Claudio Liu


Born in 1982 in China, in the Zhejiang region of China, he spent his childhood in Correggio, in the Italian region of Emilia. At 18 he moved to Milan and started to work, alongside his father Xue Zhen, in the restaurant Acquario. Deep down he started to develop an almost religious admiration for Japanese cuisine and its traditional cult for high-quality ingredients. In 2007, at the age of 24, Claudio opened IYO, the first contemporary Japanese restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in Italy. But the dream wasn’t over yet, in 2019 in the heart of the Porta Nuova area he opened the traditional sushi counter IYO Omakase and the boundless cuisine restaurant AALTO, awarded a Michelin star by the 2021 edition of the Guide. Most of all, three concepts drive him: commitment, passion and determination.

Giampiero Brotzu

Head chef

Born in Nuoro in 1992, Giampiero is the Sardinian soul and spirit of the restaurant. Forged by the long summer seasons, those in which it’s either “you make it or you don’t”, began his career in 2014 in Parma with Michelin-starred chef Marco Parizzi and then landed in Milan, at first as a sous chef at Garage Italia by Carlo Cracco and then at IYO. Here he encountered the fine art and culture of Japanese cuisine, discovering the many things they share: a profound respect for the sea and for the raw material sourced from Sardinia. In 2020 he became Head chef alongside sushi chef Katsumi Soga.

Katsumi Soga

Sushi Chef

Born in 1975, he’s from Shizuoka prefecture, on the slopes of Mount Fuji. Devoted to cooking, he attended the renowned ‘Tsuri Culinary Institute’ in Osaka, trained as sushi chef and became food & beverage manager in a Tokyo restaurant. In 1996, thanks to his friendship with a fellow Italian owner of a pizza parlour nearby, he moved to Italy, where he began his career at Royal Hotel Carlton, in Bologna. In 2008 he started working at Armani Nobu in Milan and since then he collected a number of significant experiences in first class-restaurants such as Kiyo, Sushi B and The Fischer. The highlight of his career it’s in 2020, when Claudio Liu grants him full responsibility of the sushi counter at IYO.

Luca De Santi

Pastry Chef

Unconventional just enough, Luca is a familiar face among the Italian pastry world. After the first experiences in Vicenza, he worked in restaurants, pastry shops and deluxe hotels. In 2002 he joined the kitchen of the three-starred Gualtiero Marchesi at L’Albereta, then in 2005 he became pastry chef at Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence before moving permanently to Milan. He worked at the luxury food emporium Peck, then in the “rock’n’roll” restaurant and burger bar Al Mercato, and spent years alongside Cesare Battisti at Ratanà restaurant. Thanks to his multifaceted background and a strong curiosity, in 2020 he accepted Claudio Liu’s challenge to create for IYO an haute patisserie experience that blends French technique, Japanese flavors and ingredients and Italian sensibility.

Danilo Tacconi

Maître e sommelier

Born in Pavia in 1972, Danilo has pursued a superb educational path: after obtaining a Diploma in hospitality in Stresa, he became AIS sommelier and, soon after, a sake sommelier. He was in charge of the restaurant, service and beverage at his own family business until he joined IYO in 2015. Profoundly passionate about Burgundy, he travels there several times a year, returning each time with an ever-more comprehensive knowledge. With guests, he prefers dialogue to imposition, but if you say “you choose”, he will indulge in recommending many wonderful wine labels.

Nathalie Communod

Communication & PR Manager

Born in Aosta in 1984, Nathalie moved to Milan to study Communication at IULM, University of Languages and Communication. After graduating, she chose to apply her newly-gained knowledge to the spheres of Food & Travel as well as Cultural Heritage. In 2018 she met Claudio Liu who radically threw her into fine dining. She was immediately intrigued by this world and applied her usual enthusiastic approach to this new role. Since 2019, she has overseen and coordinated all communication and PR activities of IYO, AALTO and IYO Omakase. Meticulous and well organized, she never lets go until the results have been reached.