MEET THE KITCHEN ON FIRE CHEFS
Kitchen on Fire offers hands-on cooking experiences in Berkeley, Oakland and virtually anywhere. Since 2005, Chef Olive and professional chef instructors have been sharing their knowledge and love for cooking through public classes, team-building and corporate wellness events cooking recipes made with high quality ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Lisa Miller teaches classes with a nutrition focus, promoting healthy living.
Meet our team below!
Chef Olivier (“Olive”) Said is the founder and co-owner of Kitchen on Fire and one of the East Bay’s most popular culinary personalities. Chef Olive teaches many of the Kitchen on Fire classes, leads team-building and private events, and is also a Nutrition Professional.
Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. One of the East Bay’s popular culinary personalities, Olivier Said is the co-founder of the acclaimed KITCHEN ON FIRE cooking school, located two doors away from Alice Waters’ landmark Chez Panisse Restaurant in the heart of Berkeley’s culinary district in North Berkeley.
Prior to opening KoF in March 2006, Olivier Said spent eight years as an owner and bar manager for Berkeley’s popular Cesar Tapas Bar. He has also co-authored three books – CESAR: Recipes from a Tapas Bar, named one of the Top 10 Cookbooks of 2003 by Food & Wine magazine, THE BAR: A Spirited Guide to Cocktail Alchemy and the last, Kitchen on Fire: Mastering the Art of Cooking in 12 Weeks (or Less)
Born and raised in France, he is the descendant of at least five generations of restaurateurs dating back to the early 1750s in France. Said began his career at the age of 15 in his mother’s Paris restaurant. He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1980s and worked at Ken Frank’s La Toque, one of the first restaurants in the country to feature California nouvelle cuisine. In 1987, Said returned to Paris and opened his own restaurant, the very popular Texas Coyote, which included three sprawling bars and a night club. It had frequent reviews in the press such as Gault Millau, Vogue, Le Point, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Monde, Paris Capital magazine, Liberation and Marie Claire. Olivier Said was a regular guest host on the number two national radio station in France, Skyrock, live from his restaurant.
“I have been a record producer, a pilot, a photographer, an artist, a cookbook author and an immigrant. My experience has spanned 3 countries on 2 continents in at least 3 languages. Despite the various detours along the way, it has been restaurants and the restaurant business that have sustained me and brought me my greatest joy and success. Restaurants have fed me, taught me, borne me up through times of trouble, and kept me humble in times of excess. I suppose you could say I have the restaurant business in my blood, or maybe it’s just all that accumulated fat and wine. For better or worse it has brought me to where I am today, in a cooking school. But as a Chinese person once told me in a fortune cookie (I don’t remember who he was but I remember the menu), ‘The journey is the reward’, that pretty much sums up my life.” – Chef Olive
After returning to the States in the late 1990s, he joined the management team at Berkeley’s Cesar Tapas Bar, founded by three Chez Panisse alumni. The restaurant was an instant hit with both Berkeley food lovers and restaurant critics who raved about its unique Spanish-inspired menu and world-class wine-and-spirits list. The San Francisco Food Lover’s Guide hailed it as “one of the greatest bars in the world in terms of quality of spirits, selection, and mixology.” Among other accolades, it was voted one of the best restaurants in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle for eight years in a row, and featured in such national publications as Gourmet magazine.
After 37 years in the food business, Chef Olive decided it was time to share his vast culinary knowledge. After opening Kitchen on Fire in 2006, he enjoys teaching eager students, as well as giving back to the community. He regularly volunteers with such organizations as 18 Reasons’ Cooking Matters, St. Vincent de Paul’s Kitchen of Champions and more recently, the Bread Project, helping teaching recent immigrants to become bakers.
LISA MICHELLE MILLER, BS, NC
Lisa Miller is co-owner of Kitchen on Fire and a Nutrition Consultant and member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. Lisa graduated with honors and earned a certification in Nutrition Consulting from the state licensed Bauman College, College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Berkeley, California.
LISA MICHELLE MILLER, BS, NC
Lisa Michelle Miller is a Nutrition Consultant and a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (nanp.org). She graduated with honors and earned certification in Nutrition Consulting from the state-licensed Bauman College, in Berkeley, California.
Lisa is the co-owner, Nutrition Program Director and instructor of nutrition and cooking classes at Kitchen on Fire. Lisa also has a private nutrition practice in the San Francisco East Bay, Ocean View Nutrition.
Lisa has a Bachelor of Science degree, with experience in health care, agriculture and consumer products along with years of personnel training and development.
Spending time with her grandparents on their farm as a youth, Lisa learned the value in making bread starting with home grown grains, and picking vegetables from their garden just in time for dinner. She came to understand the fundamental role that nutrients have on our bodies, and knew nutrition and wellness were her true calling.
As a lifelong athlete, and as a triathlete, she has used her nutrition knowledge to optimize performance and overall wellness. Lisa balances her passion for nutrition and cooking with biking, hiking, running, yoga, skiing, kayaking and spending time with friends and family.
Lisa’s nutrition philosophy is based on healthy preparation of an organic whole food diet, tailored to the needs and goals of each individual. For Lisa, nutrition has always been a lifestyle, never a ‘diet’. She believes that quality nutrition combined with an active lifestyle and positive attitude can further enhance the health of a generally healthy person and help to prevent, minimize and eliminate potential health conditions.
MATTHEW (MAT) WERTLIEB
Chef Mat was trained at the Culinary Institute of America, has 15 years of fine dining experience in prominent restaurants in both San Francisco and the East Bay and has been an instructor at Kitchen on Fire since 2012.
Biggest influences: Chef Eric Ripert and Chef Norman Levitz
Favorite dish to cook: Rabbit Sugo
Specialty: Modern Italian/Californian
Favorite thing about teaching at Kitchen on Fire: Sharing cooking secrets and eating experiences with food enthusiasts. Talking about cuisines and culinary adventures with a wide range of students.
Chef’s popular classes at Kitchen on Fire:
- Couples Night in Florence
- Asian Fusion
- Fresh Pasta workshop
- Seasonal California
- Hot and Spicy Southern Cooking
- Couples Night in Rome
Growing up in a family full of chefs and kosher caterers in New Jersey, Chef Mat has felt at home in a kitchen since childhood.
He first fell in love with the unique culinary scene of the Bay Area while working an externship at One Market Restaurant in 2000.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, he spent a year and a half in Boston’s busiest restaurant, Grill 23, before the pull of Northern California’s food culture drew him back. He worked for 10 years at some of the most successful restaurants in San Francisco and Berkeley, including Lark Creek Inn, Farallon, Lalimes, and Gather.
Trips to Italy and Israel furthered his exposure and passion for the various cuisines of the world.