Mactan Shangri-La's new Italian toque
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

Chef Gianfranco Pirrone joins the culinary team at Shangri-La Mactan’s Resort and Spa in Cebu City as
the latest member of the deluxe hotel’s Food and Beverage team; stationed in Acqua, the resort’s stylish Italian restaurant, as its Italian Chef.
Gianfranco Pirrone, known as Chef Franco, comes from the southern Italian region of Sicily, where he developed an appreciation for cooking with fresh, healthy ingredients. Growing up in a family of enthusiastic cooks, he quickly learned the family recipes and clearly remembers that one of his very first lessons was mastering the subtle art of seasoning.
It is from these early lessons that Chef Franco developed his culinary philosophy. He believes that no dish should taste ordinary and that a perfect balance of flavors should be achieved every time. He considers himself a “creative perfectionist,” drawing inspiration for new creations from ingredients on hand.
In the existing Acqua menu there are many dishes of my predecessor that are from North Italy. I will keep some of the best dishes and I will complement these with my dishes from South Italy because I want my guests to taste a full menu of Italy. I want to let them travel my country from North to South,” shared the Sicilian head toque.
The ingredients used in any Sicilian cuisine are typically rich in taste while remaining affordable to the general public. The savory dishes from the Sicilian region are viewed to be healthy, using fresh vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, artichokes, olives (including olive oil), citrus, apricots, aubergine, onions, beans, raisins and commonly coupled with sea food, freshly caught from the surrounding coastlines, which include tuna, sea bream, sea bass, cuttlefish, swordfish, and sardines; ingredients that can be easily sourced in a coastal city like Cebu.
Chef Franco is passionate about the experience of savoring food and delights in tailoring dishes to guest preferences. He looks forward to infusing Acqua’s menu of traditional Italian favorites with fresh Mediterranean influences, as well as introducing some of his own specialties.
“I have come out with my new menu and dishes from Sicily (where I am from) that will be highlighted here, together with Acqua’s current specials. I would like to say that I bring tradition and love with recipes and dishes shared by my family throughout many generations.
“I will try my best to have my team understand and appreciate the culture of Italy. I will let them travel around Italy by trying food in all different regions of my country. My menu has been proffered as part of the restaurants many options, and periodically I will present an Italian promotion featuring my signature dishes.”
Some of these signature dishes, that guests and diners can look forward to, include the creamy Risotto con Gamberi Profumato Allo Zafferano, that’s Arborio Rice with Saffron, Prawns and Parmesan; and the hearty Gamberoni Grigliati Alla Siciliana, a sumptuous plate of grilled tiger prawns in chili-garlic sauce served with mixed vegetables and roasted potatoes.
Prior to joining the Shangri-La family, Chef Franco served as the executive chef at a restaurant in Rome, as well as several hotels in Asia and the Pacific, including properties in Thailand, the Maldives and Myanmar. He began his culinary career in England and Scotland.
For inquiries and reservations, please contact Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu through tel. no. (+32) 231-8224, or simply e-mail,
Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and/or manages 80 hotels under the Shangri-La, Kerry and Traders brands with a room inventory of over 32,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, Canada, mainland China, Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the Philippines. The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in mainland China, India, Mongolia, Qatar, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and here in the Philippines. For more information and reservations, please contact a travel professional by accessing their Web site at


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