Allison (aka Ali) Katz has traveled a long road to get to her current shop Ali Katz Kitchen in Mattituck, New York on the North Fork of Long Island.
As a second career, Ali decided to go to Culinary School in 2002. September 11th had just happened, and the garment center where she had worked for 10+ years was not as exciting or as creative. She attended The French Culinary Institute in Soho (now the International Culinary Center), and graduated in early 2003. She had always loved baking, and had a sweet tooth, but went for the full culinary program thinking there would be more job opportunities when she was done. But the pastries called to her and she started her baking career at The Boathouse in Central Park where she was in charge of most of the production at this very busy restaurant/tourist destination. She then freelanced in test kitchens around New York City, writing and testing recipes for magazines at Hearst and Martha Stewart Omnimedia. At the same time, she worked in the pastry production kitchen for Abigail Kirsch, a large catering company which at the time had event sites in Manhattan and Westchester. This was a huge operation with a skilled Pastry Chef running it, and Ali learned multiple techniques (both baking and organizational), that she uses to this day.
Ali’s next step was becoming a Private Chef, and in addition to other clients, since 2005 has worked for a family in Tribeca as their chef. She designs their menus, shops for their food and cooks for this family of 4 on a weekly basis. Concurrently, from 2009-2013 she worked in the kitchen at the Calhoun School in Manhattan, and during summers at the Ross School in East Hampton. Both of these private schools have Farm to Chef programs, where all the food is made from scratch and most of the kitchen employees have been to culinary school. Being involved in these programs really reinforced the importance of local, fresh ingredients, both for your health and for the environment. It’s an important message to bring to a community, and the North Fork is on board with that already.
Because of an illness in the family, Ali & her husband Fritz Beckmann had been spending more and more time on the East End. Ali’s parents lived in East Hampton, and the couple already loved the area; getting married at Macari Vineyards in Mattituck in 2010.
Fritz, who grew up in St. Louis, and who moved to NY to attend and graduate the Culinary Institute of America in 1999, fell in love with the beauty of the East End. He has worked in restaurants of all sizes, and is a skilled and creative chef. When he graduated from the CIA he moved to NYC and worked at the Russian Tea Room, The Riga Royal, and then TAO for 4 years as the Executive Sous Chef. After leaving TAO, he worked at Morimoto for 5 years and then decided to work at starting a business on his own.
In the summer of 2013 they had an opportunity to spend the summer on Shelter Island. Ali ran the front of the house, supervised the employees, and did all the desserts for a pop up restaurant, “Dinner at Kyle’s”, while Fritz ran the kitchen 4 nights each week. They had a seasonal farm to table driven menu with a lot of fresh, local ingredients. The pop up restaurant gave them an opportunity to learn first hand how to start up, run a business and provide consistently good service to their customers. They met and worked with local purveyors and farmers, and by the end of that summer “Dinner at Kyle’s” had developed a loyal customer following who kept coming back, loving the food and sending friends. That summer, Ali also baked and sold her goods at the weekly Shelter Island Farmer’s Market. She developed quite a following for her products, especially for her granola, chocolate babka and brownies. She created a company and a label for “Ali Katz Small Batch Baking”. She also met many local farmers at that weekly market which have become great contacts, friends and potential clients for the new business that she and Fritz have now created at Ali Katz Kitchen.
After the pop up restaurant on Shelter Island closed, Fritz took a Chef de Cuisine position back in NYC at The Chester in the Gansevoort Hotel in the West Village. But realizing that the East End of Long Island was where he and Ali both wanted to be, he contacted Chef/Owner Gerry Hayden at the North Fork Table and Inn in Southold. Fritz was hired as the Sous Chef to run the restaurant’s food truck during the Spring-Fall of 2014. Working closely with Chef Hayden to develop items to elevate the level of food on the food truck was a unique and positive experience. At the same time, Ali was hired by Pastry Chef/Owner Claudia Fleming to work in the restaurant’s pastry kitchen. After spending that summer working on the North Fork, the couple decided that they were going to leave the city and try to make a life out on the East End. They loved the community, the landscape, and being so close to the water.
Ali began working on products that she could develop with the farmers in the coming season. Speaking with local business people on the East End, it became apparent that to be successful it is important that the business be multi faceted and flexible to achieve success and maintain growth. She began baking quiches and making other products for Browder’s Birds at the Calverton Incubator Kitchen. She did some projects for KK’s the Farm. And then she opened goodfood. in Mattituck with a business partner. She helped to build out that business from the bottom up; created recipes for salads, soups, stocks, veggie chili, mac and cheese, and many other popular savory items, along with her baked goods. After 2 1/2 years, the partners of goodfood. parted ways. Ali took a MUCH needed break, did some traveling, sleeping, and thinking about what she really wanted to do. And she got to spend time in and know the community that she now lived in full time.
And so Ali Katz Kitchen has come to fruition. It is a combination of a lot of her dreams; baking what makes both her and her customers happy, cooking and creating salads and other savory items that are healthy and use local products, working with the local farmers, small business owners, vineyards & restaurants, and even selling some fun gift items on her shop shelves. Fritz is busy in the kitchen making stocks, gravy, hot sauce and other fun stuff. They’re working on other ideas for the kitchen, like cooking classes and dinners…They are both excited to be here and for the possibilities to come.
This city girl never dreamed that she would love living in and being part of a small community; that she’d get to be a small business owner with the ability to be creative in her own big kitchen, where she can bake and eat whatever her heart desires. And then at the end of the day, she gets to go home to a small cottage where her husband makes delicious dinners, their cats have lots of windows to look out of, hummingbirds fly around the yard during the summer, and there is a fireplace to sit in front of and a screened in porch to hang out on. All that and being by the water all year round. It may take a while to get where you need and want to be. But it turns out you CAN have your cake and eat it too.
Reviews & Press
The Hummingbird Post
October 28, 2018
“Ali is without question among the best bakers on the East End.” Read more at: A North Fork Favorite: Ali Katz Kitchen
July 16, 2018
“Chef Allison Katz has been a staple on the North Fork foodie scene for several years.” Read more at: Ali Katz Kitchen Set To Open In Mattituck
Store hours are Fridays – Sundays, 9am to 4pm.
Special orders can be picked up throughout the week.