Our Team


– Executive Chef, Matthew Hosker –

With passion, dedication and 22 years of experience under his apron, seasoned Executive Chef Matthew Hosker is a true connoisseur of his craft. His deep understanding of culinary techniques and quality ingredients shines through in his dishes, from succulent steak seared to perfection to fresh seafood balanced with seasonal flavours.

Having spent time working across the world, Matthew’s experience has immersed him in global culinary scenes where he has learnt from different teachings and techniques. His culinary journey has taken him from London, Australia, the US, Switzerland, Kenya, to The British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong. His executive roles in prestigious establishments includes No. 14 Verbier in Switzerland. Matthew also opened Sir Richard Branson’s luxury safari camp “Mahali Mzuri” in the Kenyan bush and went on to spend two years cooking on his exclusive private island, “Necker Island” in the British Virgin Islands.

A stalwart member of The Optimist family, Matthew can be found in the kitchen with his sleeves rolled up carving a Txuleta steak, or by the asador grill charcoal grilling fresh, whole turbot.



– Bar Manager,  Sam Lebel –

With over 8 years of experience in the F&B industry, Sam is well-acquainted with the science of crafting a great cocktail. With his in-depth knowledge on everything from Gin to Vermouth, Sam’s touch and expertise can be found in the creative drink menus of Pirata and The Optimist.   

Having honed his mixology skills in his hometown Paris, Sam built his reputation as a top-notch bartender at premiere French establishments from l’Hotel des Bains in the south of France, famous for its wines, to Le SO in Paris.

Known for his creative concoctions and perfect pairings, Sam makes a mean espresso martini – a delicious combination of rum and amaretto exploding with raspberry, citrus and chocolate flavors. With a passion for experimentation, Sam brings his daring mixology skills to The Optimist and Pirata– putting Hong Kong on the global cocktail map.



– Founder, Christian Talpo –

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. His morals and virtues are evident in everything he is involved with. Christian loves food above all else: in his career he headed modern Chinese and Sichuan, Japanese, Spanish, French, international and of course Italian restaurants, developing an intrinsic love of these diverse cultures and their cuisines.



– Founder,  Manuel Palacio –

Manuel Palacio has a deep rooted passion for quality service. He began his career in hospitality at age 15 in Madrid before traveling 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 Privé.

Committed to providing a deeply personal yet approachable hospitality experience, Manuel together with Christian decided to open Pirata with a focus on exceptional service and traditional values. Now launching their second Hong Kong project with the same mind-set, The Optimist opening is set to be one of the major events of the season.