The Garden of Eatin’ w/ Michael + Liz of Fiorelli Wood Fired Pizza

Michael Fiorelli and Liz Gutierrez of Fiorelli Wood Fired Pizza discuss the their journey from working in fine dining to raising captial for their own restaurant to choosing to pursue a unique stripped down wood fired pizza concept in an outdoor garden in Venice, California. They chat about the challenges and rewards of launching a small pizza operation, the importance of creating a positive kitchen culture, and how crafting an authentic brand story is key in a crowded LA food scene. Mike and Liz gear up for their official launch and share their plans for bringing their passion for great pizza and hospitality to the community.

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In This Episode

  • Mike and Liz’s Journey to Fiorelli Wood Fired Pizza
    • Raised funds to open a restaurant but felt powerless due to investor opinions
    • Decided to buy a wood-fired oven, panel it with pool tiles, and cook in a garden in Venice
    • Wanted to get back to cooking food they enjoy for people they like
  • Challenges and Benefits of Mobile Pizza Operations
    • Different challenges compared to restaurants (permitting, storage, etc.)
    • Allows them to do what they want authentically
    • Plans to eventually open a brick-and-mortar location in addition to the mobile oven
  • Creating an Inclusive and Respectful Kitchen Culture
    • Importance of treating all staff, regardless of gender, with respect and patience
    • Moving away from abusive and toxic behaviors that were common in the restaurant industry
    • Having a female HR partner helps create a more positive work environment
  • Crafting an Authentic Story and Brand
    • The story of cooking pizza in a secret garden with an eye-catching blue oven happened organically
    • In LA, having a rich, authentic origin story can be as important as the food quality
    • Staying true to the food and experience they want to provide rather than trying to please everyone
  • Gearing Up for Launch at the Cook’s Garden in Venice California
    • Permanent residency at the community garden, growing produce for bartenders and restaurants
    • Hosting friends and family event to celebrate, get the word out, and gauge logistics
    • Official public launch slated for March 29th weekend, with plans to operate Thursday-Sunday initially


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