Liz Neumark, the CEO of of the New York City catering company, Great Performances, has been at the top of the city’s food chain for three decades, and she’s learned all there is to know about about satisfying needs. Liz is a visionary in putting future culinary ideas on the plates of New Yorkers, and a trendsetter in bringing food politics to the table. She also believes there is no more critical time in the relationship between people and the foods they eat or have access to than today.
Liz conceived of Great Performances in 1979 as a waitress service for women in the arts, offering an alternative way to supplement meager artist incomes with work in the fledgling catering industry. When the industry boomed overnight, Great Performances grew along with it. The company, headquartered in Hudson Square, NYC, is one of the largest off-premise catering companies in the city, serving a wide range of corporate, social, and non-profit clients. The company also holds exclusive contracts at leading cultural institutions, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Apollo Theater, Sotheby’s, Caramoor, and Wave Hill. In 2007, Liz joint-ventured with Delaware North Companies to manage and operate one of New York City’s most sought-after banquet and event spaces – The Plaza Hotel.
Since 2006, Great Performances has also owned a 60-acre organic farm in Columbia County, NY. An industry first, Katchkie Farm represents commitment to celebrating local flavors while supporting sustainable agriculture and good earth practices. The Farm supplies Great Performances with fresh produce for special events, as well as farmers markets throughout New York and the company’s cafes. It is also the source for a line of artisanal products, including the acclaimed Katchkie Ketchup, Thunder Pickles, and Bob-A-Que Sauce, and the inspiration for the company’s precedent-setting 100 Mile Menu for which all principal ingredients are sourced from within a 100-mile radius of New York City. Katchkie Farm is also home to The Sylvia Center, an educational non-profit dedicated to inspiring children to eat well through farm visits and garden-to-table cooking workshops.
The company’s philanthropic role further includes a commitment to food rescue and the fight against hunger. Katchkie Farm commits 5% of its annual harvest to anti-hunger organizations, notably Yorkville Common Pantry and City Harvest.
Liz currently serves as Chairman of the Board for The Sylvia Center; on the Boards of GrowNYC, Just Food and Women’s Forum New York; on the Governor’s Food Policy Council and on the Advisory Boards for the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, Food and Finance High School, Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies and Hudson Square Business Improvement District. Liz has received many honors including the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award, Crain’s 100 Most Influential Women, BizBash’s Hall of Fame and Event Innovators 2011 and Ernst & Young New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Liz has also found a new forum to discuss food politics and the ever-changing event business with her own online blog featured on The Huffington Post.
Liz is a third generation New Yorker, and a Barnard graduate who majored in Urban Studies and Political Science. She, her husband and children live in Manhattan.
A sumptuous first cookbook from Great Performances founder and organic farmer Liz Neumark [...]