Who We Are?


About Us

We create, identify and manage unique and original F&B concepts and opportunities across Asia with our head office in Hong Kong. Working with talented F&B professionals, our core expertise in an ability to collaborate with landowners in creating compelling F&B concepts that stand the test of time by maintaining relevance in the community.  

Our award winning portfolio includes La Rambla by Catalunya located in Hong Kong’s iconic IFC, Wagyumafia Yakinikumafia Hong Kong, the first international outposts of culinary sensation Hisato Hamada and.  The Diplomat, Best New Entry 2021 and voted on of the best bars in the world.

Driving our shop growth are multi-location brands Mortys (American Deli), Mashi no Mashi (Wagyu Ramen) and Elephant Grounds (Lifestyle Specialty Coffee).

In 2019, we established expanded our operations into mainland China with the opening of Elephant Grounds in Beijing (Sanlitun), Chengdu (Taikoo li) and Guangzhou (Taikoo Hui).  In early 2020, we opened our first international Mashi no Mashil location in Tokyo.

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Gerald Li


A proven operator with over 15 years of experience in food and beverage. Gerald’s keen eye for trends and strategic approach has armed him with an acute understanding of niche concepts. His entrepreneurial streak started in Hong Kong with the launch of Liberty Private Works, followed by one of the city’s most highly regarded bars, Central Liberty Exchange. Sensing market changes ahead, Gerald co-launched Elephant Grounds with Kevin Poon, which immediately appealed to a pivoting audience segment and laid strong foundations for Leading Nation’s expanding portfolio. In 2014, Gerald engaged the famed el Bulli team to create Spanish concept La Rambla (previously Catalunya), and more recently, he introduced WAGYUMAFIA to Hong Kong, partnering with chef-owner Hisato Hamada to lead the Tokyo-based brand’s international expansion.

Kevin Poon


Kevin doesn’t sit still. The multipreneur’s various interests place him at the heart of a scene in Hong Kong fixated on the latest concepts and breaking boundaries. As co-founder of fashion brand Clot, Juice, and District, he introduced many a man to the benefits of street wear, lifestyle oddities and urban culture. The founding of concept store Woaw! in Hong Kong led him into the world of food, when he converted a part of it into the first Elephant Grounds. Kevin is the creative guru for Leading Nation, lending his artistic eye and imagination to the Group’s branding strategy.

Ferran Tadeo


Executive Chef Ferran Tadeo brings his creativity and years of culinary innovation to La Rambla.

Born in Barcelona, Chef Ferran spent almost a decade under the tutelage of such Michelin-starred chefs as Ferran and Albert Adrià (el Bulli, Tickets) and Chef Sergi Arola (Arola). Mastering the nuances of Catalan cuisine, he opened El Nacional de Barcelona, currently the go-to destination for Spanish food in Barcelona.

Known for delivering brilliant flavours with a creative flair, Chef Ferran was recruited by award-winning chef José Andrés to work at his eponymous Minibar in Washington D.C. Hailed by critics as one of America’s most progressive restaurants; The Washington Post began its review with the heading: “If you want to taste the future, Minibar is the Place.

John Nugent


With a string of impressive accolades in his stride, John Nugent hails from Seattle and first appeared on the American bar scene at the age of 22. He trained extensively in the art of classic cocktails and recently oversaw the cocktail programme for Chef Albert Adria’s Asia pop-ups.

Recognized for his precision and passion, Nugent has won a number of prestigious competitions including Cocktail Wars and the Cognac Experience Cocktail Competition. He was also nominated Best Bartender in Hong Kong by Johnnie Walker and named Hospitality Ambassador of 2018 by Fever Tree.

Since moving to Hong Kong in 2017, and a fruitful tenure at Lily & Bloom, Nugent continues to bring his flair – a combination of worldly knowledge and bold techniques – to the local cocktail dialogue. Stay tuned for more information on The Diplomat.

We're Hiring

At Leading Nation, we are always on the lookout for talented individuals. If you are interested in joining us, please email your resumes: careers@leadingnation.com


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