Community Spotlight: The Great Chefs Event

Marc Vetri (center) with Liz and Jay Scott, Alex's parents and co-executive directors of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. | Philip Gabriel Photography
Philip Gabriel Photography

There’s something a little bit different about The Great Chefs Event for 2018. While it will still be held at Urban Outfitters Headquarters,  it’s going to be more family-friendly and held during the day this year on Saturday, June 9 from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“When we started doing the L.A. event, that was always on a Saturday in the afternoon,” says Marc Vetri, who founded the Great Chefs event 13 years ago with his business partner, Jeff Benjamin. “We thought it would be good to switch it up a little bit since we’ve been doing it the same way for 12 years. It wasn’t some major decision we were thinking about.”

With the daytime hours, come some new features to look forward to.

“I’m really excited because we have this outdoor area with a  beer garden so that will be fun,” Vetri says. “ I’m looking forward to seeing everybody and raising some money for Alex’s.”

The Great Chefs Event made its debut in 2005 in Philadelphia, after Vetri and Benjamin met Liz and Jay Scott, Alex’s parents and the co-executive directors of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). Inspired by their story, Vetri and Benjamin decided to launch the inaugural event.

“We decided to have a small fundraiser for them,” Vetri says. “We only had one restaurant then. Over the next year, we got to know them and decided to go a little bit larger and invite some local chefs, then we started inviting out-of-state chefs and it evolved into this monster of an event.”

Liz Scott remembers the first year of The Great Chefs Event.

“It was at The Restaurant School and we knew it was something special,” she says. “It really is because of Marc and Jeff’s vision that The Great Chefs Event is something that people are really interested in coming to and has inspired similar culinary fundraisers in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.”

She adds, “Year after year, the event exceeds our expectations and helps us move closer toward achieving my daughter’s vision  — a cure for all kids with cancer.”

As host of the event, Vetri puts together the lineup of 40 all-star chefs from across the country.

“I invite the chefs and act as their liaison while they’re here,” he says. “I have my list of 20-30 guys and girls who always come back, and then I have folks calling me and asking to be apart of it.”

Funds raised from The Great Chefs event will go towards childhood cancer research. ALSF also supports programs for families affected by childhood cancer, like the SuperSibs program (for siblings of children with cancer) and the Travel for Care program (which provides travel assistance for eligible families). What’s more, ALSF opened a childhood cancer data lab in 2017, making all of the publicly available research data on childhood cancer easily accessible and understandable for researchers.

Chefs who participate in the event every year donate their time, talent and food for a good cause. This year’s lineup includes culinary stars like Michael Cimarusti and Evan Funke from Los Angeles, Philly’s own Michael Solomonov, Greg Vernick and Daniel Stern, and Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman from Memphis.

As far as giving back is concerned, Vetri sees it as essential.

“When you reach a point in life where you have the wherewithal to help out, it’s almost your obligation to,” he says. “We have a lot of restaurants and we were able to do well with them. It’s everybody’s obligation to do something meaningful to help others.”

For more information on The Great Chefs Event, visit:

If you go:
The Great Chefs Event 2018
Saturday, June 9
12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
$195 for General Admission
Kids under 12 are free with an accompanying adult
Urban Outfitters Headquarters
5000 S. Broad St.

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