q & a with chef doug katz

If you haven’t been to Fire, the sophisticated little spot on Shaker Square, make sure you add it to your must-dine list. The atmosphere is warm yet hip, the food creative, satisfying and simply delicious, and owner/chef Katz is often referred to as one of Cleveland’s best young chefs. Plus it’s in Shaker Square, a great section of Cleveland.

1. The top 5 spices that are a must in every kitchen? kosher salt, black peppercorns, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, vanilla beans and cumin seed (If I could have one more I would also include fennel seed)

2. What is your favorite and least favorite thing to make? My favorite thing to make is tomato ragout, a rich chunky tomato sauce. My least favorite is well-done steaks.

3. If you could cook for one person, real or dead, who would it be? Thomas Jefferson – his passion for his Monticello gardens must have given him a passion for great food, too.

4. You’re having a dinner party, what are the top 5 songs on your play list? Mainly jazz and blues because it is great background music during dinner:

John Coltrane – Blue Train
Ella Fitzgerald- Mack the Knife
Louis Armstrong- What a Wonderful World
Scott Joplin – Maple Leaf Rag
many versions – Watermelon Man

5. Favorite restaurant in Cleveland? I have a lot, but I am currently craving Marotta’s on Lee Road

6. What restaurant do you miss? Battuto

7. What is your favorite thing about Cleveland and what drives you nuts? I love the city, including University Circle. It drives me nuts that people don’t want to live in and support the historic, cultural and urban districts in our amazing city.

8. Most famous person you have cooked for? Donald Fagen of Steely Dan

9. Most unusual food you have ever tried? rocky mountain oysters

10. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? I would be spending a lot more time with my family…

11. What restaurant/café/bar in Cleveland have people yet to discover? Lucky’s in Tremont (Heather Haviland’s amazing bakery/coffee shop/ brunch spot)


  1. Allison M.
    Posted October 5, 2007 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    that’s a restaurant on my list to get to

  2. Michael Walsh
    Posted October 7, 2007 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    i’m in the business, and there seems to be alot of talented guys that have put there time into fire under dougs command. I am wondering how it is that chef katz has inspired so many young men?

  3. Anonymous
    Posted October 9, 2007 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Most importantly, I hire people only after they have worked for a day. I am able to see great things when I have some time to work with a person.

    Also, I expect a lot of people who work at Fire. I emphasize to them that Fire is my life and that they need to be passionate and careful. They need to think about the impact of what they do all of the time.

    We have a great team at Fire and people who join us see that and are often motivated by all of the employees.

    We keep things as professional as possible and work very hard. We try to include everyone in our successes.

    Thanks for the question. Feel free to call me if you want to discuss further. Doug Katz

  4. rockandroller
    Posted October 9, 2007 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    It’s been on my list for a long time. I just NEVER go to Shaker Square, it’s completely inconvenient for me to get to as a SW sider. I have recommended the place to countless friends and family members and have never even been there myself. Must get there before the snow flies otherwise it will be another 6 months.