Matt Kuhn - Executive Chef
Matt Kuhn’s restaurant career began at age 15, washing dishes at a small, family-owned Greek restaurant outside of Charleston, South Carolina. He next worked as a kitchen manager at The Gourmet Shop in Columbia, South Carolina while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2005, in restaurant management at the University of South Carolina. Following graduation, Kuhn accepted a position at the White Face Lodge in Lake Placid, New York, working his way up from chef de partie to chef tournant, and later to sous chef under the leadership of acclaimed Executive Chef Brian Moyers. Then in 2007, Kuhn returned to Charleston accepting a place in the kitchen to work at Fig. Kuhn was part of the culinary team in 2009 when Executive Chef Mike Lata captured his James Beard Award. At Fig he honed his French techniques and deepened his commitment to farm-to-table cooking.
In January 2015, Bajaj appointed Kuhn as executive chef of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group’s NOPA Kitchen + Bar. His successful tenure here garnered recognition by critics including the 2018 Michelin Guide. In 2018, Bajaj was ready for a concept change and tapped Kuhn to helm the kitchen with the launch of his new Mediterranean-inspired Olivia, which was a year in the making. In preparation for Olivia’s opening in January 2019 at the former NOPA Kitchen + Bar location, Kuhn traveled throughout the coastal regions of Spain to immerse himself in its rustic Mediterranean flavors.
Michael Yarger - General Manager
Working his way up the ranks, Michael Yarger’s restaurant career began at age 15, when he accepted the position of utility in a now shuttered restaurant in Chantilly, Virginia. He worked his way to the front of the house, serving as a host before attending The United States Coast Guard Academy in 1995.
Completing his service in 2002, Yarger returned to restaurants where he managed his first location, a nightclub in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Quickly realizing that nightclubs were not his forte, he next accepted a position managing The Irish Inn at Glen Echo. As Yarger honed his talents, he was recruited in 2004, by the DC restaurateurs behind Passion Food Hospitality where he took his first general manager role at Acadiana and later opened PassionFish Reston.
In 2015, Yarger’s expertise lead him to accept a position with Ashok Bajaj’s Knightbridge Restaurant Group. He was appointed to helm NOPA Kitchen + Bar and currently manages its replacing concept, Olivia, which opened in January 2019.
Tim Hays – Wine & Beverage Director
Tim Hays, an Arlington, Virginia native, first became passionate about wine while procuring his architecture degree at The Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Back in Washington, D.C. Tim was previously the wine director at Leopold’s Kafe & Konditorei in Georgetown and with Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar on Capital Hill. Tim began his tenure with Knightsbridge at Bibiana Osteria Enoteca in 2014 and has continued his career at NOPA since transferring in 2016.