Cherry Hill, New Jersey-native Greg Vernick grew up in a genuine food family. His mother ran Haddonfield Diet Shop in New Jersey, and his grandfather owned Philadelphia’s Friedman’s Market, a butcher shop and market inherited from Vernick’s great-grandfather. With the support of his food-obsessed clan, Vernick earned a degree in hospitality management from Boston University and a culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America.
Vernick completed his CIA externship with Chef Ken Oringer at Boston’s Clio, and after graduation, moved to New York City to work on the line for the opening of Jean-Georges Vongericten’s Perry Street. Mentored by Rising Star Chef Gregory Brainin, Vernick rose through the ranks. He served as sous chef at Jean Georges, Nougatine, and Spice Market and eventually corporate chef trainer for restaurants in Qatar, Tokyo, Vancouver, Boston, and Park City, Utah. After five years in the Vongerichten empire, Vernick took his final post away from home as chef de cuisine of New York’s Tocqueville.
In 2010, Vernick returned to Philadelphia and family. He spent time on the line at Talula’s Garden
until he and his wife, Julie, secured the capital and space to open their first restaurant. In May 2012, the couple opened the doors at Vernick Food & Drink
, where Vernick’s honest, no-fuss plates are carrying on and moving forward his family’s culinary traditions.
About: NYC’s City Harvest connects the food industry and countless organizations, corporations, and private citizens to help feed their hungry neighbors.
Interview with 2013 Philadelphia Rising Star Chef Greg Vernick
Caroline Hatchett: What is your favorite interview question?
Greg Vernick: When interviewing candidates, I like to ask cooks to rate on a scale of one to 10 where they see themselves on their learning curve as a chef. The number they give themselves isn’t as important as how they justify that number.
CH: What is your favorite tool?
GV: A chefs knife
CH: What tool do you wish you had?
GV: A Pacojet
CH: What is your favorite cookbook?
GV: La Méthode by Jacques Pépin
CH: What’s your favorite food resource?
GV: Complete Techniques by Jacques Pépin
CH: What is your most important kitchen rule?
GV: Respect all the stages of preparation, from receiving the ingredients to the finished plate.
CH: What is your favorite dish you have ever made?
GV: Our whole roasted chicken at Vernick Food & Drink
CH: Where do you most want to go for culinary travel?
GV: Southeast Asia
CH: Have you taken any steps to become a sustainable restaurant? What are those steps?
We recycle our used oil and grease. We recycle our wine corks, paper, plastic, and glass bottles. We also buy from sustainable farms whenever possible and aim to buy products locally that are in season. For example, we buy premium farmed fish such as Scottish salmon and California farmed caviar. We are very excited to be working with a local purveyor, Samuels and Son Seafood, because they are beginning to purchase the first farmed black sea bass.