Every bite of food we eat has a story. Here’s ours:
Opened in June 2014, the Culinary Literacy Center is revolutionizing the way Philadelphians think about food, nutrition, and literacy. It aims to advance literacy in Philadelphia in a unique and innovative way—with a fork and spoon.
With over 350 classes a year, we have something for everyone. We teach teens how to preserve and children how to use a chef’s knife. We host cookbook authors and food truck owners. We teach butchering and food photography. We have an annual conference for SNAP recipients and providers of meals and services to low income Philadelphians.
If you want to learn more about the intersection of food and literacy, there’s a place for you at our table.
In a city that loves food and the local chefs who make it, the Free Library of Philadelphia has been proud to be the first library in the country to offer culinary literacy programming.
We have the privilege of working with some of the region’s finest chefs, cookbook authors, and food educators.
Acclaimed James Beard Award-winning Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix could be called the father of Philadelphia’s now well-established and ever growing culinary scene. Lacroix honed his craft for two decades as the executive chef of the Four Season’s Fountain. He then established his namesake restaurant, Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, before joining with GuestCounts Hospitality in 2010. Chef Lacroix helped merge all operational facets of the brands formerly known as Max & Me Catering and Culinary Concepts to launch Brûlée Catering by Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix in 2011.
As Chef-Partner of Brûlée Catering, Lacroix develops impressive menus and oversees all aspects of food and beverage. Chef Lacroix works closely with his team of talented chefs to craft exquisite and inventive cuisine which guests will recall fondly for years.
In addition to putting his signature touch on Brûlée’s menus, Chef Lacroix makes personal appearances at many prestigious events, preparing food and interacting with guests.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated farmers market shopper who lives in Center City Philadelphia. She is the author of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round and Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces. She has written for the Vegetarian Times, USA Today, the Food Network, Saveur, Fine Cooking, Serious Eats, The Kitchn, Grid Philly, and Table Matters. Find more of her jams, pickles, and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at foodinjars.com.
Marisa was one of the first cookbook authors and local Philadelphia food celebrities to throw her enthusiastic support behind the Culinary Literacy Center. She has taught a number of classes here on everything from sauerkraut to jam.
Chef Marc Vetri is Philadelphia’s own virtuoso chef and a committed leader in improving the lives of our city’s children.
Chef Vetri brings a bold, contemporary sensibility to classic Italian cuisine served at his family of local restaurants, including Vetri, Osteria, Amis, Alla Spina, Lo Spiedo, and Pizzeria Vetri.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has called him a “singular leader for his generation,” and he has received numerous awards and honors, including the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. His Vetri Foundation for Children promotes healthy eating and lifestyle choices among at-risk youth and has been a wonderful partner in our Culinary Literacy Center.