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Liz Neumark
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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

Seven Years at Katchkie Farm -- and Itching for More!

(0) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 2:27 PM

Summer 2007. I will never forget the speed with which our neglected acres came to life. Bit by bit, Farmer Bob plowed and nurtured the soil transforming it from impassible and soggy brambles to productive fields. Our first harvest was in a corner near the white fence field where beautiful...

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Miracles and Cures

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2014 | 2:05 PM

It is a graduation of sorts, when a three-year commitment comes to an end and it is time to let others participate in the work and the reward. This week, my time as a member of the selection panel for the Sloan Public Service Awards sponsored by the...

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An Adventure in Foraging

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 5:07 PM

How I hate being trendy but I suppose there is no avoiding it this time. I went foraging in the woods of Columbia County and loved every second of it. It appeals to my sense of taste, adventure and frugality.

It was peak ramp season and I have been obsessed...

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Heirloom Habits

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 10:14 AM

I found myself contemplating a piece of tin foil this weekend. I used it to catch drips from the loaf pans of banana bread I was baking. It was perfectly clean though used. Toss or save? Folding it in half to save for another use opened a floodgate of memories...

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A Primer for CSA Season

(1) Comments | Posted May 14, 2014 | 7:47 PM

*Originally published in Our Town.

It's sign-up time for farmer co-ops across the city!

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of being a member of a CSA is that you never know exactly what vegetables you're going to get every week -- until the moment you collect them. And...

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A Certain Kind of Music

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 10:03 AM

In the Greenmarket on Saturday I bumped into my friend Dan who I hadn't seen in a while. "How is life? How's catering?" he asked after usual greetings.

That's a question I have been asked a thousand times. Life is good -- that part is easy. As for catering,...

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Let's Get RAMPed!

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 4:17 PM

Oh, those beautiful ramps that say SPRING! I race down to Union Square on Saturday morning now to buy bunches of fresh ramps. Where are they? Just follow your nose. My goal is twofold: pesto and pickled ramps.

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After a...

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Egg-pression of Celebration

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 2:36 PM

It's the annual moment of fame for the egg, star of the spring holidays of Passover/Easter as well as one of the early season offerings in farmers markets. Weeks before the first signs of green, eggs become a little more abundant as the chickens are the first to recognize the...

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Searching for Spring

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 2:44 PM

Is there anyone in the Northeast who feels like winter hasn't been long enough, cold enough or sufficiently snowy? In the past 3 weeks I finally escaped NYC twice to warm climates only to discover that what I was really needing could only be found right here.

I had been...

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From the Strip to the Field

(0) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 3:34 PM

Leo Lionni wrote the story of Frederick, the field mouse, who seemed to be daydreaming while all others were busy gathering food for the winter. "I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days." So it is with this story, told to you in this season of root vegetables...

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Blame It on the Pickles

(2) Comments | Posted January 9, 2014 | 1:05 PM

I had been blogging since 2009. The weekly process of writing has been both easy and hard -- it's a discipline involving identifying a compelling topic and finding enough time on the weekend to write. Somewhere in the late spring of '13, after five years, I lost my rhythm and...

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Launch Season

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 2:52 PM

Although the new year officially begins on January 1st, the days leading up to and immediately following Labor Day trigger a visceral reaction. It's the result of 20+ years of conditioning: September = School. School = new beginning. A Launch. Anxiety, expectation, uncertainty, the unfamiliar. Excitement, anticipation, reunion, exploration.

...
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San Francisco and the Street Food Festival

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 6:28 PM

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It's been a stay at home summer for the most part, anchored by children in town, a wonderful surplus of work (hard to complain about either of those) and the August launch of my first cookbook, Sylvia's Table -- an event I...
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Beware the Experiment

(2) Comments | Posted May 21, 2013 | 2:18 PM

It started innocently enough. I had finally reached my limit. One more bite of fish and I would surely sprout gills and fins. My four-year stint of being a fish-eating vegetarian (pescatarian) had taken its toll. Not only too many fish dinners, but sustainability concerns surrounding fish have begun to...

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Pollan-ated!

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2013 | 2:38 PM

The man most responsible for causing us to examine what we put onto our plates and into our mouths with his blockbuster Omnivores Dilemma is at it again, this time with a book titled Cooked. My copy arrived last week. I love how he once again...

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Foodies With Worries

(10) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 6:12 PM

I love food -- being around it, cooking and eating it, sharing and learning about it -- and most meaningfully, making sure that the bounty and access I have is also available to others.

I was at the National Food Policy Conference, sponsored by the

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By the Power Vested in Me

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2013 | 2:05 PM

At Great Performances, I meet brides weekly in the context of creating delicious and creative catering experiences. It is very rewarding to become a part of the family as the detailed planning progresses over the swiftly passing months. Hospitality and celebrating over a festive meal and toasts are the glue...

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The Call of the CSA

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 12:20 PM

Here in the Northeast, nothing is growing yet -- but people are getting so excited about their veggies. What's up? In Maine last week -- everywhere I went I saw posters for local CSAs, promising weekly veggies, meat, cheese and, most intriguing, healing herbs. All this while the snow was...

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East-Over Up North

(2) Comments | Posted March 27, 2013 | 9:52 PM

The celebration of Easter and Passover this week is an opportunity for a cultural mash-up quite aside from the religious connections between the two important holidays. And though spirituality and religious traditions are most meaningful to the observant, it is around the table that many of us discover community, share...

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Redemption In Sin City

(2) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 4:37 PM

It was out to Las Vegas late Friday to join an elite and interesting group of top caterers for a day of roundtable conversations. The group is comprised of heads of leading companies, generally one from every major U.S. city, and meets bi-annually to discuss industry issues and...

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