Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin’s departures from Urban Outfitters’ restaurant portfolio will not mean the end of the Great Chefs Event, which the restaurateurs founded more than a decade ago as a benefit for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
In fact, Great Chefs will remain, in a new format. Vetri and Benjamin, who nowadays run their flagship Vetri Cucina, are still involved, but Alex’s Lemonade will oversee the fundraiser, importing 40 chefs to its Navy Yard headquarters on June 9. Unlike the cocktail-party format in years past, Great Chefs will become family-friendly, with kids admitted free. It also will held in the afternoon, a Saturday. Tickets will be $250.
Vetri and Benjamin, meanwhile, have a new event of their own this year, benefiting the Vetri Community Partnership, whose school lunch and nutrition education programs are active in more than 70 sites in Philadelphia and Camden, serving more than 7,500 students.
On April 21, Eat to Empower Dinner Series & Food Festival will start with private dinners in six homes, each accommodating 20 people, from 6 to 9 p.m. National chefs Rocco Whalen, Tom Colicchio, Michele Forgione, Bill Telepan, Tony Maws, and Jeremiah Langhorne will be paired with a local chef — Michael Solomonov, Nicholas Elmi, Joey Baldino, Rich Landau, Chad Williams, and Tod Wentz.
Then comes the fun part for the general public: The after-party/food festival, which will run from 9 p.m. to midnight at La Colombe in Fishtown.
Chill Moody will perform and DJ Hank McCoy will emcee and DJ. Entertainment will also include original art created live by Saeed Briscoe. The party, with tickets priced at $75, is a bid for a younger crowd, Vetri said.
Big Gay Ice Cream, Cheu Noodle Bar, Mike’s BBQ, Pizzeria Vetri, and Poi Dog will serve food, and drinks will be provided by Bluecoat American Gin, Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey, and Yards Brewing Co.
Tickets will go on sale March 15.
Vetri said Eat to Empower was in the works prior to their leaving Urban. “We just wanted to have a big, fun event, with DJs and music,” Vetri said.
“We have to engage younger people.”