News

Board Member Highlight - Douglas Katz

16-Mar-2016

We are very grateful for the work and time that our Board members volunteer to our organization. We have a list of

dedicated amazing people on our team, and we would like for you to get to know them.

Today we are posting an interview with long-time Countryside supporter, Board member and super-amazing Chef Douglas Katz.
Douglas owns several eateries and food businesses
in the Cleveland area, and recently hosted a fundraiser at his unique and popular Katz Club Diner on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.

Countryside:

So Douglas, tell us about the great Pop-Up event you hosted last week?

Douglas Katz:

It's always super special to have a full house enjoying a meal @TheKatzClubDiner. It's even more special when the meal is benefiting a great cause such as the Countryside Conservancy. Last week I prepared a great locally sourced meal for a sold-out crowd at a Katz Club Diner Pop-Up Dinner to benefit Countryside.

Countryside:

You are a renowned Cleveland Chef. Your food is amazing and you always try to incorporate locally grown and raised ingredients. How long have you been cooking and what got you involved in local sourcing? Is that important to you?

Douglas: I've wanted to be a chef since I was 7 and I have been a chef for 22 years. I have always enjoyed the local food scene no matter where I have lived. Local ingredients from passionate farmers always make the good taste better. I shop at farmers' markets and directly on farms. I also shop at the weekly Countryside Farmers' Market at Howe Meadow, sometimes you can catch me doing cooking demos there too.

Countryside:

You use many local farmers' products. How do you make that work for you as a busy multi-business/restaurant owner, because we always hear about how difficult the Chef-Farmer relationship can be?

Douglas:

The relationship with the farmer is key. There are certain farmers that can handle many restaurants and others that can handle one or even less. Communication is key and building trust is how the relationships grow. I learn so much about food and develop dishes based on this education.

Countryside:

Do you buy from any of the Countryside Initiative park farms?

Douglas:

Yes, I purchase from many of the farmers in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. These farmers were lucky enough to lease farms in the Countryside Initiative Farm program that matches farm properties with worthy farmers who compete for them. I use the farmers in the park to supply my restaurants a great deal. We even have an annual blueberry barbecue at Dan Greenfield's farm. It is a sellout every year.

I also use them and the programs the farms and Countryside have as educational tools for high school students, my employees and my customers.

Countryside:

So why us? Why do you not only support our organization and the park farms, but you volunteer so much time and energy to Countryside. Why do that and why should people care?

Douglas:

Countryside has been an important part of my life in Northeast Ohio for more than 8 years. It is an organization run by a passionate staff that really cares about our local environment. The creative and innovative programming within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and beyond make it hugely important to Northeast Ohio. It is important for others to support the programs, farms and market, as this is what true community is all about. Becoming involved is one of the most fulfilling experiences we can have. To connect with our food system, farmers and the land takes us all back to our roots.
Countryside:
(blushing:)
Douglas:
Enough about that! Here are some photos of our great dinner!