Daniel Olivella

Chef & Owner, Barlata Tapas Bar

Chef Daniel Olivella was born 1961 in Vilafranca del Penedes a small city in the outskirts of Barcelona. Vilafranca is best known for it’s famous wine region El Penedes. It is here where Daniel first fell in love as a young boy with the cuisine of his native Catolonia. At the age of seventeen Daniel left his hometown and headed toward the United States following his dream of becoming a saxophone jazz musician. He landed in Chicago, Illinois where he was warmly welcomed behind the stoves at his uncles restaurant “La Paella”.

Over the next ten years Daniel would study Jazz Sax at the Chicago Music Conservatory as well as gig at some of Chicago’s hottest Jazz Clubs, never relinquishing his job as a line chef in his uncle’s restaurant. It is during this period that Daniel’s focus would shift from music to food.

His experience working at La Paella made a huge impact on Daniel and at the age of twentyfour, he said goodbye to the frigid winters of Chicago and hello to the hills of San Francisco. It is here, that Chef Daniel Olivella, came into his own. Stops at trendy San Francisco eateries like, Zuni Cafe, Cafe Bastille and Zazie set the stage for his first big break, as Executive Chef of the newly opened Thirsty Bear Brewery and Tapas Bar. Thirsty Bear opened to rave reviews which continued over the next two years as Daniel received: 3 stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, Best New Restaurant from the San Francisco Magazine,. As well as international reviews from Gourmet and Bon Appetite, Sunset Magazine and Spanish newspapers: El Pais, El Mundo and El Periodico.

Daniel Olivella quickly jumped at the opportunity to open his own restaurant in San Francisco’s  business district. B44 opened its doors on Belden Lane in 1999 and quickly became the talk of the town. It received great revues from local food critics and has been bestowed various honors over the years including San Francisco’s Rising Star Chef of the Year and twice USA Today’s Top 20 best dishes in America. It continues to please diners as they crowd this downtown bistro to experience a little taste of Catalonia.

In 2007, Daniel Olivella continued his passion for food and opened Barlata Tapas Bar in Oakland, California. A fun place where locals can savor inventive and classical tapas served inside “latas” or food cans while enjoying a glass of Spanish wine.

In 2010 his family moved to Austin Tx. with the idea to raise the kids there. In 2012 he was able open Barlata Austin, where he surprised the Austinians with an extensive and creative Catalano-Mediterranean menu.

His book Catalan Food (penguin books) is due to come out on Spetember 4th 2018.

Daniel Olivella has had the privilege to participated in numerous seminars and retreats at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley as well as partake in their seminars. He has taught in various cooking schools: Central Market Texas, C.U.E.S.A. San Francisco, Macy’s San Francisco, Napa Valley College, University of Barcelona, Gloria Ferrer Winery in Sonoma and Copia in Napa Valley. He is also part of the faculty food research at the Center for Culinary Development in San Francisco and has been featured in several cooking television shows as well as radio broadcasting and magazines both in the United States and his native Spain.