“I have seen many changes while being with the group – I take these moments with me to ensure that I and the teams I work with are challenged & inspired to push new boundaries.”
Michelle Hunt has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has been an integral part of the Hakkasan Group DNA since 2002, which was the year she met Alan Yau, founder of Hakkasan. She held roles at Busaba Eathai, another Alan Yau restaurant, in both design and product quality. Eventually, she went on to successfully open two further Busaba restaurants as General Manager on Store Street and Bird Street in London.
Michelle joined Michelin-starred restaurant Yauatcha Soho in 2006. From there she worked at different Hakkasan Group restaurants, later joining Hakkasan Hanway Place, Hakkasan Mayfair, Sake no Hana London, and eventually overseeing all restaurants in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia in an operational role.
In October 2017, Michelle stepped into the position of Vice President of Brand – Hakkasan and Yauatcha. In this role, she oversees both brands globally, ensuring their continued success and driving all operations forwards in a consistent, sustainable and strategic manner.
Q: What originally attracted you to Hakkasan Group?
A: My original and undying passion is for hotels, from looking & considering all the guest touch points to seeing how the operation works in the back corridors. But hotel restaurant dining is where I started. Eventually there were only so many breakfast shifts, banqueting lunches followed by slow dinner shifts that one could manage. I needed something different—a challenge, a stand alone restaurant operation that inspires guests to continually return.
Q: Why do you like working at Hakkasan Group?
A: The guest experience, every detail every action, every bite or sip. I love that a team of talented individuals strive to immerse themselves to ensure we deliver an experience each day. We have a huge amount of passion and we will all go the extra mile to ensure our guests return. We consider every element and this is what drives me to deliver each day.
Q: What is your favorite Hakkasan Group venue and why?
A: This is a challenging one, as I generally tie my favorite things to good memories.
Yauatcha Soho gave me a family. Hakkasan Mayfair was when I embraced the elegance & glamor of Hakkasan, I loved slipping into my heels and walking into the energy of the Ling Ling lounge, located on the Ground Floor. I love the view across the Bund in Hakkasan Shanghai and then the outdoor dining in Ling Ling Mykonos. Moving across the Atlantic, I discovered the tall carved doors in Hakkasan Miami. The detailing in this venue reminds me of my time with Alan Yau.
But with all this in mind, I will not turn down an invite to Omnia or Hakkasan Nightclub. The creative design of Omnia’s chandelier and now the grid at Hakkasan Nightclub is sensational.
Q: What is your most memorable Hakkasan Group moment?
A: I have been lucky enough to travel and work closely with most team across the globe but one thing that sticks in mind and showcases true team spirit is when the patisserie team made me a Michael Kors handbag out of cake. It was massive – myself & the team were eating cake for days.