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What is a ghost kitchen? Chef Douglas Katz adapts to COVID-19

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Though he needed to shutter his widespread restaurant Fireplace in the course of the pandemic, Katz has began new ghost kitchens and is optimistic in regards to the future.

CLEVELAND — In a video posted to Ultimo Media’s Fb web page, Chef Douglas Katz speaks about optimism amid the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

“I take a look at the challenges as studying experiences,” Katz says within the clip. “I can’t management them, so why not take a look at the constructive facet of that and the way can I take a look at this as a constructive expertise and develop.”

He’s additionally featured in a video shared on Instagram account of the Lakewood restaurant Salt +, pictured amongst many different acquainted faces within the Cleveland meals scene, talking out in regards to the impression COVID-19 has had on the native restaurant scene.

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“I believe [those videos] symbolize our group, it reveals that we’re all form of on this collectively. It creates an image for the group to form of see what is going on,” Katz mentioned in a latest Zoom interview with 3News anchor Dave Chudowsky.

Few industries have been slammed more durable than eating places in the course of the pandemic. The Nationwide Restaurant Affiliation estimates greater than 2.5 million jobs have been misplaced and the trade is down $240 billion in gross sales.

Katz himself needed to make the robust determination to shut Fireplace, his widespread east-side institution. 

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“It was very troublesome, however it was the best time to do it. You understand, we might been in enterprise for about 20 years,” he mentioned. “I actually wished to guard the model. I imply Fireplace was tremendous profitable and we had a household of people that labored there through the years and I simply actually did not need to harm that fame that we had constructed and and actually all of the reminiscences that we had.”

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Katz, who is called an outside-the-box thinker, was now challenged to vary the sport – and he did.

Along with his whole workers down 83 % and indoor eating shuttered, he began two widespread “ghost kitchens” Amba and Chimi final 12 months in his Cleveland Heights catering kitchen. There is no eating room — only a kitchen. You order on-line, get an handle and choose it up. You can too go for supply in the event you dwell inside their supply zone.

“We thought we may create these ideas that we have dreamed about actually, and launch them as ghost kitchens,” Katz mentioned. “I believed, we gotta do that, we gotta no less than attempt. … I believe you must change with the instances and I am definitely optimistic and I am actually excited for what’s forward as a result of we have discovered a lot.”

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That’s proper – regardless of the plain problem, Katz says he’s greater than hopeful in regards to the future.

“Definitely there is not any loss of life to the restaurant trade. It is simply, it will change and there is going to be new thrilling initiatives and flavors in our metropolis.”

So what’s subsequent on Katz’s plate?

He is wanting previous the pandemic, and says he hopes to open brick-and-mortar areas for Amba and Chimi.

“I’ll let you know that we’ve discovered an area for Amba, which is our Indian idea, and we hope to launch that in November,” Katz mentioned.

Katz additionally hopes to reopen his Cedar Fairmount restaurant Zhug, one among Esquire Journal’s “20 greatest new eating places in America” this spring.

Oh … and one very last thing … 

“What’s good about it’s we you recognize have the chance sooner or later to perhaps do some issues with Fireplace, however we have not gotten that far,” Katz mentioned.

“So that you’re saying there’s an opportunity the Fireplace could possibly be lit once more?” Dave requested.

“The Fireplace could possibly be lit once more,” Katz admitted. “However we’ve no plans to try this right now.”

Feels like there are many strikes forward for this Recreation Altering chef and restaurateur.

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