Meet the Team

Christian Talpo

Pirata Group | Co-founder

From a small town in the North of Italy, Christian Talpo stepped into the hospitality business working in a hotel with foreign guests that sparked a new-found love of travel, service and languages. With passion and determination, he has garnered over 25 years of experience in the F&B industry, successfully heading up project operations for the Aqua Restaurant Group as well as managing Zuma in Central, and the flagship operations for Gaia Group.   Christian’s adventurous spirit has taken him further than the boundaries of the ordinary businessman, with his morals and virtues evident in everything he is involved with. Christian loves food above all else and has an intrinsic understanding of diverse cultures and their cuisines. His career has seen him head the teams of restaurants ranging from modern-Chinese, Sichuan, Japanese, Spanish, French and Italian.

Manuel Palacio

Pirata Group | Co-founder

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.

Clarine Wong

Pirata Group | Human Resources Director

As Human Resources Director, Clarine takes care of Pirata Group’s over 300 staff. She works tirelessly through the  recruitment process and ensures that each team member feels at home within the Group.

Michael Marlay

Pirata Group | Chief Operating Officer

Managing all aspects of restaurant operations, Michael leads a team of capable managers who make sure that the Group’s restaurants run smoothly and efficiently.

Nacho Lopez

Pirata Group | Pici Operations Manager

With a friendly charm and people-loving personality, Pici’s Operations Manager Nacho Lopez ensures every diner feels at home. Starting his career in London, Nacho’s passion for all things hospitality grew after the successful opening the new dining concept Bilbao Berria. After working with popular Argentinian restaurant Gaucho, he was moved to Hong Kong to lead and train the new restaurant team.


In Hong Kong, he enjoys soaking up the hustle and bustle of the city and delving into the city’s lively food scene. When he’s not busy running the floor at Pici, he spends his time working on his other passion, cooking. A true connoisseur and gastronome, Nacho is textbook for all things food and wine.

Matthew Hosker

Pirata Group | Group Development Chef

Operations Chef Matthew Hosker’s exploratory nature was always certain to take him further afield than his routes in the kitchens of London. After his first taste of kitchen life at the age of 14, he embarked on a culinary journey that has taken him from London through Australia, the USA, Switzerland, Kenya, The British Virgin Islands and on to Hong Kong.

Now heading up the kitchen operations for Pirata Group. Matthew’s belief is that a chef’s time should be focused in the kitchen and proves time and again that simple organisation and efficiency leads to quality. His support to Pirata Groups chefs focuses on reducing the time spent on tasks that distract chefs from what they do best; creating exquisite food to serve to our guests.

Arturo Melendez

Pirata Group | Peruvian Culinary Director

Hailing from Peru, Chef Arturo’s love of cooking began early 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 Arturo to South Africa, Hong Hong, Singapore and finally back to Hong Kong 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 is unforgettable.

Andrea Viglione

Pirata Group | Pici Corporate Chef

Andrea’s passion 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, Andrea lightens the kitchen with his fresh approach and warm energy.

Sophie Griffiths

Pirata Group | Head of Guest Relations

As Head of Guest Relations for Pirata Group, Sophie leads the restaurant reception and events teams. Reflecting the Group’s philosophy, she sets the standards for guest experiences and guides her team on how to offer amazing service.

Joe Fraser

Pirata Group | Head of Training

With over 10 years of hospitality experience, including management, training and openings, Joe moved from the UK to Hong Kong to head up the Training & Development team in early 2019.

His department ensures our newest team members are given the best start in their roles with Pirata Group, as well as challenging and developing the practice of our established teams.

Joe’s team are integral to our restaurant openings, from pre-opening training to overseeing concepts in their infancy, they provide a strong foundation from which our projects can flourish.

Justin Tang

Pirata Group | Training Manager

#maximumeffort, the life motto of Justin. An enthusiastic Hongkongee who injects his positive vibes into everyone.
After studying Screen Acting for Film, Justin decided to swap the stage for the hospitality industry. Striving his way up, he spent years with an international restaurant brand, opening branches in Hong Kong & Taiwan.
Touched by a fantastic dining experience as a guest at Pirata restaurant, Justin proceeded to enter the world of Pirata Group,  joining the force as a Training Manager. 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 | Training 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.

Christina Tang

Pirata Group | Head of Marketing

Christina leads Pirata Group’s Marketing team by planning and managing restaurants campaigns. Using her experience from working in the F&B industry, she strategically spearheads promotional plans.

Joanna Lit

Pirata Group | Public Relations Manager

With past agency experience, Joanna helms the Communications team by promoting Pirata Group’s restaurants in Hong Kong and internationally. She handling media relationships and creates internal communications procedures for the Group.

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