GSK supports healthy eating after-school with Vetri Cooking Lab

October 16, 2017

From left: Evan Hudson-Crump (student at Tanner G. Duckrey Elementary); Marc Vetri; Dan Troy (Senior Vice President and General Counsel at GSK); and  Tyreemah Mainor-Jettel (student at Tanner G. Duckrey Elementary) 
Photograph by Alan Brian Nilsen

How do you encourage kids to eat more healthy food? By teaching them to cook tasty, nutritious, kid-friendly recipes with ingredients they can find in their own neighborhoods. Today, GSK announced a $440,000 grant to Vetri Community Partnership to expand their Vetri Cooking Lab program to 30 after-school sites across Philadelphia and Camden. This program will reach 1,200 students over the next two years with a 10-week, hands-on cooking and nutrition curriculum.

“GSK is proud to support the Vetri Cooking Lab after-school program for local students,” said Daniel Troy, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, GSK. “The Vetri Community Partnership team has already shown that their innovative approach teaches young people to make healthier eating choices, and we can’t wait for Vetri Cooking Lab to reach another 1,200 students over the next two years.”

Last year, GSK funded a pilot of Vetri Cooking Lab, reaching 343 students with 480 hours of nutrition education, after which students reported that they were cooking on their own, using nutritional labels to make eating choices and able to find healthy food in their own neighborhoods. Support for Vetri Cooking Lab is part of GSK’s long-standing commitment to build healthy communities across the world and in the US, including Greater Philadelphia where the company employs nearly 5,000 people.

GSK and Vetri Cooking Labs at Dr. Tanner G. Duckrey Public School, Philadelphia.
Photograph by Alan Brian Nilsen

“Engaging kids in the process of cooking and eating fresh, healthy food is a powerful way to teach them about nutrition, the food system and their own health and wellness,” said Marc Vetri, founder of Vetri Community Partnership. “In Vetri Cooking Lab, we’re doing that while also connecting the preparation of the recipe to all of the science, math and reading concepts they’re learning during the school day.”

Vetri Cooking Lab builds on Philadelphia’s success to drive down obesity rates among young people, as well as ongoing efforts to expand high-quality out-of-school time programming for students. Every after-school site that participated in the pilot is running Vetri Cooking Lab again this school year, and dozens more are eager to start the popular program for their own students.

“The program is having a noticeable impact. Students are thinking more critically about their food choices – choosing whole foods over processed foods – and taking their recipes home to their parents and preparing the dishes with their families,” said Marlene Olshan, CEO of Vetri Community Partnership. “We are grateful to GSK for their generous support and look forward to partnering with them to improve the health outcomes for our region’s children.”

2017 Impact Report

July 27, 2017

2017 Impact Report

Healthy Classroom Ideas & Resources for Teachers

July 21, 2017

As a teacher it’s not always easy encouraging your students to eat healthy. Most kids would prefer to snack on a candy bar rather than a healthy vegetable. But being a teacher comes the responsibility to be a role model for your students. Implementing routines in the classroom to promote healthy eating and living can have a significant impact on your students well-being. Here are some healthy ideas to practice with your students


  • Model healthy behavior in the classroom – drink water, eat fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks, etc.
  • Encourage students to think critically about how food makes them feel – how does eating apples, bananas or almonds compare to eating fries and a milkshake?
  • Sit with students in the cafeteria and encourage them to try new things. Ask questions about their meal – how does it taste, who made it for them, what do they like best?
  • Ask students about their favorite foods and what they like to eat outside of school. Make suggestions to stimulate curiosity about new and nutritious fruits and vegetables.
  • Encourage students to offer to help in the kitchen if their family cooks at home – whether it’s doing dishes or peeling carrots.


