The Best Meal Marc Vetri Ever Had

Plus, the 46-year-old super chef dishes on his lackluster Drexel GPA, a serious Celebrity Apprentice addiction, and why he can’t stand garlic.

Illustration of Chef Marc Vetri of Philadelphia by artist Andy Friedman.

My name is … Marc Vetri. Make sure you put it with a “c.”

I am a … chef and a father. Wait. Put “father” first, so my wife doesn’t get mad at me.

The most famous person I’ve cooked for … is hard to say. When I worked in Malibu in the early ’90s, everyone from Neil Young to Jack Nicholson. But at Vetri, Robert De Niro.

To stay in shape … I do a ton of yoga, I practice Brazilian jujitsu, and I ride my bike.

My secret talent … is playing the guitar.

I will shave my beard … when it’s 98 degrees with 98 percent humidity. It may be off before this article comes out.

One song I always turn up … is Led Zeppelin’s “The Lemon Song.”

Philadelphia really needs … more innovators, more forward-thinking people, and more young people not only going to college here but actually staying, because it’s such an awesome place to live.

My most prized material possession … would have to be one of my guitars. I have about 15. The highlight, though, is my Martin pre-war 1932 double-O 21. It’s awesome.

I met my wife … in yoga class in the summer of 2004. We practiced next to one another for more than a year without saying one word to each other, and then one day, we just started talking. And that was it.

If I’m going to have one drink … it will be an espresso.

I am allergic to … negativity.

People will be surprised to know … I can’t stand garlic. I’ve just always hated it, and then when I went to Italy, they didn’t even use it a lot. I always thought that Italian food was all about the garlic. My mom used to eat raw cloves, and it smelled so bad, I think that stuck in my head.

At Drexel, my GPA … was 2.7, and I’m being generous.

If you really want to piss me off … lie to me. I hate liars.

One TV show I cannot miss is … Celebrity Apprentice. It’s a fucking train wreck, dude. I love it.

My kids think that I … am the coolest thing since sliced bread. They’re six, four and three. They just don’t know any better yet.

The most memorable meal I ever ate … was at Alain Ducasse’s Louis XV in Monte Carlo. A friend made a reservation for me. The only table they had was in the kitchen. I ate there alone, and after the meal, they told me, “Your meal is compliments of Mr. Ducasse.” Which was weird, since I’ve never even met him.

The first car I owned … was a hand-me-down tan Toyota station wagon that was nicknamed the Wonder Wagon.

I lost my virginity … very late.

I learned to cook … from my grandparents. Well, I learned to love cooking from them, but I really learned to cook in Italy, when I was 25.

My wife is always telling me … how lucky I am.

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