Marc Vetri is the chef/founder of Philadelphia’s famous Vetri Family of Restaurants. In addition to his storied career in the kitchen, Marc is also the driving force behind the Vetri Community Partnership. A non-profit organization whose mission is to empower children and families through fresh food, hands-on experiences, and education.

A Philadelphia native, Marc initially pursued a career in music as a guitarist before realizing his true passion came from cooking. Spending his formative professional kitchen life in Bergamo, Italy, working alongside some of the region’s most noted chefs. Marc has become known the world over for bringing a bold, contemporary sensibility to classic Italian cooking. 

In 2005, he was given the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.” And he’s now a finalist for that same award again in 2019.

Some of the highlights of this episode are:

When we talked about the artistry and education behind the food. Food education is so near and dear to my heart. I wanted to interview Marc because of that. I have this weird thing where I don’t get too star-struck when it comes to celebrities. But for some reason, I’ve always had this: “OMG, hey that’s the chef at …” 

I’ve always said this publicly, but never on air that if I were to do something different in my life, it would surround food.

Pay attention to the tail end of the conversation. If you only have 10 minutes of your day, skip to the last 10 minutes and listen to how Marc describes food and what experience means to him.

You’re probably thinking, well, how does food translate to business? Your answer is on that time marker.

While listening to this episode I do have to be transparent that there is a slight hesitation in Marc’s speech, so when you listen, it’s not cutting out. It’s Marc crafting a full thought to further explain his story.

The History

Chef Marc Vetri and his business partner, Jeff Benjamin, opened Vetri Family Cucina in a historic townhouse in Philadelphia in September of 1998. Two decades later, the same restaurant that started it all still offers a gourmet tour throughout Italy and has received national recognition.

Marc and Jeff are looking forward to bringing Vetri Cucina’s closeness to the excitement of Las Vegas. They spotted the possibility of the second incarnation of their iconic townhouse after touring the Palms Casino Resort. The 56th level, perched above the city with panoramic views of the Strip and Red Rocks Canyon, is the ideal setting for our latest enterprise.

The crew is ecstatic to bring their famed Italian cuisine. As well as the amazing hospitality for which they are famous in Philadelphia, to the Las Vegas community.

The Vetri Cucina Family

Marc Vetri 

Marc Vetri is the chef/founder of the critically regarded Vetri Cucina in Philadelphia. Vetri, a native of Philadelphia, opened the restaurant with his business partner, Jeff Benjamin, in 1998 to widespread acclaim. He was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” just two years after the restaurant opened. And he won the Philadelphia Inquirer’s top restaurant rating, which he kept during a re-review in 2018. Marc received the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” in 2005.

Following years of success at Vetri, Marc and Jeff Benjamin built Osteria, Amis, Pizzeria Vetri, Lo Spiedo, and Alla Spina, which all immediately became popular with diners. Vetri’s most recent effort is the establishment of a second Vetri Cucina restaurant. Located at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, which has been a long time coming.

Marc is the founder of the Vetri Community Partnership. A non-profit organization whose purpose is to empower children and families through fresh food and education, in addition to his illustrious culinary career. He’s also the author of four cookbooks, the most recent of which is “Mastering Pizza,” which came out in 2018.

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff Benjamin met Marc Vetri in New York City while working in the food sector after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. When Marc decided to start Vetri Cucina in his hometown of Philadelphia, he chose Jeff as his business partner and general manager, and the rest is history.

Jeff is now a cofounder of Vetri Cucina, and he and Marc are partners in opening the company’s second site in Las Vegas, at the Palms Casino Resort. Jeff is the co-founder and board member of the Vetri Community Partnership. In addition to being an important part of the restaurant’s day-to-day operations. Front of the House: Restaurant Manners, Misbehaviors, and Secrets, a behind-the-scenes look at the nuances that go into an evening out, was published in 2015. In 2018, his next book, Praying for Extra Innings, will be released.

Jeff, his wife Melissa, and their two daughters live in Cherry Hill. He may be found rooting for his children’s sports teams. As well as his beloved Cubs and 76ers, when he is not working.

Matteo Giacomazzi

Matteo was born in Venice, Italy, to a family who worked in the hospitality sector. He started as a server for his father’s hotel firm and worked his way up to F&B manager in the brand’s high-end boutique hotels throughout Northern Italy and Switzerland.

Then Matteo moved to New York for a year to receive his degree in hospitality. Then, earning a certificate in Restaurant Management and Hotel Management. With the goal of making a name for himself outside of his family’s business. Matteo moved to San Francisco at the age of 22 to create Farina Focaccia & Cucina Italiana. A typical Genovese Italian restaurant, and later to open its sister restaurant as the Director of Operations. Following that, Matteo moved to Las Vegas after a brief time in Salt Lake City.

Matteo was immediately drawn to work for Marc Vetri when he found that he was building a restaurant in Vegas. As it brought him closer to his roots, as he is from outside of Bergamo, where Vetri studied the art of Italian cuisine. Matteo will bring his philosophy of providing an intimate and exceptional dining experience for each guest to Vetri Cucina. Inspired by Vetri’s attention to detail in everything from his cooking to his service.

The Restaurant

Vetri’s award-winning wine cellar includes almost 5,000 bottles. Its 500 labels include wines from 17 different Italian growing regions. As well as notable wines from Austria, France, New Zealand, Australia, and California.

A sommelier will serve as your personal guide to assist you through the large wine range. The dining area has a mahogany cheese cart, a 1958 Faema Urania espresso machine, and a wonderfully preserved 1948 Berkel meat slicer. On which Chef Vetri slices homemade prosciutto for customers to enjoy.

On Saturday nights, the chef and sommelier go all out by designing multi-course tasting menus for each table. Guests will experience a flawless sequence of foods and wines that are perfect for each individual’s taste on these special nights.