  • Start an after-school cooking club or global cuisines club
  • Incorporate nutritious foods into classroom celebrations or substitute healthier options for school bake sales – fresh fruit skewers, zucchini bread, etc.
  • With help from motivated students, advocate for healthier options in the cafeteria
  • Invite local chefs, farmers and other food industry professionals to talk to students on career day
  • Plan a “field trip” for your students to visit your school kitchen and speak with the individuals who ensure there’s food for students each day
  • Use whole fruits and vegetables to teach science or biology lessons – for example, to show the parts of a plant, vegetable families, etc.
  • Teach a lesson on junk food marketing and how it targets school-age children – have students develop and draw their own healthy food mascots
  • Use food as a creative writing prompt – describe your favorite food, write instructions to preparing a recipe, review your favorite restaurant, etc.


Mobile Teaching Kitchen at the Please Touch Museum

June 28, 2017

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of hands-on learning, so when the Please Touch Museum asked us to join us at their monthly First Wednesday events this summer, we were thrilled!

From 4-7 p.m. on July 5th and August 2nd, our Mobile Teaching Kitchen will be parked out front of the Please Touch Museum for food-focused programming for parents and children. Attendees will have the opportunity to make and try a seasonal, nutritious dish and then visit the museum for a deeply discounted admission price of $2.

As Please Touch Museum CEO Patricia D. Wellenbach explains: “Please Touch Museum is dedicated to the education and well-being of the whole child. Our focus on early learning and skill-building extends to teaching children and their families how to make good choices about the foods they eat, and ultimately lead healthier, more active lives. We are thrilled to partner with Vetri to make this impactful programming accessible to families throughout the summer.”

“Our goal is to show people that healthy ingredients and at-home food preparation can be approachable, fun and, more importantly, delicious,” said VCP Community Outreach Manager, Amy Falkenstein — also known as Chef Amy.

So, stop by, head to the supermarket exhibit, practice using measuring cups, hear a story that’ll bring cooking to life, and take a recipe for the road!

We promise it’ll be fun and full of flavor. We hope to see you there!

When: July 5th & August 2nd, 4-7 p.m.
Where: Please Touch Museum – Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131

July – What’s in Season?

June 27, 2017


Eating fresh seasonal produce comes with a handful of benefits – better taste, more nutritional benefits, and you can get more bang for your buck. Not to mention, that purchasing what’s in season typically means you’re supporting local farmers, especially if you’re picking up from a farmers’ market. Seeing that July is upon us, you may be wondering, what produce is in season during July in the Northeast? Good question! Here’s a list of what is in season, right now:


  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries


  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Green Onions
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

As quick as July came, it’ll be on the books before we know it. Check out this handy Seasonal Food Guide in the months to come, tailored to your location!


New Location, Same Great Party: Schoolly D, Philly’s Top Chefs & at the Great Chefs Event After Party at Urban Outfitters, Inc. Building 3

May 24, 2017
The 12th Annual Great Chefs Event continues into the night at a new location featuring special guest chefs Adam Perry Lang, Michael Solomonov and Jose Garces. Entertainment provided by Philadelphia’s own rap legend, Schoolly D.

With a reputation nearly as big as the main event, the Great Chefs Event After Party returns at a new, walkable location! Building 3 at Urban Outfitters, Inc. is a fabulous industrial space just a few, short steps from the Great Chefs Event’s location. A limited number of tickets are available for the After Party, which will take place on Tuesday, June 20th from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., immediately following the 12th Annual Great Chefs Event. Tickets can be purchased at until they sell out.

The evening’s theme of delicious food and drink will continue with late-night bites provided by award-winning barbecue chef and After Party veteran Adam Perry Lang (author of Serious Barbecue, BBQ25, and Charred & Scruffed). Lang will serve short ribs from right off the big rig smoker. For the second year in a row, Philly favorite and James Beard Award 2017 Winner for Outstanding Chefs, Michael Solomonov (Cook N Solo) will serve Federal Donuts fried chicken sandwiches. Another Philly staple, Jose Garces (Garces Group) will serve tacos from Distrito Food Truck. The After Party’s beer bar will be sponsored by Peroni Nastro Azzurro, where they’ll be featuring their new slim cans. Other beverage sponsors include Philadelphia Distilling Bluecoat Gin and Tito’s Vodka.

