Art Director
Norton, a Senior Art and Creative Director from Paris, has been passionate about art and creativity since his childhood. Art direction and design came naturally to him while growing up. Ever since he purchased his first computer, Norton has been designing graphics and other pieces of art, as both a hobby and part of his work. As an action sport and BMX rider, he decided to start a clothing brand called LOGO CLOTHING to organise a trip for him and his team across Europe. This very first experience with design and computers pushed him to go further. Having had this experience made him realise that visual communication and design was going to be his career.
After 5 years of studying communication and design in Paris, he had the pleasure of working for many prestigious brands such as Melco Resorts, Armani, Dior, Lalique, Elie Saab, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Mumm, Nike, Adidas, PSG, Lenovo, Publicis, Marcel, Heineken, and Lacoste. Norton resides and works in Asia mainly between Ho Chi Minh City and Hong Kong.
Pirata Group | Head of Interior Designer
Archie is an experienced designer with a passion for eye catching details, good food, and Italian wines. Having graduated from University of Arts London, she has worked with a variety of top international restaurant groups including Jamie Oliver, and the wildly successful Big Mamma group. Her previous projects include ‘Circolo Popolare’ – which was the most Instagrammed restaurant in London last year and has been described as ‘London’s most beautiful restaurant’ by CNN. When she’s not designing restaurants you’re most likely to find her cooking, kickboxing, or else eating or drinking in a restaurant. Having recently moved to Hong Kong she is extremely excited to get to know this fascinating city and to get stuck into the food scene here.
Pirata Group | Senior Interior Designer
British designer Jonny Moreland works passionately and creatively to deliver unique projects across the globe. Growing to play a leading role in his family’s Hong Kong based design firm, we curate brand experience and exhibitions for esteemed clients: notably HSBC’s global heritage, Kerry Hotels, URA Singapore and crazy tattoo parlours in Las Vegas.
Pirata Group | Head of Talent Aquisition
A highly experienced HR professional, John serves as Head of Talent Acquisition for Pirata Group, driving the company’s strategy for executive and management level recruitment.
Pirata Group | Talent Acquisition Officer
Pirata Group | Human Resources Administration Manager
Born in South Korea and raised in Hong Kong, Joon studied in New York, and worked in Human Resources at a Fast Casual restaurant group called The Halal Guys.
Returning to Hong Kong, he joined Pirata Group in HK in the Talent Acquisition team, providing Extraordinary, Memorable Candidate Experiences. He then moved towards HR Administration, helping to set up systems and maintain records.
Pirata Group | Head of Digital Marketing
Pirata Group | Assistant Marketing Manager
A quick-thinking, fast-rising star in marketing and social media, Orla has occupied many roles across Pirata Group’s diverse restaurant communications and guest services eco-system, all leading to excellent results while keeping a wide smile on her face. A Hong Kong kid with her finger on the pulse of the city, a keen eye, and masterful copywriting, Orla is responsible for delivering many of the marketing campaigns and seasonal promotions that attract guests to our restaurants. From ideation to execution, she brings together teams to make the impossible possible. Go Orla Go!
Pirata Group | Marketing Executive and Graphic Designer
A gifted visual communicator and marketer, Sylvana creates and designs all the in-store collateral, digital graphics and promotions for Pirata Group. Hailing from Colombia with experience across the Americas and Asia, Sylvana brings her worldly experience and detail-minded illustrative skill to the company every day. You can tell Sylvana’s work because every detail is memorable and truly pops.