An international advocate of sustainable food systems that use healthy and local ingredients, Chef Douglas Katz is the creative mind behind the menus offered at Provenance, Provenance Café, and Catering by Provenance. Get to know a little more about Doug and his life outside of the kitchen below.
When did you first realize that you loved to cook and create dishes?
I was seven years old when I knew I wanted to be a chef. I had a catering business in high school and through college. After college, I went to the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, New York. This culinary program taught me the importance of great technique and skill as the basis for cooking. Creativity is only possible once you master the basics. I believe in this and teach this to my kitchen employees every day. My love for cooking stems from my interest in exciting every sense—I know I am creating great food because the senses don't lie.
Tell us about your inspiration for creating the menus for Provenance, Provenance Café, and Catering by Provenance.
The menu items at Provenance, Provenance Café, and for Catering by Provenance are all inspired by our one-of-a-kind location in the Cleveland Museum of Art. The museum really offers a quality experience in regard to the art and the overall atmosphere. I hope to showcase our food in much the same way. Our food is purchased from the best local farmers and is prepared using the finest techniques so the diner can appreciate the quality and flavor of each ingredient. We are excited to present menus that use traditional pieces of equipment from around the world, such as the tandoor oven used in India, the stone oven that is prevalent throughout the Mediterranean, and the robata grill used in Japan.
Fall is right around the corner. What is your favorite fall dish?
I love fall because it’s the time when I can use the most local foods, such as beets, squashes, onions, shallots, potatoes, greens, apples, and pears. My personal favorite fall dish would include an array of roasted fall vegetables, beautifully presented on a white plate with some sautéed greens, shallots, and a sweet onion cream sauce.
What is the most challenging part about being a chef?
The hardest part about being a chef is that people often give you full credit for a dining experience when there are so many other people involved in making that experience exceptional. The farmers, dishwashers, cooks, food runners, sous chefs, and servers all contribute to this experience. A chef needs all of these people—the team—to do their part. The chef must provide a workplace and environment that gives the team the passion and excitement to execute the food and service to his quality standards.
If you could visit any city and experience their culinary scene, where would you go and why?
I want to go to the smallest towns in Italy, France, India, Vietnam, China, and Korea and cook with the local people to learn how they source their food and how they prepare their specialty dishes that are loved by their communities. It’s too hard to pick just one!