DJing at the After Party for the first time is Philadelphia’s own gangsta rap legend Schoolly D. Schoolly D, born Jesse Bonds Weaver Jr., is one of the most iconic figures in rap music. Starting with his influential role in the creation of gangsta rap, Schoolly D has transcended the boundaries of genre and has created “rap” music that has been integrated in films (King of New York, & Bad Lieutenant, etc.), animated series (Aqua Teen Hunger Force), as well as sampled by some of the most prolific acts around including: Lil’ Wayne, The Chemical Brothers, and The Roots. Deemed a “pioneer…” by Jay-Z and credited by Ice-T as having the first gangsta rap record, Schoolly D’s career has given inspiration to countless musicians and fans alike. Sounds like “Gucci Time,” “Saturday Night,” and “P.S.K., What Does It Mean?” have become classics and illustrate the uncompromising narrative that has become synonymous with the hardcore gangsta rap of the eighties.

Vetri Family’s Chef Brad Spence will continue the annual Vetri tradition of presenting an epic mortadella at the event. In collaboration with Victory Brewing Co., Spence will prepare the giant mortadella with the goal of beating last year’s 230 lb. weight by stuffing pork into a natural casing and cooking it in a fermenting cask for 24 hours at the brewery. The giant mortadella will be transported the after party and served with mayo and hot pepper relish.

Culinary partners for the Great Chefs Event After Party include Julius Silvert, Baldor, Samuels & Sons, DiBruno Bros., and Niman Ranch. Starr Restaurants is the official After Party sponsors.


8 Things You Didn’t Know About the Great Chefs Event

April 27, 2017

This is the 12th year for the Great Chefs Event – Philadelphia’s premier culinary event that has raised millions of dollars to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Vetri Community Partnership.

Everyone knows it’s a nice summer evening with delicious food for two great causes. But did you know some of these interesting facts about the event?

  1. Last year, eight 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards finalists participated. This year six 2017 semi-finalists are participating at The Great Chefs Event. Winners are announced on May 1st – sample dishes for the best chefs and restaurants in the world!
  2. 6,347 is the average number of steps taken during the event. The event is held in the beautiful and eclectic Urban Outfitters headquarters at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. At 85′ wide and 400′ long, the space comfortably fits the chefs, vintners, breweries and attendees.
  3. $35,000 is the highest amount a live auction item has sold for. It happened in 2012 for a trip to Italy with Marc Vetri and Jeff Michaud. The live auction at The Great Chefs Event is not to be missed! Unique experiences such as culinary trips, unforgettable experiences and world-renown chefs cooking in your kitchen are some of the amazing items that you could win.
  4. You will never eat dessert the same way again. While many of the food samplings at The Great Chefs Event are savory, there are plenty of options to satisfy your sweet tooth. From Charm City Cakes – whose boundary-pushing cakes have been to presidential inaugurations – to Big Gay Ice Cream serving up boozy milkshakes, you’ll never want just plain vanilla again.
  5. Over 1,200 pounds of mortadella has been served at the After Party! For the last 6 years, the Vetri crew has cooked the Italian sausage in a beer and water bath for two days. Last year the sausage was 335 lbs and needed to be forklifted into Victory Brewing’s fermentation tank. Maybe this is the year the sausage can get into the Guinness Book of World Records? After Party access tickets are available for purchase and features additional bites from BBQ master Adam Perry Lang, Adam Arrison and Philly favorites Michael Solomonov and Jose Garces.
  6. The Great Chefs Event has inspired other culinary events around the country! Because The Great Chefs Event delivers an amazing experience and raises so much money, other chefs around the country have used the foundation that Marc Vetri, Jeff Benjamin and Jeff Michaud have built to create their own events in Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago, all benefiting ALSF.
  7. The first Great Chefs Event had only eight local chefs and 100 guests. That was in 2006. Fast forward 10 years, last year The Great Chefs Event had over 40 chefs and 1,000 guests. But here is the best part…
  8. Over $730,000 was raised in 2016. That’s the equivalent of over 3,500 students getting healthy lunches for a year through the Vetri Community Partnership and almost an entire month of childhood cancer research funded through Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Now that you’re an insider, get your tickets before they sell out!


