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Liz Neumark
Liz Neumark is the CEO of Great Performances.

In almost three decades of being at the top of the food chain in New York City, Liz Neumark has learned that it is all about satisfying needs. Liz believes there is no more critical time in the relationship between people and the foods they eat or have access to than today. 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, all with great taste and memorable flavors.

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 also owns 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, a Barnard graduate who majored in Urban Studies and Political Science. She, her husband and children live in Manhattan.

Entries by Liz Neumark

Not Your Mother's Potato Pancakes

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2015 | 7:42 PM

In the roll call of signature Jewish holiday foods, what could possibly be tastier than a latke? Not brisket, chopped liver or gefilte fish beat this legendary pancake for simplicity and universal appeal. Grated potatoes mixed with onions, eggs, salt and pepper, fried and served crispy is a classic. I...

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Feeding the Homeless Defies Easy Fix

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2015 | 2:21 PM

Our focus on the city's homeless population is part of an ongoing conversation engaging politicians and citizens alike. We discuss the count, cause, interventions and solutions, while griping or sympathizing or just feeling numb about the acute suffering at our doorstep. For the most part, we watch from the sidelines...

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How the Homeless Eat

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 4:22 PM

2015-10-01-1443727004-5803672-bilde.jpg At Holy Apostles on on 28th Street and Ninth Avenue, about 1,200 lunches have been served daily for more than 33 years. Photo: ©Liz Neumark
On the eve of Pope Francis' visit to New York, I waited on the corner of Fifth...
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Social Justice Through Food Trucks

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 7:46 PM


Once again, New Yorkers flocked to Governors Island on September 12, for the Annual Vendy Awards to determine the Best Street Food Vendor of the year and to raise funds for the Street Vendor Project, a 14-year-old non-profit providing "advocacy and support for...

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The Black Gold in the Freezer

(0) Comments | Posted August 31, 2015 | 9:28 PM


The subject of food waste has never been more popular, generating vigorous discussions about the amount of edible food that ends in the trash. The emergence of enlightened practices including recipes for commonly discarded remnants, embracing visually imperfect produce, rescue for food pantry...

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Top Chefs in Small Toques

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 11:24 PM


Bring a child into the kitchen and imagine what happens?

There is excitement and engagement around the various tasks of food preparation. Children are motivated to experiment and explore, and that is only the beginning of food magic.

In speaking with four chef...

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Rolling and Slinging

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 7:38 PM


We are a food town with a wide range of places to eat; from coffee shops and cafes to bars and taverns; from Michelin Star restaurants to casual, local eateries -- and everything in between. We are notorious for eating on the run,...

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Top to Root: Good to the Last Drop

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2015 | 7:06 PM


Waste was one of those black and white topics in my upbringing. You finished everything on your plate as the world was filled with starving children. My Grandma Nellie, who came to this country between the world wars, never threw anything out. It...

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Spring's Fleeting Flavors

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2015 | 7:17 PM

Ramps, asparagus and fiddleheads herald the start of growing season.

While spring heralds outdoor fun and skimpy attire, for me it's about one thing: The start of the growing season. Early every Saturday morning, I race down to the Union Square Greenmarket eager to see what is back. It started...

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Mocktail Season Has Arrived

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 12:52 PM

The boom in handmade non-alcoholic drinks.

It isn't sufficient that we have mastered the art of eating seasonal kale or succumbed to the charms of happy chicken or pork on our plate. In the relentless march of food as fashion, there is another fascinating front to explore.


A critical...

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Overabundance of Diets Muddles Meals

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Growing up, there were basic table rules: Eat what was served, finish what was on your plate, and don't start until the hostess lifts her fork. On occasion, a cook had to allow for nut allergies or religious restrictions. Special requests attributable to allergies, food exclusions or diet-driven preferences were...

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"Waste Not" Never Looked Like This

(4) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 11:13 AM

There are trends and there are trendsetters. There are dreamers and there are doers. There is drama, but only if skillfully handled, is there lasting impact. In the process of mentally digesting my dinner at WastED, what resonates is the message Dan Barber serves, as much as the food itself.

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How the CSA Model Supports a Farm

(2) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 12:42 PM

I am thinking about spring. Although it is still several weeks away, there are decisions to make that will affect what grows on Katchkie Farm in 2015. Despite the frozen earth, now is the time our planning begins. The seed orders went in last week, including over 60 varieties from...

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Looking for Fresh Greens in Winter

(0) Comments | Posted January 26, 2015 | 4:28 PM

It's been really cold out. Still, every weekend I go to local Greenmarkets to stock up for the week. If our local famers can get up in this weather (and often conditions are far worse points north or west of the city), then I surely can travel the...

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DIY Delicious

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 10:08 AM

"Ma! Let me do it myself," beg the young, yearning for independence. Do you remember that exchange with your mom? How lovely that DIY (Do It Yourself) has become a battle cry, as we are suddenly desperate to rediscover the joy that comes from making things ourselves. This is the...

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Sharing Holiday Bites

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 10:02 AM

The start of the holiday season evokes a range of memories stretching from childhood forward; a sensory recall of sights, sounds, smells and flavors. Bell-ringing Santas, gridlock and holiday windows are classic, but it is food that dominates. Chestnuts roasting in an open pushcart are a universal signal the season...

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The Joy and Madness of Pickling

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 4:43 PM


The world is divided into two types of people: pickle lovers and everyone else. I'm with the pickle people.

Growing up in NYC meant early exposure to the best of the brine, a good assortment of Lower East Side merchants, and the development...

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A Visit to the Seed Library

(2) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 11:39 AM

One of the best moments I shared with Ken Greene, founder of Hudson Valley Seed Library, was when he confessed, "I really don't care that much about eating, I love collecting the seeds." There it was in a nutshell, the difference between us. Seeds are a delicious, if...

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A Tale of Two Meals

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 12:15 PM

Wednesday was a typical day at Katchkie Farm; CSA harvesting & packing and a small group of Sylvia Center students were engaged in garden work, harvesting and cooking their meal. The weather was crazy beautiful and I was looking forward to my visit.

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Recipes for Better Lives

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 10:30 AM

This piece was originally published in Our Town.


Dreams of food find expression in many ways. Some are driven to a career in the food world by thoughts of entrepreneurship, culinary passion or Food Network fame, while others see the entry...

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