Chef team teaches Philly kids about eating from the garden

Chef di Cuisine Jesse Grossman is looking forward to the new Vetri Community Partnership Initiative. | Provided
Chef di Cuisine Jesse Grossman is looking forward to the new Vetri Community Partnership Initiative. | Provided

Many foodie adults would pay to cook in the kitchen of North Broad’s Italian food hotspot Osteria. Now imagine being a kid with a golden ticket to learn from some of the best chefs in the city.
Osteria teamed up with the charity organization Vetri Community Partnership (which is led by celebrity chef and Osteria co-owner Marc Vetri) so they can share that love.

A group of kids from Tanner G. Duckrey Public School at 15th and Diamond streets will be invited to help the a team of chefs plant their garden. And, in a few months, they can come back to enjoy the fruits (or rather, herbs and lettuces) of their labor.

Like many chefs, Osteria Chef di Cuisine Jesse Grossman appreciates the labor of love that is an essential part of growing your own food — especially while working with limited space in the city.
“When you go Italy, everyone has their own garden,” says Grossman. “It’s all about growing what’s around you. Instead of thinking about it in the mindset of being farm-to-table, that’s just proper cooking.”

For Grossman, the outreach work has become an important part of working for Vetri Community Partnership throughout the six years he’s been with Osteria.

“When I first started with the company I wasn’t in the mindset to do charity work,” says Grossman. “Next thing you know I’m the first person to volunteer. It’s a magical feeling to have the opportunity to get involved, and that’s a magical feeling.”

The Vetri Community Partnership is known for its outreach in schools throughout the area. One of the programs it provides is a Culinary Lab, where students learn professional cooking techniques and how to make the most out of their family’s groceries. Grossman says that students from these labs have taken tours of the Osteria kitchen in the past, but this upcoming hands-on experience is the first of its kind.

“The students come in with these smiles that just melt you,” he says.

Grossman and the chef team will teach the kids to plant a variety of herbs and vegetables in the restaurant’s little oasis that provides the restaurant with essential herbs, greens, tomatoes and even raspberries. Grossman said that West Philly’s Heritage Farm will provide a variety of shoots and seedlings.

“They get to come back and see what comes out of their hard work and time,” Grossman says. “Getting to see the look on their faces at what they’ve accomplished, that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”

For more information on how to get involved with Vetri Community Partnership, visit