Chef Marc Vetri is known for his innovative flavor combinations and his outstanding ingredient quality. While his six restaurants in Philly are out of most Penn students’ price range, there are a few tricks you can steal from Chef Vetri and take right into your own kitchen. From our unforgettable eight courses ($155 per person prix fixe tasting menu), we came up with a few DIY options that might just make you the next Marc Vetri—or at least the next Hungree Girl.
1. Crudité with a balsamic reduction dipping sauce
Tired of the cliché of veggies dipped in ranch? Find hummus too basic? This so–simple–you’d–never–think–of–it idea to dip veggies in a balsamic glaze was a great alternative, and it’s definitely a healthy study snack.
2. Three homemade types of bread
The commercial bread industry has ruined any and all nutritional value of bread in favor of speeding up production and improving sales. Chef Vetri has begun the Vetri Grain Project, where they use “stone milling” to “harness the flavor of the germ and bran, so not only does [their] food delight the palate but it also nourishes the body.” While their bread is not for sale outside of the restaurants (which is a serious shame), bread with healthful qualities—that mass–market companies have forsaken—still exists. Ezekiel Bread is one well–known healthful brand of whole wheat bread; find it at any Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
3. Eggplant Terrine with cocoa vinaigrette
This one is for the chocolate lovers. Chef Vetri paired his sliced, roasted eggplant with burrata mozzarella, finely chopped cocoa nibs and sea salt. The result was a savory, sweet and salty combination that will be enjoyed even by those who aren’t chocolate fanatics (Ed note: We’re not sure these people exist.).
4. Sweet Onion Crepe with truffle fondue
According to the server, these onions had been caramelized all day, or “about sixteen hours,” she said. Her advice for doing it at home? “Low and slow… but wait for a snow day.” Supposedly it doesn’t take much attention, just a couple of stirs here and there. So for Penn’s first snow day of the season, snuggle up with some hot cocoa, a good movie and some sweet onions cooking on the stove.
5. Pappardelle with rabbit and peach
While I can’t in good conscience recommend cooking Thumper in your Radian kitchen (or in general), it was the peach + pasta combination in this dish that really got my attention. I never expected it to work, but somehow the burst of sweetness from the peach and the chewiness of the pasta under the creamy, mushroom–y sauce was exciting, different and definitely possible at home. Try ground sausage instead of rabbit for your at–home attempt.
6. On the other hand… Don’t even bother
At the end of the meal, Chef Vetri stopped by to chat. (Was this because he knew I was writing an article? Or because there are only eleven tables in the whole restaurant? Who’s to say….) I asked him for one dish that even the worst chef could make at home. “A really bad chef?” he replied. “A really bad chef can mess up anything.”
Location: 1312 Spruce Street
TL;DR: Here are some ways to bring the basically–unattainable Vetri menu right into your own kitchen.
Don’t miss: The spinach gnocchi, although it will spoil you for La Fontana gnocchi forever.
Skip: Nothing! You are contractually obligated to try everything this chef puts on your table.