Why He's Interesting: Mac Anderson, his brother Drew Anderson and his brother-in-law Luke Visnic took an odd college hobby and turned it into a side hustle. That company now supplies different styles of fermented food across the country. Initially called Cleveland Kraut, the company has grown over the past seven years and is now called Cleveland Kitchen. “It was a strange hobby,” says Mac Anderson. “Three 20-somethings all fermenting sauerkraut. You would have thought it would have been beer.”
On The Path: Cleveland Kitchen purchased a pickle manufacturer in California recently. The company now produces four fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, dressings and pickles. The company points to Europe and Asia, where fermented food is eaten with most meals, as a path to growth potential in the United States. “It is a really great way to bring flavor and great health benefits."
Helping Hands: From a young age, Mac has been around local farmers, makers and chefs. That continues through today, where he receives and gives advice as the company expands. Cleveland Kitchen has seen 65% growth year over year for the past three years. Most of its partners, from produce to packaging, are Ohio companies. “It is really important for us to not only support our local economy and drive growth, but also to do what we can so that it's very sustainable."
From Mama: When they were young, their mother Donita Anderson — a chef who studied biology — took Mac, along with Drew and their sister, Emma, to Ohio farm areas in pursuit of fresh farm-raised meat and organic produce. Donita went on to start the North Union Farmers Market network in Northeast Ohio with the first market in Shaker Square. “Child labor laws aside, we were out there schlepping produce and working with farmers. From that very young age and all the way up through high school and college, that was our weekend and summer job."