Chefs: “This Is A Cool Time To Be in Philadelphia”

We already know that Philly’s food scene kicks ass. Still, it’s nice with the out-of-towners recognize that too, isn’t it? So celebrate, Philly: You’ve got the Washington Post’s mark of approval. Philly is so good, the paper says, that out-of-town chefs want to make their mark here.

Wooed by affordable real estate, the city’s neighborhoody vibe and strong ties among fellow chefs, these new boldface names include Josh Lawler, formerly of New York’s acclaimed Blue Hill at Stone Barns, who has gone the BYO route at the Farm and Fisherman in Washington Square West. Greg Vernick, an alumnus of the Jean-Georges Vongerichten empire, has opened the splashier Vernick Food & Drink in Rittenhouse Square.

“I feel like I’m just riding a wave,” says South Jersey native Vernick. “This is a really cool time to be in Philadelphia.” The Culinary Institute of America graduate worked for more than five years as a sous chef for Vongerichten at his New York restaurants Jean-Georges, Nougatine and Spice Market, and elsewhere as a chef trainer, before returning to Philly to open his namesake restaurant last year.

And the story doesn’t even feel the need to drop the ubiquitous cheesesteak ref—

And what’s happened to the cheesesteak, the city’s best-known culinary export? It’s still out there, Cheez Whiz and all, perhaps waiting for one of these newcomers to reinvent it.

Damn. OK. Maybe next time.