There’s no doubt that Marc Vetri is Philadelphia’s culinary golden boy. With four restaurants under his belt and accolades from both Food & Wine and The James Beard Foundation, Vetri appears to be the very heartbeat of the Philadelphia dining scene. Trained by the most notable chefs of Bergamo, Italy (as well as his Sicilian Grandmother) Vetri went on to revitalize Italian cooking through a refined and contemporary sensibility. Praised by some of our biggest icons here at The New Potato, Vetri himself was a hard new icon to resist talking to. We got his take on reality tv, school lunches and all the ins and outs of the Philly food scene…
What would be your ideal food day?
Cooking dinner at my house for some friends and family.
Could you break down Philadelphia for us and give us your favorite spots in each area for different things?
I love the Fairmount neighborhood. It’s really up and coming with lots of families. La Cantina Feliz is a great place there; The Belgian Cafe for beer and burgers – and obviously Osteria and Alla Spina are there too.
Northern Liberties is a funky little area with great places as well. The Standard Tap is a great gastropub and there is great nightlife there too; Johnny Brendas is a great bar; One Shot Coffee is a cool coffee shop with great eats. 13th Street (in Washington Square West) is so cool. Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran have made it a great area with all of their spots like Barbuzzo and Lolita, which are my favorites. Amis is on the other end of 13th Street – and Vedge is right in the middle too.
What are your favorite other cities for food? Where do you go to there?
I love Boulder, Colorado: Frasca Food and Wine.
Other national chefs whose Italian cuisine you love…
Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton, Matt Molina, Jonathan Waxman, Lachlan Patterson, Michael Tusk, Barbara Lynch, and even though it’s not Italian…Fred Morin (of Joe Beef). I’m sure I’m forgetting people who I love!
What most don’t know about Italian cuisine…
Two to three ingredients on a plate…Stop.
You’ve been saying school lunches for kids should be family style. What problems do you think this would solve? Why family style?
Most people only concentrate on the nutritional value of the food. The fact of the matter is that how you eat is just as important as what you eat. It creates community, interaction and teaches lessons about sharing and working with others. It also makes eating healthier easier. Think about putting apples in a lunch line…How many kids will take an apple? But think about slicing apples up and putting them in a bowl in the middle of the table…Kids will be eating apple slices, talking and interacting. They won’t even realize they are eating healthy. So much more to say here….