Enter to Win a VIP Package to the Great Chefs Event

April 19, 2017

Purchase a $50 raffle ticket to be entered to win this exclusive package for the Great Chefs Event!

One winner will receive:
  • Two (2) After Party Access tickets (includes general admission to the Great Chefs Event and admission to the After Party at Lo Spiedo immediately following the main event)
  • One (1) night stay in a 1-bedroom suite at the Courtyard by Marriott in The Navy Yard
100% of the raffle proceeds go to two awesome charities – Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Vetri Community Partnership. What have you got to lose?

Click here to enter.

Winner will be announced on Wednesday, May 10th.

Tickets to the 12th Annual Great Chefs Event are Now on Sale

April 13, 2017

On Tuesday, June 20, more than 40 of the best chefs from across the country and around the world will convene in Philadelphia for the 12th Annual Great Chefs Event. The event will benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Vetri Community Partnership. More than 1,200 guests will gather from 6-9 p.m. at the beautiful Urban Outfitters, Inc.’s corporate campus in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard for the culinary event of the year. The party will continue into the night at the equally in-demand After Party at Lo Spiedo for chefs, sponsors and VIP ticketholders. General admission and After Party Access tickets are currently on sale at and

As in years’ past, Marc Vetri has hand-selected the list of participating chefs, calling on friends and respected colleagues from LA, NYC, Chicago, Italy and more. The chefs will donate their time, talent and food, creating delicious samplings indicative of their own personal styles. Participating chefs include both veterans of the event, as well as several noteworthy newcomers. Among the new participating chefs this year are Hugh Acheson of 5 & 10 in Athens, GA; Frank Castronovo & Frank Falcinetti of Frankies Spuntino & Prime Meats in Brooklyn; Derek Dammann of Maison Publique in Montreal, QC; Evan Funke of Felix in LA; Sara Jenkins of Nina June in Rockport, ME; and Ryan Poli of The Catbird Seat in Nashville. Returning chefs include Paul Kahan of Blackbird, avec, The Publican and Big Star in Chicago; Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter in NYC and television personality on The Food Network; and back for the first time since 2013, Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore and star of The Food Network’s Ace of Cakes and Cake Masters.

Several of this year’s participating chefs have also been named finalists in the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards, including Outstanding Restaurateur, Ken Oringer (Toro, NYC) and Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Service, Michael Solomonov (Cook n Solo, Philadelphia). Also present will be regional Best Chefs finalists: Michael Cimarusti (Connie & Ted’s, LA), Andy Ticer + Michael Hudman (Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis) and Greg Vernick (Vernick, Philadelphia).

The country’s best winemakers, brewers and mixologists will also be present, including Joe Campanale (Annona), Summer Wolff (Indie Wineries, NYC), Stacey Swenson (Dante, NYC), Jesse Vida (BlackTail, NYC), Neal Bodenheimer (Cure), Bill Covaleski (Victory Brewing Company), Tom Kehoe (Yard’s Brewing Co.), Tom Peters (Monk’s Café, Russian River Brewing Company), and Carol Stoudt (Stoudt’s Brewing Company).

In addition to the stellar selection of food and drink, guests will have the opportunity to bid on silent and live auction items. Auction items include one-of-kind culinary experiences, such as private dinners with participating chefs, hard-to-get concert tickets, autographed memorabilia and much more.

At the Great Chefs Event After Party at Lo Spiedo, VIP ticketholders and sponsors of the event will have the exclusive opportunity to rub elbows with all of the event’s talented chefs in a laid back setting. After Party guests can also count on additional bites from BBQ master Adam Perry Lang, Adam Arrison (Sodexo) and Philly favorites Michael Solomonov (CookNSolo) and Jose Garces (Garces Group). The event will also feature specialty cocktails and entertainment.

Purchase your tickets here!

Mobile Teaching Kitchen at First Philadelphia

March 27, 2017


Last month, Vetri Community Partnership’s Mobile Teaching Kitchen visited First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School. We taught students how to make sweet potatoes, greens & cabbage and Share Food Program had all of the ingredients for sale at affordable prices.


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