with Phil Roy
If the cooking thing didn’t pan out,
Marc Vetri had a music career to fall
back on. Always noodling around on
the guitar through high school and
college, he was admitted for a one-year
scholarship to the Musician’s Institute
in Hollywood after graduating from
Drexel University. There, he fine-tuned
his chords and learned the finer points
of music. Vetri’s parents offered moral
support for his rock-star dreams and
he supplied the financial backing by
working in restaurants.
The world-renowned chef,
restaurateur, author, educator and
philanthropist was once lead guitarist
in Mild Mustard, a name that was
anointed over lunch at a Hollywood
deli. After playing clubs with much
success, there was talk of merging
with another band and of a record
deal. At the same time, however,
Vetri’s attraction to the energy of the
restaurant kitchen was beginning to
take root and he was handed a rare
opportunity to cook in Bergamo. “I
could have gone either way,” says Vetri,
who took a backpack and his guitar on
his journey to Italy. The rest is history.
Vetri understands the intrinsic power
of food and music. For his own peace
of mind, he tries to play guitar every
day. His collection of 14 guitars
includes Stratocasters, Martins and
Gibsons, and they hang high enough
on the wall so his kids don’t mess
with them. Every now and again, he’ll
jam with other rock-star chefs like
Joe Bastianich and Tom Collicchio.
In Osteria’s wine room, Vetri hosts
“Sounds Good, Tastes Good” evenings
with buddy singer/songwriter Phil Roy.
The part-time duo has also appeared
at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
Vetri never performs solo.
Vetri grew up immersed in classic
rock, jazz and blues. Led Zeppelin is
his all-time favorite band, and others
like Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane,
and the Stones also ranked high. Now,
as a celebrity chef, Vetri’s famed food
destinations rank in the music world.
Mick Jagger has dined at Vetri. Other
musicians such as John Tedeschi and
Chris Thile from Punch Brothers visit
his places too, of course to eat, but
equally just to hang with Vetri.
Rocker Chef: Marc Vetri
Click here to see a video of Marc Vetri performing with Phil Roy at Osteria.