The team at The Optimist is peerless, having held positions in kitchens, bars and hospitality all over the world for many years. The team comes together at The Optimist to bring guests the ultimate dining experience. Expect great food, great drinks and exceptional service.
Celebrated Chef Jordi Valles hails from Barcelona, Spain. After spending his teenage years learning family styled cooking in restaurants run by his uncles, aunts, mother and father, Chef Jordi to forge a new path for himself as chef. Unlike his family members who specialized mainly in restaurant management, he decided to authenticate his experience in the kitchen by completing a degree in Tourism and Culinary Arts of Vall d’Hebron at the famed CETT University School of Hospitality Management.
After gaining experience within some of the best kitchens in Paris and Spain, Chef Jordi moved to Asia to expand his horizons, working first at Mare Nostrum Restaurant in Beijing and then at Paresa Resort in Phuket. Chef Jordi’s cuisine offers modern twists on old classics and showcases contemporary Mediterranean cooking at its finest. His openminded attitude and savoir faire in the kitchen have led him to be award with multiple awards over the past ten years. He now joins the Pirata Group team as the Executive Chef of The Optimist, a restaurant in Hong Kong that showcases Northern Spanish cuisine.
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, where he gets to express his passion for people management, business strategy and innovation.
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 The Optimist team as the restaurant manager and hoping to give more memorable experiences to his beloved guests.